Project management professionals are highly attuned to budget obligations—nearly everything they do is with an eye toward meeting budget objectives while adding value at every opportunity. But with all of the other tasks under the umbrella of the PMO, there are some common practices that often wreak havoc with project budgets.

1 – Not appointing a budget monitor. If your team doesn’t have a specific person keeping an eye on the amount spent and dollars still available across the entire project, budget issues can quickly build up and spiral out of control.

2 – Waiting until late in the project to add up actual expenditures. This habit has nightmare written all over it, as you likely won’t recognize problems until it’s far too late to properly resolve them.

3 – Assuming you can get additional dollars approved. This usually guarantees an uncomfortable conversation with an executive who may not have any more money available (and who will surely wonder why your projections were off base in the first place).

4 – Focusing only on high-dollar items for aggressive cost negotiations. Don’t underestimate the amount of money your PMO can save by value engineering small budget items, which often greatly outnumber the big ticket expenditures.

5 – Expecting to address cost overruns by “borrowing” money from other projects. Even if you resolve your current problem, you’ve now created a new crisis that will need to be tackled later.

6 – Relying on another group for real time cost tracking. Many departments have their own methodology for accruing and recording project costs, and their approach may not provide your PMO with the information it needs to stay on track.

7 – Monitoring all costs equally. Most projects have high-risk areas that should get additional scrutiny (either checking expenditures more frequently or examining them at a higher level of granularity).

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Intelligence Gathering: Determining End User Needs

Part of preparing any project for success is pulling together accurate and complete information about objectives, deliverables, and expectations. Gathering this data as it relates to end user requirements can sometimes be tricky—conflicting opinions, competing priorities, lack of big picture awareness, and little or no influence over final budget approval can all hamper your efforts. Below are some tips to help you get the information you need, proactively spot potential problems, and deal with requests that you know aren’t going anywhere.

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4 “Small Project” Mistakes to Avoid

It’s common to assume that small projects are simple and easy—until you try to do one. Small projects can be just as complex as their larger counterparts, and even seasoned project management consulting pros sometimes mishandle them. Improve your project management skills by learning to recognize and avoid these common “small project” mistakes.

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6 Project Management Mistakes Every Company Makes

Trace just about every project management war story back to its inception, and you’re almost sure to find one of the following six all-too-common mistakes.

1 – Not enough money. Budget and scope are related; it’s as simple as that. If funds are lacking, then the scope must be scaled back accordingly. Piggybacking on another project or tapping multiple too-small line items are rarely successful solutions.

2 – Not enough people. Project management professionals are the engines driving your project’s train. Whether it’s a misguided attempt to save money or simple naivety, assigning too few people to a project is a lose-lose situation. Your project’s objectives aren’t likely to be met, budgets will be blown, and your team will burn themselves out trying to take up the slack.

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