Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
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Reporting project cost variance with a stoplight view
Note that the dollar amount of variance, while important, doesn’t tell you the whole story.
What would be useful to know is what tasks had the highest percentage of variance. A task
with a $1,000 baseline and $1,200 actual cost has a lower percentage of variance than does
a cost with a $100 baseline and $200 actual cost. In complex projects, understanding what
tasks are prone to greater percentages of variance can help you avoid similar problems in
the future. In the next section, you will see one way to begin to analyze variance in this way.
Here are some additional tips and suggestions for working with resource costs:
You can use the Cost Overview report to see resources who are over budget. To do
this, on the Report tab, in the View Reports Group, click Dashboards and then click
Cost Overview.
You can also see timephased cost values in a usage view. For example, in the Resource
Usage view, on the Format tab, in the Details group, click Add Details. In the Details
Styles dialog box, show the Baseline Cost and Cost fields. This also works in the Task
Usage view.
If you have Excel, you can use the Resource Cost Summary Report. To do this, on
the Report tab, in the Export group, click Visual Reports. On the Resource Usage
tab of the Visual Reports dialog box, click Resource Cost Summary Report and then
click View.
Reporting project cost variance with a
stoplight view
There are many different ways to report a project’s status in terms of task or budget
variance or other measures. There is no shortage of features in Project that support
reporting project status, but the main point to keep in mind is that the method by which
you report project status is less a technical question than a communications question. For
example, what format and level of detail do your stakeholders need to see? Should project
sponsors see aspects of a project’s performance that are different than those seen by its
resources? These questions are central to the project manager’s job. Fortunately, as noted
earlier, Project is a rich communications tool you can use to construct the type of project
status information that best meets the needs of your stakeholders.
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