Project Cost Management Essentials

importance of Project Cost Management Best Practices, project cost management processes infographic

Project Cost Management Best Practices

What is project cost management, why is it important for your projects success and how to create a project budget? This article discusses the project cost management processes and the importance of project cost management.

As an integral part of project management, cost management is the practice of planning and controlling the budget of a project. Cost management is a structure of management accounting that enables an organization to forecast expenses to help reduce the possibility of going over budget. Project Cost Management is a practice that uses technology to calculate project costs and efficiency through the life cycle of all projects.

Importance of Project Cost Management

The significance of cost control in project management success is something every project manager knows about. The ability to maintain an organized approach to tasks while staying aware of cost control is not very simple. In spite of the fact that time and resource management are indispensable to accomplishing objectives, cost management is at last what decides a positive project outcome.

Without having proper cost control system, the company could lose money as expenses surpass benefits. Another matter is that you may inaccurately invoice your clients. All this causes a faulty budget and an inability to alert when you’re overspending.

What is the Process of Project Cost Management ?

Many processes can be recommended for effective cost management. According to PMBOK Guide, Project Cost Management has four processes

1. Planning Cost Management
2. Estimating Costs
3. Determining Budget
4. Controlling Costs

Each process has inputs and outputs.

The first thing you have to do is to plan your cost management. Planning is an essential process that establishes the policies, procedures, and documentation for managing project costs.

Then make an estimation of all your project costs at the task level for proper cost management. Estimating is the predicting of project duration and costs. Creating the WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) establishes a foundation for estimating which prevents you to make mistakes. There are some tools such as Analogous Estimating, Bottom-up Estimating, Expert Judgment, etc. can be used for cost estimation at this step.

When you complete these steps, you can move to the next step, which is preparing your project budget. Determining the project budget is the most important steps in finalizing the planning of a project. You will baseline all the costs and establish a set of actions that will keep you on track at this step.

Then  Controlling Costs process is one of the most important processes. It is the process of monitoring the performance of the project to update the project costs and managing changes to the cost baseline.

The purpose of this process is to compare all the planned and actual figures and calculate the variances. The main benefit of this step is that it provides inputs to analyze the deviations from the plan in order to minimize risks and take actions if needed. Earned Value Analysis and Cost Performance Index can be used to monitor the cost performance of the project.

How to Create a Project Budget ?

Creating a successful project budget is the most important aspect of placing a bid or making decisions for the performance of the project. However many project budgets are created in an incompetent way which results in failure.

Many people think that the project budget only revolves around labor and material costs. However, the project budget extends from material costs to the cost of getting consultancy service. Some project costs are easier to estimate than others such as material labor, and equipment costs.

Below steps can be followed while creating a project budget ;

  • Review the project cost management plan
  • Review the project scope
  • Analyze the risk register
  • Analyze the organizational process assets
  • Create the project schedule
  • Determine the resources
  • Perform cost estimates for each activity and work package
  • Assess indirect costs
  • Create the cost baseline

Creating the cost baseline is an important step because it governs the decisions and directions when managing costs on your project.

Tips for Managing Project Cost

Below tips may be helpful while managing the project costs.

  • Prepare a baseline budget,
  • Keep in mind the mark-ups,
  • Add Contingency Reserve to your budget for managing identified risks,
  • Add Management Reserve to your budget for unforeseen works,
  • Use software to track your projects costs,
  • Record actual costs,
  • Analyze the procurement strategies,
  • Calculate and update cost metrics,
  • Update cost estimations regularly,
  • Communicate with team members regularly,
  • Control the productivity of resources,
  • Bear in mind the travel costs for projects far from the company’s head office,
  • Review the administrative costs,
  • Make cost performance analyzes to understand the performance status
  • Use a project cost management software to update the baseline budget quickly


Obviously, there’s a lot to say about cost management in a project. Whether you have a small project or a large project, it’s important to know that a project cannot be performed without a proper cost management system. Project management success depends on the ability to establish an effective cost management system. Otherwise, your company could lose money as costs exceed estimates. Within a project, time, resource and cost issues are always important. Therefore the factor that often has the biggest effect on project success or failure is performing effective cost controlling.

In this article, we discussed the importance of project cost management. If you want to share your experiences regarding cost planning and control, you can use the comments box below.

See Also

Direct Costs and Indirect Costs

Cost Benefit Analysis Example

Working Capital


Leave a reply

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


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?


Create Account