Lesson 4: Tracking - View Cost Info


For many project managers, cost is an important aspect of project scheduling and control. For example, cost considerations can determine how quickly tasks are accomplished, and how resources (equipment and workers) are used. In some cases, the success of a project may be measured by how closely the final project costs match the baseline costs.

With Project Plan 365, you can monitor costs at a basic or advanced level. You can:

  1. Assign wages or rates to resources
  2. Account for the cost of materials
  3. Look at project costs

With Project Plan 365, there are a number of ways to look at project costs. You can view task costs when you want to see the total of all resource assignment costs and the fixed cost for a task. You can view resource costs when you want to see how much money is being spent on overtime work. You can view total project costs to see whether the project is staying within its overall budget.

By looking at costs, you can:

  1. Closely manage your project by tracking the costs of each task
  2. Create reports on the costs of individual tasks, as well as the overall cost of the project
  3. View individual and group resource costs

The total cost of your project depends on the cost of the material resources used and on the rates and the amount of work of the resources of type work involved in the project.

The costs for each of the material and the work resources involved in the project can be set from the Resource Sheet view.

Depending on the work and units allocated by a resource to each task, individual costs for each task are computed at first; summing the costs for all tasks, the cost of the entire project is computed.

To visualize cost, duration, work, start and finish dates for a project, you should inspect the fields of the project task. The project task is a task implicitly created by Project Plan 365 for any new project and it summarizes all the tasks in the project. It has ID 0 and is the root of the WBS.

To view the project task check the "Show project summary task" under File menu → Options.

Costs are an important aspect of project scheduling. Project Plan 365 allows the user to enter the following types of costs for a project:

  1. Rate-based cost - a cost that is calculated based on the pay rate (ex. 30$/hour) that is specified for a resource and the amount of work that is performed by that resource.
  2. Per-use cost - a one-time fee for the use of a resource, such as equipment. Per-use costs never depend on the amount of work done. Although a per-use cost for a work resource depends on the number of assignment units used, a per-use cost for a material resource is applied only one time.
  3. Fixed cost - a cost that is set for a task and not for a resource. A fixed cost remains constant regardless of the task duration, the amount of work that is performed by the resource, and the number of assignment units.

Note that a resource can have both a rate-based cost and a per-use cost set up. Imagine a scenario where an airplane is rented for 200$/hour and that before each flight it must pass a quality control check which costs 50$. You would set up a rate-based cost of 200$/hour and a per-use cost of 50$. For every different task that the airplane resource will be assigned to, the per-use cost will be inquired (and added to the total cost of the assignment).

When you know exactly how much the materials will cost for a task, and you are not assigning resources to the task, enter a fixed cost. A fixed cost represents a cost that remains constant regardless of the task duration or the work performed by a resource. A fixed cost might be the cost of supplies for which you've already negotiated a purchase price. It could also be a bid you accepted from an outside contractor, or the flat rate you always pay for a job.

The cost of an Assignment can be seen in Task Usage or Resource Usage views, by inserting the Cost column in the grid.

The total cost of a Resource can be seen in Resource Sheet, by choosing the Cost table or by manually inserting the Cost column in the grid. It can also be seen in the Resource Usage view. Total Cost of a resource represents the added costs of all the assignments which the resource has.

If the total project cost is unacceptable, you may need to look at the cost of each task. The total cost of a Task can be seen in Gantt Chart, Task Sheet, Task Usage or any other task based view, by choosing the Cost table or by inserting the Cost column. The cost of a task represents the added costs of all the assignments which a task has, plus any fixed cost set for the task.

In the case of summary tasks, the total cost is the added costs of the child tasks plus any fixed cost set for the summary task.

With Project Plan 365 you can also check how a change in an individual task's cost affects the total project cost. For example, you can look at project costs before and after adjusting a resource assignment or fixed cost for a task to determine whether the adjustment changes the total project cost.

To view total project costs, from the Project menu, choose Project Info option. Then choose the Statistics button. Besides cost value of the project, the Project Statistics dialog box displays information about start, finish, duration, work and and percent complete of the project.

icon_exercises.png      Practice

   1. On the project from the previous topic, use the Cost table to see the computed costs of each task. To apply a table to the current view, use the Table option under the Project menu. The values in the Total Cost column indicate the cost of each individual task in the project. Correlate the task costs with the standard rate values of resources entered in Resource Sheet view.

   When applying Cost table to the Gantt Chart view it should look like below:​


   2. Review the total cost of the project. Under Project menu, select Project Information option to view the total cost of the project. Click on Statistics button.

Project Info

   3. Switch to Resource Sheet and change the standard rate value (modify the value in Std. Rate column) for Painting Contractor resource to $70.00/hr and notice what impact will have on the costs of tasks and resource assignments.

   Go to Task Usage view and apply Cost table. The Task Usage view with Cost table applied to it should look like below. The below printscreen show only a part of the view:​


What will be now the new value for the cost of the project?

   Go to Gantt Chart view and apply Entry table from Project menu. From Format menu use Insert Column option to insert Cost column:

   You should obtain the following. You may need to resize with the mouse the Cost column to make cost values visible:​


Select the Cost column and from the Format menu, click on Hide Column option to hide the cost column, since we will no longer need it.