MS Project – discover secrets of Budget

Everybody knows how difficult is it to create a good schedule for a project. Today I want to tell you about Budget features in MS Project (screens from MS Project 2016, but it works the same in 2013 and 2010 versions).

First of all – what is Budget? Budget is maximum planned resources (cost, work, material) which you can use during project.  Using Budget features in MS Project you can compare Budget to planned or actual cost/work/material use. As we know – budget does not have to equal the planned value (budget may contain  buffers for unforseen or underestimated tasks)

To set up Budget in your schedule (in this tutorial I am using simple example of Cost type resources, you can use other types and more complex scenarios):

  • (optional) Uncover Project Summary Task in task view (eg. Gantt Chart View). In MS Project 2016 go to Format tab, Project Summary Task (checked)

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  • Create resources (Resource Sheet view) which will represent fixed costs for eg. Hotels and Daily allowance
  • Create resources (Resource Sheet view) which will eventually specified budget info, eg. “Total Budget” as a overall project budget or more specified “Budget – business trips”. Steps: add resource, double click (Resource information) , select type (Cost, Work, Material) and check Budget option.

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  • Now, add new Resource to Project Summary Task

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  • Next step – add Budget Cost field to Task Usage view and assign value (my business trips budget is 50 000)

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  • Assign business trip resources and costs to some tasks, eg.
  • Now it’s almost done – we have budget and some costs assigned. The last thing is to create resource custom field which will help us to compare values:

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  • Add created custom field to Resource Sheet view:

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  • Put values (in my case ‘Business trips’) in correct resources in Budget type column (you can use Lookup table during creation of custom field to choose from types):

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  • Finally, switch to Resource Usage view and add Group by Budget type custom field:

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The effect presents as follows – in this view you can easily compare your business trips budget (column Budget Cost) to plan (column Cost):

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My example refers to cost type fields – in the other scenario you can track overall cost budget (not only business trips), work budget (eg. within the project we have 100 mandays to use) or material budget.



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