What I have found most challenging about estimating activity duration’s and resource costs is balancing the quadruple constraints of quality (scope), cost (resources), schedule (time), and budget (money). The challenges about estimating activity duration’s and resource cost for ID projects are predicting the possible costs that will be incurred by carrying out the activities and tasks that are planned in a project; in addition to balancing the budget in line with the activities and tasks set in the project proposal.
There are a host of online project management software programs that provide PMs with the capabilities of developing project schedules, managing teams, tracking project results, and so on. PM software is not a requirement for PMs to allocate resources and estimate costs for an ID project. Microsoft word, Excel, Visio, or Edraw Max are some tools to use for developing ID projects. But, for PMs that want to manage, control, and monitor the project team and deploy resources more effectively and efficiently, using a project management software program is advantageous. The host of program management software comes at a cost and provides different features for an ID project. PMs need to review the features and decide which software program fits their needs.
Two resources that I would use in estimating the costs, effort, and/or activity durations associated with ID projects are Clarizen and Intervals.
Clarizen provides a complete project management tool for assigning tasks, resources, allocating budgets, and managing projects all wrapped in a single product. This program is useful for ID projects resulting in submitting deliverables efficiently, and track and prioritize schedules. Additionally PMs can manage reports and request from product managers. Clarizen costs approximately $30 a month.
Intervals, is a powerful project management tool that provides a task-based setup. Some of Intervals features include task management, reporting functions, client access, subcontractor task, time tracking, and security. Intervals, also has a built-in budgeting function. Intervals cost approximately $100/month.
Project management software has the capacity for PMs to plan, organize, and manage resource pools and develop resource requirement forecasts. Depending on the features and the cost of the software it can include tools for estimation and planning, scheduling, cost control and budget management, resource allocation, documentation storage, and security.
One useful site for beginners on an ID project is (projectmanager.com). This is a great place to collaborate with others in the same field and the site provides a variety of resources. The free project management templates are very useful and easy to use. The videos and blogs provide some educational resources and great information for managing projects. In the video, Dr. Stolovitch discusses establishing priorities and what you allocate is feasible. Projects will always involve competition for resources; everyone wants everything (Laureate Education, n.d.).
Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Project Practitioner voices: Barriers to project success [Video file].