Document Detail

Title: RS214-1 - Trade-Off between Cost and Schedule
Publication Date: 1/1/2007
Product Type: Research Summary
Status: Supporting Product
Pages: 27
Choosing between cost and schedule options can occur many times throughout a project's life cycle. This publication describes a decision support tool, the Cost Schedule Trade-Off Tool, which assists in selecting from 23 optimum techniques depending on the phase of a project. Includes case study summaries and introduces the Microsoft® Excel-based CSTT as means to prioritize techniques based on their effectiveness.

NOTE: Actual tool included with IR214-2.
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Projects must meet budget, schedule, safety, and quality goals to be regarded as a success. Many decisions are made that influence a project’s outcome. Today, owners are often faced with deciding between a project execution strategy that emphasizes either cost or schedule. Such a decision may be made not once, but throughout the life cycle of the project.

CII established the Trade-off between Cost and Schedule Research Team to investigate this topic. Through a survey of CII member organizations, the research team identified 23 techniques that consistently influence project success. The team then developed a simple yet effective tool to assist in selecting the optimum group of techniques to achieve a specific cost-schedule trade-off. The Cost-Schedule Trade-Off Tool (CSTT) offers the following advantages:

  • Applies to projects that are either schedule or cost-driven.
  • Recommends techniques for success unique to each stage of the project.
  • Provides references to selected CII Best Practices for further guidance to the user.
  • Applies not only to trade-off projects, but virtually any project.

The techniques recommended by the tool are not unique, but are routinely used in successful project management. In fact, many of the techniques are CII Best Practices. The key, however, is that CSTT helps the user in knowing the specific techniques to employ at each stage of the project. Project teams can then use these techniques in a more timely fashion to increase the likelihood of project success, particularly in an era when trade-offs are continually being made to favor cost or schedule.