Project Management: Budgeting and Critical Path Report (Assessment)
Top-Down Budgeting Process
Top-down budgeting is built upon gathering the experiences and opinions of managers along with the accessible previous data connected with the related activities. The top and middle managers assess the cost of the project and the main subprojects constituting it. Further, the cost assessments are forwarded to lower-level managers who decide what parts of the budget should be given to work packages and particular tasks. Top-down budgeting is similar to hierarchical project planning. It is assumed that low-level managers may want more funds, but in practice, this assumption rarely comes true. The benefit of the top-down budget is that such accumulative budgets are frequently generated very precisely. Additionally, the statistical allocation of every category is fixed, which allows high consistency.
Determining the Critical Path
The critical path is a method of estimating time and cost requirements needed for the project. It identifies which phases of the project cannot be delayed as well as those which can be postponed. To determine the project’s critical path, it is necessary to know the following three factors: (1) a list of the activities the project involves, (2) connections between these activities, and (3) the approximate time for the fulfillment of each activity. With the help of these elements, the project manager can estimate the longest path for the scheduled parts of the project and the earliest and furthest time when these parts can be performed without delaying the project.
Methods for Addressing the Constrained Resources Allocation Problem
There are two approaches to dealing with the constrained resource scheduling: heuristic and optimizing. Heuristic methods are more frequently used as they are considered more realistic. They can address complicated problems which appear in project management. Employing the rules of simple priority, heuristic approaches can conclude which parts of the project need resources immediately and which can be terminated.
Optimizing methods can find the most efficient resource allocation, but they are restricted in the scope of the problem which they can settle. Optimizing approaches are divided into two types: enumeration and mathematical programming. Progressive linear programming methods as the most common mathematical programming tools have proved to solve large problems concerned with resource scheduling.
The Purpose of “Earned Value” and Calculating the Progress of a Project
The aim of earned value is the measurement of the project’s performance. There are several ways of calculating the project’s progress by finding earned value : (1) the 50-50 rule: fifty percent of fulfilling the task is estimated at the beginning and the other fifty percent – at the end of work; (2) the 0-100 percent rule: no predicted progress until the task is performed; (3) the rule of critical input: task progress is accredited by the extent of critical input which has been exploited; and (4) the rule of proportionality: time or cost is used as a critical input.
A project champion is a person who initiates an idea of a project and gets other people within the company interested in it. Project champions are in charge of determining the project’s goals, cooperating with the project team to establish the project’s vision, and critically scrutinizing the most efficient approaches. Project champions determine the barriers to a project and delineate the ways of overcoming them, perform the earned value calculation to allocate the resources properly, and provide adjustments and updates for the managers and customers.
Project champions are persistent and do not allow anyone to have doubts about the project’s success. People performing this duty are authoritative, strict, and sincere. A project champion is an advocate of the project.
Life Cycle Stages of Project Audit
Audit’s life cycle consists of six stages:
- initiation of project audit: at this stage, the audit process begins, the aims are defined, and the essential data for proper audit methodology is collected;
- baseline definition of a project: the establishment of performance sectors to be assessed, regulation of each phase’s standards, development of a schedule of project assessment;
- audit database establishment: at this phase, the audit is performed, and a database for the audit team is generated;
- project’s preliminary analysis: evaluation of audit are performed; this process requires a thorough comprehension of the project’s technical issues and the statistics;
- preparing an audit report: this stage involves the creation of an audit report in the most suitable format. The report includes suggestions and a plan for carrying them out;
- termination of project audit: after the announcement of the audit final report and suggestions, it needs to be terminated to give the team time for revision. The review allows make the audit process accomplished, and the audit team is dismissed.
Project Termination: Where Does the Gathered Information Go?
When the project is terminated, a project manager decides what parts of the collected information in the form of reports and manuals should be got rid of and which should be kept. The significant information should be stored inappropriate places. The parent firm’s archive worker is responsible for keeping the documents.