How data is changing your cost management
To advance your cost management practices, knowledge and experience need to be captured and shared. How would this change the way you do cost management?
Estimating project costs becomes more standardized with the use of modern software. Cost engineers develop and maintain information about prices, labor and other valuable data of completed projects. With this data, costs can be built up hierarchically to make estimating projects faster and more accurate. This also means a revolution in cost management, allowing project management to use more advanced mathematical methods to predict costs.
Location and productivity data
A valuable part of cost management data covers information about locational effects on projects. People work together worldwide to gather location and productivity factors in tables to be used in estimating and performance measurement against a frame of reference. This allows better validation and control of your projects.
Convert estimates to cost control documents
Cost data, factor tables and other cost management data are all stored in one database. When doing this consequently it is easily transferable. This allows estimates to be recasted into cost control documents without much effort. The same principle holds for commitments, actuals and other kinds of large datasets. Using a standardized format, they can be added to cost control documents without much effort. The major benefit is that you can spend more time on analyzing data rather than handling it.
Estimating the cost of changes within a project is a considerable effort, where the impact on other parts of the scope should be foreseen as well. Using the estimating knowledge and data to estimate changes makes it faster and less prone to forget something. Like a baseline budget estimate, it is data that is transferrable to a cost control document that has the same data structure, again saving time.
As you can see, developing your data allows you to really advance your cost management practices to the next level. To make this possible you need the right people for the job. This is no easy task, but companies are succeeding in pulling it off. You do have to realize that developing data is a multi-disciplinary task and doing it right takes time. It is often a long-term effort that needs to be managed besides the project, but with dedication and passion for the job you sure can succeed.