What Is a Project Budget?
The term project budget is relatively self-explanatory, and it's also one of the most important documents in the project management industry. Money's what makes the world go around, and it's also what makes a given project happen, after all. 😉
Basically, project managers, stakeholders and team members put together project budgets in order to estimate total project costs. This usually occurs at the beginning of the project planning process and is a key element of any successful project.
Small businesses often use simple budgets that only take up one page, whereas larger business budget templates can be several pages long.
What Does a Project Budget Include?
The content of project budgets varies depending on the industry, but they usually include the following:
- Project basics like project name, date, project manager, project sponsor, key stakeholders, and project team members.
- A general work breakdown structure (WBS). A work breakdown structure is another key project management and project planning tool that breaks a project down into smaller, more manageable steps and deliverables.
- Budget items like project labor costs & material costs. These categories are usually the most expensive.
- Excellent budget spreadsheets often include columns for both estimated budget and actual costs. Accurate estimates are important, but this accounts for variations in the project budgeting process.
- Other line items for project elements such as travel, equipment and fixed project costs.
- Some budgeting templates also account for expenses vs. income.
What can a project budget template do for me?
A project budget template is a key element of an effective project plan. Taking the time to put one together is well worthwhile because it:
- Helps with allocation & prioritization. Most projects begin with an established amount of resources. Putting together a project budget establishes where those resources should be allocated. It also helps determine which tasks or expenses will consume most of the budget. 💸
- Provides an accurate estimate of project cost: This point seems obvious, but is a vital element of any project. A thorough project budget is the best way to get a realistic picture of total project cost. Trust us, key players like stakeholders and project sponsors will require this kind of information.
- Acts as a planning tool: Project budgets are great reality checks. Putting them together often sheds light on issues that might otherwise be overlooked in the early stages of project planning. For example, you might realize that you don't have enough resources to accomplish everything you need to or discover that you need to contract external resources to work on certain tasks.
Slite's free project budget template
Forgot about confusing Microsoft Excel files, Google Sheets and other free downloads. When it comes to putting together the project management templates for your next project, Slite's got your back.
We have a free project budget template just for you that's intuitive, easy-to-use, 100% customizable, and perfect for collaboration. It can be used for everything from construction projects to business projects; you can truly make it your own.
We can't wait to see what successful project you use our budget planner template for. 😎
How can I get started with a Project Budget Template?
Ready? Let's get going on the customization of your project budget template. All you have to do is:
😬 Ensure You Know Your Project Inside & Out
In order to put together an accurate project budget, you'll need to be deeply familiar with its scope. Before you even start budgeting, make sure you really understand all your project's different stages and get any relevant questions answered.
📑 Break Down Your Project
No matter the size of your project, break it down into manageable pieces. There are many different approaches to this, but it's easiest to identify key milestones or tasks. Do this by using a work breakdown structure or a simple task list. Make sure to take note of the resources, materials and other dependencies (including employees) you'll need to complete each one.
💰 Do Your Research & Estimate
Research and estimate how much the resources & materials you identified for each milestone cost and take note of each expense. Always account for a little bit extra, as we all know things end up being a little bit more expensive than we initially expect.
...voila! Project budgets might not be the most exciting part of project planning, but they're extremely useful and can be put together without too much difficulty (especially when using our template). Get started now and thank us later. 😉