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MS Project, Project Configurator for Cost Calculation

When we regularly run projects, that produce very similar end products, and besides that we use similar sequence of actions (e.g. we use the same implementation methodology), we can speak about typical projets. On a typical project we more or less start with one of the past projects and make some modifications on it. The basic benefit is that we don’t start with the “blank paper”.

The basic idea in my case was to build the project plan and cost estimates for the potential “full vesrion” of the final product, which can serve me as a configurator for the final product. What I need is a tool to to select only those components, which are interesting for the customer. After selecting appropriate components (activities) of the final product your project plan and cost estimates are ready (we can speak of seconds; what a benefit!!!).  In order to achieve this in MS Project, we have to create custom columns for cost calculation according to the selection critetria.

We add a new column by using “Insert Column” command on the context menu of the title row in the spreadsheet.

The “Cost” column is where the cost of activities are automaticaly calculated (depends on whetehr you have assigned resources to the task and a cost rate for the resources).

We will use “Flag 1” column for the selection flag (Yes – activity is included in the project ; No- this activity is not included).

The “Cost 1” column will be calculated according to the selection flag. If flag is “Yes” then cost will be included, otherwise the cost will be zero.

Now we have to configure the “Cost 1” column. Column will be calculated according to the “Flag 1” status. In order to start configuring the column, select the “Custom fields” column from the context menu.

Select “Formula” button.

In the “Formula” dialog box insert the formula: IIf([Flag1]=Yes;[Cost];0)

In case the Flag1 is “Yes”, the Cost1 column has the value of Column, otherwise it is zero.

Some warning dialogs appear when you close the dialog.

Wea are back in the “Custom fields” dialog. In order to “sum” all costs of the selected sub-activities (Flag1 = Yes) into the activity in the higher level, we have to select “Rollup” buton and “Sum” from the drop-down menu.

Here is the final result:

The activity is not selected (Flag1 = No). Consecuently Cost1= 0 €.

Toggle to Yes.

Now, Flag1 = Yes and consecuently the Cost1 = Cost = 1.120,00 €.

(You will receive the cost value <> 0 only if you assigned resources and costs to the selected resources before.)

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