Project Budgeting and Forecasting
Knowing where a project is at is important, but knowing where it’s going is equally important. 4castplus Project Budgeting and Forecasting brings key insight into project trends and detailed future project spend and consumption patterns. With its easy-to-use tools for measuring and adjusting, cost engineers can control spend predictions with accuracy and transparency.
The project budget is one of the essential cornerstones of project controls. With 4castplus, you can build your budget from detail estimates created using the 4castplus built-in Estimating solution, or alternatively import the estimate from an external tool. Once baselined, the estimate becomes the Project Budget; and 4castplus provides an abundance of tools for analyzing, progressing, forecasting, trending, cost capture and reporting against the budget. You can slice & dice your view of the budget from very detailed context of: Area, Phase & Workpackage level of the project – or alternatively view at a more high-level Program or Portfolio view your Program Budgets.
Budget Revisions (Re-Baseline)
4castplus supports the ability for you to revise the baseline budget in multiple incremental revisions. This is designed to support the natural evolution of larger projects that get defined in iterative cycles. This also supports the scenarios when changes need to be made to the baseline as a result of new information or change in initial scope. Not to be confused with a Change Order, budget revisions have a specific purpose for re-baselining an in-flight project. For more on the difference between Budget Revision and Change Order, check out this article.
Project forecasts are an integral part of cost controls and determining key performance indicators on a project. KPIs such as: Costs to Complete, Variances and how a project is performing to plan are vital metrics to capture and trend on a regular basis to achieve a successful project outcome. 4castplus forecasting is rich with features and reporting to enable full control and visibility into projects.
Using the powerful 4castplus Progress Measurement tools, cost controllers can generate Earned Value Management metrics to establish forecast values at all levels of the work breakdown structure. EVM delivers powerful insight into project performance, productivity and an early warning signs so that project controls experts can take corrective action. EVM calculates forecast values based on past performance. It utilizes progress measurements to calculate performance and predict remaining costs over a timeline.
Forecast CPI and Cost to Complete
Using calculated performance metrics such as CPI and ETC provide a calculated forecast based on historical performance. However, this may not always be an accurate indicator of what’s to come. Project controllers need a way to insert a forecasted CPI or ETC that will be more reflective of future performance. 4castplus provides powerful tools for entering forecasts of predicted costs to complete.
Provide your internal and external stakeholders the full picture of how your project is going to play out. Use historical performance to make key decisions on taking corrective action on forecasted productivity and performance. Don’t let the complexity of project controls on construction projects limit your ability to make an impact. Let 4castplus do the heavy lifting for you so you can focus on things that really matter.
Trending and What-If Scenarios
Cost engineers can create regular Trend-Forecasts and What-If scenarios to analyze potential issues that may arise. This is a powerful tool for bringing attention to possible outcomes to internal and external stakeholders. Each trend-forecast can be treated and addressed uniquely – and ultimately converted into a Change Order if the trend prediction turns out to be true.
Forecasting and Time-Phasing Remaining Hours, Materials, Equipment, etc.
4castplus provides specialized tools to help project managers forecast remaining resource amounts to complete an activity. The system is brimming with intelligent logic to know what was budgeted and the amounts burned to date, broken down by resource type.
Also called “Quantity Forecasting”, this module enables users to enter forecasted remaining quantities of any budgeted or non-budgeted resource on any project workpackage. This provides a powerful and easy way to forecast based on projected work remaining that may be over (or under) the currently budgeted amounts. With this ability to do Resource Forecasting, you are armed with an extremely powerful way to plan your anticipated resource requirements. It also gives you convenient insight into burned & remaining quantities according to budget. Also, you can enter time-phasing of forecasted amounts to get granular about when these quantities are expected to play out. 4castplus has the full picture of what, where, when and how much for every labor, equipment and material resource on a project.
Read this article for more information on 4castplus Resource Forecasting:
Cash Flow Forecasts
4castplus automatically calculates Time-Phased Cash-Flow Forecasts to indicate a month-over-month anticipated spend summary by budget area and cost code. This is enabled because 4castplus intrinsically links budget with schedule for a time-view of cost. On top of that, 4castplus enables further time-phased refinement of anticipated spend patterns for all resources, work packages and purchase orders. Linking schedule and time-phased budget is one of the key principles of project cost controls so that cash flow can be forecasted. Once forecasted, it can then be compared against actual spend as the project plays out.
Discipline Forecasts – Manpower Loading
4castplus has built-in Time-Phased Discipline Forecasts for accurate indicators of manpower loading requirements. 4castplus automatically aggregates all projected hours by either discipline or specified resource so that organizations can accurately plan labor loads. Additionally, 4castplus provides for a Probability Factor on projects that are In-Bidding so that the probability percentage can be applied to the manpower loading calculations.
By performing regular progress measurements, 4castplus calculates a full suite of earned value metrics including forecast to complete values at every level of the work breakdown structure and cost code area. EVM calculates forecast values based on past performance. It utilizes progress measurements to calculate performance and predict remaining costs over a timeline. It differs from Quantity Forecasting or Lump Sum Forecasting described above. 4castplus is unique in that it provides multiple types of forecasting to help in providing critical predictive tools for major projects.
An accurate and transparent forecast is highly dependent on an accurate measurement of progress to date. Most organizations struggle with their ability to measure progress and require better systems and processes to improve that ability. To avoid errors in subjective opinions, 4castplus provides sizing attributes by way of rules of credit milestones as well as units of progress to help project managers benchmark their assessment of percent complete. Read more on project progress and performance measurement…