This project has no cost; no budget!

During our Perfect Project Course I ask people about their projects and link their current project into an estimating activity.

I ask a range of questions; one being the budget for the project. I would say around 75% of people respond by saying they have no budget! I query this and ask some supplementary questions such as:

• how long does the project take?

• how many staff are involved?

• how many staff days are involved in completing the project?

• what budget do you now have?

The group often see that their project does now have a budget; their own time. I then link back to the business case. I ask whether the cost of their time should be included in making a decision on the business case. Would the project continue? There have certainly been those who query whether it would. 

Take into account people’s time on projects leads to lower number of projects

Some people say that this aspect alone would reduce the number of projects. They see senior managers realising the costs of resources would not justify the benefits.

Clearly a change of thinking is needed. I challenge people on project training events to think about the costs of their time and whether the project benefits justify the expenditure!

How do you take account of your time on projects?


This entry was posted in project management training and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to This project has no cost; no budget!

  1. I also have led projects that had “no budget”. They were internal projects. I raised the question that we need to do cost management but got the reply that costs were assumed in the budget of the organization. No need to track them. Ironically, there are cases when it is IMPOSSIBLE for the PM to manage costs and do cost-benefit analysis.

    • Thanks Stan for your comments.

      The issue hidden in what you say is that the very piece of work you refer to may not be appropriate if someone looks at the cost of doing it. This is a business case issue. Interesting that ‘internal projects’ seem to have this no cost issue. However…I have come across many ‘external’ projects that also have no cost.

      The cost of staff doing the project is a cost and should be taken in to account.

      Thanks again Stan.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention This project has no cost! It’s free! | Project Management Training with Ron Rosenhead --

  3. I think most people realise that time is money, even if it there own time. The problem I have with my clients is that the actual hours booked do not reflect accurately the true hours to do the work. People work un-paid overtime to get the job done and don’t book this to the project. I am impressed by the commitment but it makes it very hard to track the actual costs for projects and makes a nonsense of any performance metrics such as earned value.

    • Thanks Paul for your comments.

      Like you I am impressed by the hours people put in. However, when considering the business case, do project sponsors or board members take ‘project time/resourcing’ into account? From my experience the answer is no!

      As mentioned in the posting, companies are tackling large numbers of projects. Few we have worked with are aware of their project capacity and few have clear project priorities. Yes, I am making sweeping generalisations however I have seen little evidence to the contrary. If ‘project time’ was taken into account then maybe, just maybe we would have fewer projects which would enable project managers to focus on the key ones to deliver.

      Thanks again Paul.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *