Consistency: A better way to approach your project business in the ‘new normal’

Peter Taylor. The Lazy Project Manager

In the 2020’s can there be any remaining justification for using worksheets to build and store project cost calculations? 

Sanity check!

We are, without any doubt, in the word of social collaboration in project management, harnessing the power of the many and strength of the collective. We are, equally without any doubt, in a world of virtual and remote project team engagement, with all the alignment challenges (read ‘opportunities’) that brings. And we are in a world of that is being driven by the project economy concept, where the very business of the business you work for is operating in a projectified way, with projects becoming ever more complex and wide-ranging in their team composition and outcome expectations.

And let’s not just think ‘internal’ projects here. Many projects happen through the collaboration of a supplier/client partnership that requires a common purpose and shared outcome focus, a joining together of two business cultures and personnel and processes to become (temporarily at least) one.

Exciting stuff isn’t it!

But, yes, there is always a ‘but’ of course.

But, all this complexity, virtuality, global reach, etc. highlights a weakness that has always been with us. The weakness of data, and errors in that data, upon which significant decisions are made, commitments set and promises committed to. And it is a weakness that in this ‘new normal’ will only become even more critical, and prone to some scary errors in the future unless changes in behaviour are made.

One person doing one thing using one tool is more than likely to produce something accurate (or at least accurate according to that one person of course).

Throw two people into the mix, making sure they don’t sit next to each other at work (well that doesn’t happen anymore anyway does it?) and it gets slightly more complicated with the opportunity for error rising  slightly.

Escalate that by a factor of 4, or 10 or a number of your choice perhaps with an extra seasoning of multiple office tools and you can quickly see the chances of an error (or more) occurring and being missed rises hugely.

And those errors can be costly trust me, I have personally experienced something like this in the past where a simple error of transfer impacted a quote for a small component of a bigger solution that, in turn, screwed up a larger part of the expected deliverable. Results was delay that potentially could have led to a very (and I mean very) big penalty. We are talking millions here.

It is not a matter of the classic ‘garbage in, garbage out’ but more of ‘good stuff in but copied wrong and creating garbage that thrives in this complex journey of project costs estimation and pricing that delivers major garbage on the way out along where some pretty embarrassed people who have to a) explain what happened and/or b) have to tell their organisations that profits might be a little hard to achieve this time around.

Uncomfortable!

Let us summarise here. The project world is bigger, more complex, scarier in some ways, and involving more people and bigger teams. Net result is that errors are exponentially more likely to happen and to be way bigger (more impactful and career challenging) when they do happen, which they almost certainly will.

The project services business is growing and will continue to grow as we expand the project based economy and the need for organisations to work in alignment with each other in order to successfully deliver the demands that there markets and their leaders place on them.

The solution, simply put, is

  • Consistency where is matters
  • Visibility where you need it
  • Accuracy at all times

Consider your ‘shopping’ list for this situation:

Give me something that offers a unified method to calculate cost and price across organisation(s) (including risk budget calculation, warranty, uplift/discounts)

Add a great big dash of something that eliminates inconsistencies and errors by allowing team to share calculations and work collaboratively, with a means to manage cost/price approvals as well.

If it also recalculates currencies on the fly for international resources, material, or expenses then all the better thank you very much.

Ideally it centrally stores and manages organisation resources and cost rates, material, and expenses for reuse whilst also storing all customers, projects, and calculations in one place.

Make that stored information easy to search and duplicate for the next project, thereby building company wisdom, then that has to be a bonus.

And finally, make reporting and analysis a walk in the park through the ability to export calculations to PDF, Excel, HTML (user-customisable) and surely you must have a winner there!

Enter Pricell  – Calculate Your Project or Service Cost with a Cloud based application that drives price accuracy in any professional services business

Check it out  https://pricell.io/#pricing (Single User is free)

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