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Six Sigma KPIs: Defining Project Cost Variance

Staying within your means is critical to managing a successful project. Sticking to your budget prevents you from overspending while helping to promote a more efficient business. The way we see it, efficiency may be key, but working within your budget is equally important. Efficiency is the journey while budgeting is the road you travel.

Ask yourself, do you want to deliver faster Six Sigma projects that don’t overstep your budgeting parameters? Then it’s essential for you to outline a detailed plan in your project charter. Your plan will act as your guide through the rough waters of process improvement.

Key performance indicators are highly useful tools here, enabling you to identify precisely which actions benefit you as a company. As such, there are numerous KPIs to help you on your Six Sigma journey, one of which we look at today: Project Cost Variance (PCV). Join us and learn how you can use PCV to deliver Six Sigma projects on time and on budget.

Stay Focused with Project Cost Variance

It’s important to know that Six Sigma relies on the measurement and analysis of process issues. Controlling problems allows you to create solutions that prevent them from recurring, benefitting the business in the long- and short-term. Without a strong plan to follow, you’re likely to lose sight of your goals and business needs. Losing track of your priorities will only send you veering off budget towards slow delivery times. Moreover, this doesn’t just impact you, but also your customers, who depend on you for quality products and services. If customers don’t see any value in your services, or if they see you as unreliable, they’ll take their business elsewhere. For you, this is detrimental, but Six Sigma can help. First, however, we must define cost variance.

What is Does Cost Variance Mean?

A cost variance is the amount by which your project exceeds or falls under your maximum budget. Cost variance is one of two key areas that you should monitor throughout your project, the other being schedule variance, i.e., how early or late you are to meet project deadlines. You can use the following equations to calculate both cost and schedule variance:

  • Cost Variance = BCWP (budgeted cost of work performed) – ACWP (actual cost of work performed)
  • Schedule Variance = BCWP – BCWS (budgeted cost of work scheduled)

What is Project Cost Variance?

PCV is the process of evaluating your project’s financial performance. You should compare the budget you agreed before starting the project with the actual amount you spend. You can calculate PCV by finding the difference between BCWP and ACWP. Your ideal project cost variance should be when your BCWP equals the same as your ACWP. Your project cost variance provides otherwise unavailable insight into your finances throughout the scope of your project. Using it to your advantage allows you to monitor when and where you breach your budget. When you use PCV together with DMAIC, you can actively control your finances, targeting areas for improvement, like overspending. The result is a more focused, efficient, and successful project.

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