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Using Project to Manage Costs

Managing a project's costs is much easier when you use a software program such as Microsoft Project. However, before you can begin estimating, budgeting, controlling, and managing costs, you must be comfortable using the software. That's where Microsoft Project 2007 Training comes in.

To create a budget in Project, you must first create budget resources including resources covering costs, work, and materials; assign these resources to the project summary task; enter values for the budget resources; identify other resources for tracking and measuring purposes; categorize resources according to type; and group the resources for comparative purposes.

Doing so involves working in the Resource Sheet where you'll initially create budget resources and enter resources information. Once you've created the resources, you'll use the "Show project summary task" to assign resources. To get to this option go to the View menu>Gantt Chart>Tools>Options>View>Outline Options> Show Project Summary Task.

Go back into the View menu and choose Resource Usage to enter values for each resource. During this step, you'll need to insert columns for both budget cost and budget work. Work is measured in hours whereas materials are measured in units.

Back in the Resource Sheet, you can customize fields to create specific budget types by going to the View menu and choosing Resource Sheet>Customize>Fields>Custom Fields>Resource. Typical budget types include: labor, materials, travel, and supplies.

Now that you've created custom fields and specific budget types, you can look at your project's cost according to budget type. Being able to do so, gives you better insight to the project's costs.

If you use Microsoft Project, it's a good idea to enroll in Microsoft Project Training because the software is packed with useful and powerful features that make managing your projects much more efficient, including managing costs. The course you select will depend on your current skills as well as the version of Project that you own. For example, a basic Microsoft Project 2003 Training course is ideal for newcomers to Project using the 2003 version.