All the Steps in a Project Cost Management Plan

All the Steps in a Project Cost Management Plan

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Senior Executive Content
Updated on Jan 9, 2024 19:21 IST

Cost-cutting is a fundamental business strategy. It is an indispensable factor in project management. Determining budget and forecasting are a few objectives of a project cost management plan. It is applied in the project life cycle to achieve deliverables successfully. 


Learn about Project Cost Management, an essential strategy in project management. Understand its significance, processes, and how it contributes to successful project delivery, ensuring adherence to budgets and quality standards. Dive into the details below.

Project Cost Management | Meaning 

Controlling expenses in the entire project lifecycle within a predefined budget and time, and meeting the quality expectations of the stakeholders is project cost management. 

Project Cost Management | Processes

Creating a project cost management plan starts from the beginning of a project until the end. Here is how project managers do it. 

Resource Planning

Project managers plan the resources first. Typically they create a work breakdown structure highlighting the deliverables before allocating any activity. It is a hierarchical structure with the main goal showing on the top going down through the subcategories. See below. 





This structure helps identify how resources should be used and how much a resource will need spending. 

Cost Estimation

Estimating the costs of an entire project requires information on the price of individual resources, duration of deliverables, and potential risks. It is done with various methods. They are as follows. 

  • Analogous estimating or top-down estimating is one technique where project managers draw conclusions for the new project from historical data of earlier projects. 
  • Parametric estimating not only uses historical data but also statistical modelling to calculate the costs or time required for a project. 
  • Three-point estimation like PERT is another cost determination method where a project manager looks at three different scenarios. They are usually termed as ‘optimistic’, ‘pessimistic’ and ‘most likely. Optimistic is when deliverables are cost-efficiently done, pessimistic is the opposite and most likely bit comes between the two. 

Using one or more of the above cost estimating techniques in project management are necessary as the scope of work tends to change during a project lifecycle. 


This third step includes allocating expenses for individual tasks and comparing them to the total calculated estimated costs. 

Controlling Costs

Project managers also have to chart out the potential financial risks during the project. They do it by evaluating the cost baseline or the total estimated costs of all tasks. They check the performance against the total costs and time taken for project delivery. It should not cross the control threshold, which is the amount of variation a project approves. 

Case Study of AI application in Cloud-based Project Management Systems

Here is a case study from Project Planner that delves into the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Project Cost Management within the context of cloud-based project management systems.

Project Planner highlights the growing use of AI in managing project costs. This is to improve accuracy, streamline processes, and automate tasks that were traditionally manual in nature.

What is the Role of AI in Project Cost Management?

AI is depicted as a valuable tool to aid project managers in cost management tasks. It offers benefits such as enhanced speed and accuracy in data analysis, automation of complex processes, and improved budget forecasting and tracking.

Methodology as used by Project Planner

The study employs a qualitative research methodology involving the review of academic literature, industry reports, and interviews with experienced project managers who have used AI-enabled cost management tools.

Findings from Project Planner

The results affirm the advantages of AI-enabled project management tools in improving data analysis speed and accuracy, automating tasks, and enhancing budget forecasting. Simultaneously, challenges like data security, accuracy, and the need for adequate training in using these tools are identified.

Key Learnings from the Case Study

The study concludes that AI-based cost management tools outperform traditional methods by facilitating cost reduction, accuracy improvement, and process automation. However, it highlights challenges in adopting these tools related to data security, accuracy, and the necessity for proper training.

Follow this Ultimate Project Cost Management Checklist

Define the Project Scope

  1. Clearly define the project scope, deliverables, and objectives.
  2. Identify all project stakeholders and their expectations.
  3. Create a work breakdown structure (WBS) to decompose the project into manageable tasks.

Estimate Project Costs

  1. Use appropriate cost estimation techniques (e.g., analogous estimating, parametric estimating, three-point estimating) to determine the cost of each task.
  2. Consider all project costs, including labour, materials, equipment, travel, and overhead.
  3. Include a contingency budget to account for unexpected costs.

Create a Project Budget

  1. Allocate the estimated costs to individual tasks and activities.
  2. Develop a detailed budget that outlines all project expenses.
  3. Ensure that the budget is realistic and achievable.

Develop a Cost Management Plan

  1. Create a comprehensive cost management plan that outlines the strategies and procedures for controlling project costs.
  2. Include a risk management plan to identify and mitigate potential cost risks.
  3. Establish a baseline budget and schedule for the project.

Implement Cost Control Measures

  1. Regularly monitor project costs and compare them to the baseline budget.
  2. Analyse cost variances and investigate any significant deviations.
  3. Implement corrective actions to address cost overruns or underruns.

Communicate and Collaborate

  1. Communicate project cost information to all stakeholders on a regular basis.
  2. Encourage open communication and collaboration among project team members to identify cost-saving opportunities.
  3. Hold regular project reviews to discuss cost performance and make necessary adjustments.

Conduct Post-Project Analysis

  1. After the project is completed, conduct a post-project analysis to review the actual costs against the estimated costs.
  2. Identify lessons learned and best practices for future projects.
  3. Use the post-project analysis to improve cost management practices in future projects.

Additional Tips to Consider

  1. Involve project stakeholders in the cost management process to ensure buy-in and support.
  2. Use project management software or tools to track project costs and monitor progress.
  3. Continuously review and update the project budget and cost management plan as the project progresses.

Create Your Project Cost Management Plan Efficiently

There you go. You are all set with a complete project cost management plan. While you create it, do give project quality management a look to get the most out of a project life cycle. 


What is project cost management and its significance in project execution?

Project Cost Management involves controlling expenses within set budgets throughout a project's lifecycle while meeting stakeholders' quality expectations. It ensures financial efficiency, adherence to budgets, and quality delivery.

What are the primary processes involved in Project Cost Management?

Project Cost Management encompasses resource planning, cost estimation, budgeting, and cost control. These processes aid in effectively managing project expenses and ensuring financial viability.

What are the different cost estimation techniques used in project management?

Common cost estimation techniques include analogous estimating (using historical data), parametric estimating (utilising statistical modelling), and three-point estimation (considering optimistic, pessimistic, and most likely scenarios). These methods help in forecasting project costs accurately.

How does budgeting play a crucial role in project cost management?

Budgeting involves allocating expenses for tasks and comparing them against estimated costs. It ensures that the project stays within the defined financial boundaries and allows for effective cost monitoring throughout the project lifecycle.

What role does Artificial Intelligence (AI) play in enhancing project cost management?

AI aids project managers in cost management by improving data analysis speed and accuracy, automating complex tasks, and enhancing budget forecasting. Despite its benefits, challenges such as data security and the need for adequate training are also observed.

About the Author
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Senior Executive Content

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio