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Three ways to keep your project on track and avoid budget blowout

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Hamish Blyth

Hamish Blyth

Planning Solutions Manager

 

One of the most fundamental elements of project management is effective project planning. Without efficient project planning, teams can struggle to identify desired goals, set realistic and accurate timeframes and accommodate for potential risks that could affect their ability to deliver projects smoothly.

Teams often encounter three key challenges with project planning, including: accurately calculating the time and resources needed for a project; securing team member availability; and avoiding budget blowouts. However, project planning has become even more complex given the current dynamic market situation. Contingency planning in particular, is more important for effective project management than it was in the past. With continual market changes, it is difficult to anticipate how much contingency planning is needed.

There are three ways that organisations can determine the right amount of contingency planning needed in the current environment so that projects, and their budgets, remain on track:

Replace planning spreadsheets with one centralised project dashboard

Relying on outdated spreadsheets for project planning can stop you from rapidly adapting models when needed to respond to changing business drivers. Using tools like Excel, which require manual updating, means that your team may not always be operating on the most accurate and recent information.

You need accurate data to facilitate better decision-making. Investing in more contemporary solutions that empower your teams to develop more comprehensive project plans based on the right data can improve the bottom line. Using centralised project dashboards lets you drill down into your information, and make changes as needed. You can simultaneously see the impacts this will have on the wider model for a more holistic and cohesive view of your project and business.

Build contingency planning into milestone planning

Milestones are an important metric for measuring project success. However, when planning project milestones, you should also take the time to identify issues that could arise during each phase and build in contingent planning where required.

To help with this, consider investing in solutions that provide comprehensive project planning that are also scalable to changing business needs. While it’s important to test all possible scenarios while planning, you also need to be able to adapt on the fly. This means you need a solution that helps you monitor and adjust to the changing project and business environment as well.

Use agile automation

Errors in low-value tasks like data entry can be infuriating and they can affect the project’s success. Automation can be the ideal solution to this challenge. Automating these low-value tasks mitigates the risk of errors and can flag emerging issues to help keep your projects and budgets on track. Tasks such as reporting, rolling forecasts and modelling are ideal for automation to help you streamline processes, reduce the time and effort needed for these activities and minimise the potential for human error.

You also need a solution you can access securely, even when offline, that can scale as required to empower your teams to focus on more high priority tasks whenever they need to.

Investing in efficient project planning solutions can help you optimise your contingency planning and keep your projects on track for success. We’ve identified seven steps to deliver successful project plans every time on time and within budget. For more information, download our latest tip sheet or contact the Mero team today.

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