International Project Management Day




Late Cost Per Week Worksheet


Quick Summary
Screenshot This simple worksheet will help your team calculate and communicate the financial impact to the organization if your project slips by a week… or two weeks… or more.


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What this is

Late Cost Per Week is a simple concept that teams can use to clarify the importance of the time or schedule aspect of a project, by doing a rough "order of magnitude" evaluation of what the actual cost to the company will be if the project completes later than desired. This simple worksheet will help your team uncover and communication a project's "Late Cost Per Week," for use by the team and executives for deciding project scope and tradeoffs.


Why it's useful

Late Cost Per Week (LCPW) is simply a rough number that the project manager and the project sponsor can use to guide project tradeoff decisions among scope, time, cost, resources, risk, and quality. By estimating a rough order of magnitude LCPW, the team can be in a position to make the best decisions among these factors. This ensures the team will not discount the importance of the planned end date and also brings urgency and focused monitoring to key dates, especially handoffs.

The LCPW the team determines can be utilized very powerfully in scope discussions, risk lists, and other decision-making situations. This is also a great conversation piece for reigning in gold-plating designers ("Wouldn't this be a cool feature?") or overeager executives who unthinkingly increase scope ("I saw last week our competitors are including X, so we'd better add that to our scope.") Documented on this LCPW worksheet, the numbers help you counter such well-meaning ideas with objective information that can help you quickly squelch that scope creep or leap -- or ensure that scope is changed with a full understanding of the consequences in mind!


How to use it

  1. Gather the team and explain that you're going to collaborate to identify factors that could impact the project's value if the desired schedule is threatened, whether from risks, scope changes, resource reduction, or other factors.
  2. Start by considering any recurring costs. A) What actual ongoing costs would accrue per week, for every week that your project ran late? Examples of costs in this category could be staff salaries, contractor payments, equipment rental, and similar items. B) Then, what will the company lose in terms of profit (if you're creating something for sale) or unrealized cost savings (if your project is an internal cost-reduction project) by delivering later than planned? For every week the project is late, how much money is the company actually losing because sales are not yet happening or cost reductions are not yet realized?
  3. Then consider costs related to some sort of big miss or "cliff event" if your project did not make an important deadline. An example might be the sales orders and related profit you'd lose if the project missed a tradeshow, a critical customer demo, or beating a competitor to market.
  4. Total the numbers that you have arrived at to assess your project's general Late Cost Per Week. Remember, this is merely a rough order of magnitude, not an exact calculation. Don't let the team get bogged down in splitting hairs. And see the detailed guideline material along with the worksheet on the following pages for nuances of estimating the LCPW based on sales ramps and so forth.
  5. As a team, discuss the numbers and their implications for tradeoff decisions.

Keep the Late Cost Per Week visible during critical team conversations: reviews, scope discussions, customer evaluations, and so on. Create a team norm that LCPW implications automatically get raised if someone requests a scope change. Enlist the team in using this number!


This template requires a Premium Subscription
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