Cost Tracker
Project Management Software

Requirements & Solutions

Requirement 1
A software design that enables firm partners to quickly review project spending to determine if any projects are significantly exceeding budgets and if so what factors are contributing to the overspending. The overview of team spending should include a way to generate automatic comments in the project spending summary to explain overspending to firm partners. These comments can be created and edited by the project manager but are generated by team work hour overages and other recorded project data.

Solution: The first screen of the software provides a project spending summary for each team the user has access to and consolidates user workflow by allowing users to click on summaries to research project data in depth or search for a specific project. Once a project is selected, a dashboard shows spending information broken-down by teams. Each team spending graph features collapsable tables to allow partners to drill-down and see team spending by work stream as well as automated comments that account for any overages. A tabbed menu at the top of the screen allows partners to look over the Monthly Report, which shows the impact of spending on monthly and cumulative estimates. The Hours Graphs tab provides partners with further insight into project costs by providing a data visualization of team labor hours and how they have changed over time and in comparison with each other, so that partners can pinpoint any issues that may be driving a project over-budget.

Requirement 2
A software design that allows project managers to set up new projects, assign them to teams, and set budget estimates for each team and work stream to guide team managers and firm partners in project spending. Project managers need to be able to save their progress during project setup and resume these saved new projects at a later date. They also need an efficient way to set up projects.

Solution:
The first screen of the application allows project managers to set up a new project or browse/search for a project still in the process of being set up. Selecting either option launches a stepper form that facilitates the process of project setup into simplified steps. The first step allows features pertaining to the entire project to be selected or entered, including name, duration, currency, and project owner. This step also allows for the addition of multiple teams, and the pairing of each team selection with a selected rate card, which applies cost information to any work streams assigned to this team. The second step allows the creation of work streams and the creation of multiple sub-work streams to each work stream. The creation of teams and work streams is then paired together in step three, where the project manager can see the rate cards for each team applied to each work stream and use this overview to determine and calculate the total number of estimated hours that are best for each team role on each work stream. Each step in this process allows entries to be edited live, as well as saving in mid process and navigating to other project setup information. The submission of this setup information brings up an estimates form that allows the project manager to apportion the project budget on a monthly and cumulative level, recalculating the amount of budget left after each entry. This provides an excel-spreadsheet like overview of cumulative estimate totals across the project timeline.

Requirement 3
A software design that allows team managers to enter labor hours spent on each work stream by their team, which then recalculates project spending estimates for the rest of the duration of the project to show if a project is over budget.

Solution:
Team managers enter actual labor hours for their team under the Actuals tab, where they can enter the weekly hours for each team or work stream and then see the cumulative totals. Collapsable rows allow the team manager to view table data and edit data entries as needed. If the team manager oversees multiple teams, they can quickly select another team from the dropdown menu at the top of the page to do all their work in one screen. They also have access to the Monthly Report and Hours Graphs so that they can see all data that pertains to the teams they manage and are aware of the team data the firm partners will be viewing. In addition, team managers can access the comment settings under the User Account menu and add automated comments which can be manually applied to their team spending summary in the project spending dashboard, to communicate spending factors to firm partners.

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