The name of the game of project management therefore is "cost effectiveness."
Cost effectiveness may be defined as best value for money. For analytical purposes,
this needs to be more closely defined as the optimum trade-off between specific
parameters. These parameters include affordable scope requirements, quality including
aesthetic value, time to put in place, enhanced production or reduced operating
costs, and so on, all according to the type of project and original basic project
Much of this may be subjective as in the case of assessing aesthetic value
or forecasting the future labor cost trends. Yet, it is nearly always possible
to make a value judgment in comparing alternatives and the better the project
objectives are defined at the outset, the easier this judgment becomes. It goes
without saying that the design consultants have a particular responsibility to
ensure that their staff and sub consultants also clearly understand project objectives.
When design consultants accept an assignment to produce specifications and
working drawings they, and all their support staff, should clearly understand
that they are spending money on two different levels. First is the cost of their
own design work. Second is the cost of putting the design physically into place.
Every line on a working drawing and every sentence or even every word put into
a specification has an associated cost downstream. And the cost is committed just
as surely as the time is spent in its preparation.
What is not always appreciated by the owner/sponsor is the relationship between
the cost of doing the design and the cost of constructing it. The ratio is about
1 to 8 or 10. There is therefore substantial leverage in "getting the working
details just right" in the first place. As the Ability to Influence Cost curve
indicates, the earlier the point in the development process of "getting it just
right", the greater the economy.