Using budgets as tools to help manage your resources over the course of a given project is a great way to manage your resources effectively, as well as allowing you to track the progress of your projects. Budgets let you track the monetary investment going into a project to help you understand expenses, but they can also track your time investment as well. Using time tracking to budget your work hours is a great way to track productivity, manage your time resources, and accurately assess how long a given job will take. Understanding and budgeting your available work hours is a fundamental of project management!
What is Budget Tracking?
There are a couple of ways to budget your resources, and to track against those budgets. First, you can budget the costs of completing the project in monetary terms. There are inevitable expenses in completing a project, and being able to track those accumulating costs against your overall budget will help you to make smart decisions to stay within your budget. The worst thing that can happen is running out of money and stalling progress in your project! Budgeting helps to manage risks by letting you identify ahead of time when there may be resource issues, and understanding your budget allows you to calculate the overall profitability of your project more accurately, letting you communicate effectively with your stakeholders.
Time tracking budgets for your project will help you to stay on track to meet deadlines and keep your team appraised of their expected productivity levels and workloads. Being able to have accurate data around your time resources lets you communicate clearly and effectively to your team, so everyone involved in the project can stay informed of their responsibilities and track their progress towards completion of the project. An easy to use and informative budget tracking tool for your project will make overall management less stressful.
What are the Advantages of Budget Tracking?
We’ve covered a few of the main advantages of project budget tracking briefly already, but it’s worth covering things in a little more detail. Transparency and accountability are important, both in managing your team and in dealing with stakeholders. Using project budgeting tools to share information such ashow retainers and resources are being used let’s create confidence in your stakeholders.
Furthermore, more effective communication within your team will let you have a more robust feedback process – you can learn ahead of time where you might need to reallocate resources if your experienced workers are able to look at your budgets/targets and communicate their resource needs with you. Making early adjustments and getting ahead of potential issues will help your project progress to meet your deadlines.
2 Ways in Which Project Budgets Can be Tracked
Manual Budget Tracking
Manually tracking your targets and budgets is an approach which involves tracking budgets through a spreadsheet tool such as excel to map out your budgets and manually adjust values throughout the completion of your project. The manual process is one which can be time consuming for the project manager, has a high risk of human error occurring and often can be difficult to interpret/read for those who weren’t involved in creating it. While certainly cheaper than sourcing a budget tracking tool, you may find that the manual tracking path creates more costs down the road if done incorrectly.
Project Budget Tracking Software
Dedicated tracking software tools will let you create goals, budgets and assign tasks for your team, then organise that data for you in a readable and easily communicable form. A good tool will give your team a simple/easy method for recording their progress against targets and budgets, and let you report on your tracking data to stay on top of your progress rather than having to navigate/read a complex spreadsheet for yourself. Services like MinuteDock can help further by enabling connection to your accounting software, letting you assign charge rates and automate some of the invoicing process based on the work tracking your team perform on the job.
How to Manage Budgets With Time Tracking Software?
Hourly Budgets and Targets
Using time tracking software alongside a budgeting feature will allow you to create workload targets and track against productivity targets as well as manage your work hours against the requirements of your project.
You can manage your retainers more efficiently when you are able to record and see the exact amount of work hours you’ve spent against a given retainer. Being able to measure the resource input required for your retainer will let you appropriately price your retainer prices.
Track Real Time Progress
Live time tracking lets you get up to date information about the work being done on your project from wherever you are. You can oversee the tasks being completed remotely by viewing your online time tracker and assigning workloads even while not on site.
Use your tracking data to compare against your initial budgets and goals to measure the progress of your project in real time and make timely management decisions in terms of reallocating resources to meet deadlines.