Here are some details on how CourTechnology implements project management techniques to ensure the success of your project.

Estimating Realistic Costs, Schedules, and Specifications to Ensure Project Success

Traditional approaches to cost estimating generally fall into one of two categories: bottom-up or top-down.

CourTechnology utilizes a bottom-up approach to estimating realistic costs. The most common approach to doing this is to employ a work breakdown structure (WBS) as a guide to identifying cost elements. This means that before cost estimates can be made, a detailed WBS must be constructed. Cost data are then gathered at the bottom-most level of the WBS. These data are then aggregated to the next WBS level, which provide budget insights into activities reported at this level.  They are further aggregated until we reach the highest level of the WBS, at which point we have an overall cost estimate for the project.

Another approach utilized is range estimating. Optimistic, likely and pessimistic estimates in forecasting costs. The result is a number skewed toward the likely, somewhat adjusted to reflect the range of outcomes that may occur.

Range estimates are good for helping us understand the uncertainty in our plan, but are difficult to manage. Therefore, the ranges need to be converted to targets. The entire process at arriving at a target helps understand the main issues in delivery of the project. When completed we still have a single-point estimate, but have a qualified and informed target rather than an optimistic guess.

For specific details on the values used to calculate these estimates, click here.


Integrating Cost and Schedule Control to Measure Work Performance

A well-known joke in project management circles state that the last 10 percent of a project typically takes 50 percent of the effort. Often projects can be stuck at the 90 percent mark for months. At CourTechnology we think in order to have an accurate perception of project status, we look at cost and schedule variance concurrently. An effective way to examine cost and schedule variances is to use cumulative cost curves (also called S-curves) and Gantt charts along with earned value.

The variables we normally measure on projects are safety, scope, quality, cost and time. Earned value (EV) helps us discover, with a degree of objectivity, where we are on the project plan. EV assess against the value of the work that has been performed. We get the best value out of earned value by applying it to the most volatile of our resources: people. The earned value idea is very useful to help understand where you are, especially on large and complex projects.

CourTechnology uses tools that help predict what will happen - not those that tell us what did happen - as guides to future action and decisions. For charted examples, please click here.

We're more than just project management.