Learning to write and maintain a budget is an essential skill for life and for most career fields. Your Quest project also requires your team to write and maintain a budget as you proceed to carry out your project proposal. Your team's project proposal and budget will be further utilized if you decide to apply for a grant to help fund your Quest project.
Jeff Collins, the President of Innovative Management Solutions, outlines important steps to take when creating a budget for a project in the article below. As a project manager, one of your most important jobs is and will always be creating a project budget. Without a budget that is as accurate as possible at the outset of the process, you don't just lack the necessary tools that you need to see a project through to completion - you essentially lack anything at all.
How are you supposed to know what tools you can afford and who to assign which tasks to without a budget? How can you have an idea of whether or not your project is economically feasible at all? When it comes to creating a project budget, there are several important steps that you need to follow.
Creating a Project Budget: Your Direct Costs
The first step to creating a project budget involves figuring out your direct costs. This is the amount of money that you'll need to spend to hire contractors or freelance employees, purchase materials, travel to meet with clients or sub contractors and more. At this part of the process, it's always important to remember your own costs, as well. Hiring new team members or looking all over town for just the right type of material costs money, too. If you forget to budget in this category, you're only hurting yourself in the end.
Next, take a look at all of the money you'll need to spend by way of indirect costs during the project development phase. Do you need to purchase new equipment for your office because that old computer you're using just isn't up to snuff for what you need? That's an indirect costs. General office costs, administrative costs and others will all fall into this category as well.
By and large, the factor that will cost the most amount of money during the development of any project is time. If you have to rent a specific piece of equipment at a rate of $500 per day, you need to know exactly how long you need that unit for in order to accurately gauge how much it will cost. Attach time values to all of your direct and indirect costs to help arrive at an accurate estimate of how much you will spend.
Creating a project budget is arguably the most important step that occurs early on at the start of the project. You would never hop in a car for a road trip without estimating how much money you're going to spend - how would you know if you're going to make it to your destination or if you'll run out of money halfway through? A project budget is a lot like that and without one, you don't have a chance of meeting the client's expectations - to say nothing of how hard it will be to deliver a product at all.
- Always attach time values to all of your costs to help make your estimate more accurate. - Indirect costs are things like office supplies, equipment and more. - Direct costs would be salaries for employees, freelance workers and more.
[Collins, Jeff. "The Most Important Steps to Creating A Project Budget." Project Management Services. Innovative Management Solutions, 2015. Web. 1 August 2016.]
There are several project budget templates available online for free, such as THIS template from Vertex 42.
To meet the Budget objective, your team will need to create a budget using Excel or another similar program. Your budget should also include evidence that demonstrates where your team derived the costs for the various components of your project. Have your Quest coach sign off your team's progress on the Quest Objective Completion Form.