Reconciliation

Reconciliation means that you match up the amount of time, resources, or money actually used with that which was budgeted.

Material costs Reconciliation of materials costs means comparing the actual dollar figure that you spent to the estimation for those materials. This is where good estimating literally pays off. If you have not predicted all of the materials items that you ' l l need, including any add-on components that may be required, you' l l underfund your material estimates at budget time. For example, you might ' ve estimated $10,000 for a task ' s materials, but the materials reported did not include licensing for the server software, thus erroneously reflecting an $8,400 cost instead of the actual costs incurred. Time costs The same holds true for the amount of time that you' ve estimated your people will take on various tasks. When performing duration estimates—that is, the amount of time estimated to complete a given task—the person who ' l l be doing the work should generally do the estimating. That person knows their working methodology and can give you a much better time estimate than someone who might approach the task in a different way. Reconciling time costs means that you take a look at the amount, in dollars, that a person ' s hours spent on a task translate to, relative to their salary, compared with the estimates. For example, your team member may have estimated a duration of two days and wound up taking three to get the task completed. Reconciliation indicates a one-day overage of the duration estimate.

Human-effort costs Cost-estimating results indicated that you needed one FTE assigned to a task; however, halfway through the task it became apparent that you needed an additional half-FTE.

Keep in mind that not all tasks have a single person involved in them. Tasks may require the participation of several people to get something accomplished. Tasks can be tracked by their material costs, by the amount of time spent doing the task, and by the number of humans needed to finish a task within a specific duration. There is a minor relationship between the duration of a task and the number of human resources applied to it, but you should not talk yourself into thinking that if you throw more bodies at a task, it' l l obviously get done sooner. There is no axiom in project management that says this is so, and you ' l l be guilty of faulty thinking if you allow yourself those thoughts. However, a task may benefit from an additional set of hands for a brief time. That' s where the balancing act comes into play and where you rely on your team members doing the cost estimating to tell you how and why.

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