Determines the amount of cost required to complete project work.
Developing an approximation of the monetary resources needed to complete project activities.
Cost estimates are a prediction that is based on the information known at a given point in time. Cost estimates include the identification and consideration of cost alternatives to initiate and complete the project. Cost trade-offs and risks should be considered, such as make versus buy, buy versus lease, and the sharing of resources in order to achieve optimal costs for the project.
Cost estimates are generally expressed in units of some currency (i.e., dollars, euros, yen, etc.), although in some instances, other units of measure, such as staff hours or staff days, are used to facilitate comparisons by eliminating the effects of currency fluctuations.
Cost estimates should be reviewed and refined during the course of the project to reflect additional detail as it becomes available, and assumptions are tested. The accuracy of a project estimate will increase as the project progresses through the project life cycle. For example, a project in the initiation phase may have a rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimate in the range of -25% to +75%. Later in the project, as more information is known, definitive estimates could narrow the range of accuracy to -5% to +10%. In some organizations, there are guidelines for when such refinements can be made and the degree of confidence or accuracy that is expected.
Sources of input information are derived from the outputs of processes. Once received, all of this information will remain available as inputs to all of the cost management processes.
Costs are estimated for all resources that will be charged to the project. This includes, but is not limited to, labor, materials, equipment, services, and facilities, as well as special categories such as an inflation allowance, cost of financing, or contingency costs. A cost estimate is a quantitative assessment of the likely costs for resources required to complete the activity. Cost estimates may be presented at the activity level or in summary form.