Skip to content
Added to your CPD log

View or edit this activity in your CPD log.

Go to My CPD
Only APM members have access to CPD features Become a member Already added to CPD log

View or edit this activity in your CPD log.

Go to My CPD
Added to your Saved Content Go to my Saved Content

What is project cost planning and control?


Cost planning and control is the estimation of costs, the setting of an agreed budget, and management of actual and forecast costs against that budget.

Definition from APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition

Productpaneltop10myths Whatispmwhatisriskmanagement 1920X1080

Cost planning

Cost planning is an essential part of the project management process. Project managers need to understand where costs fall in their schedule to manage demand for resources.

Typically, all resources that consume costs will be included in a resource optimised schedule. This type of schedule is essential to cost planning, to help build up picture of planned costs over time.

Planned costs can be fixed or variable. A fixed cost happens once in the life of a project, for example, a machine setup. A variable cost happens more than once over the life of a project, for example, component machining.

Abridged from APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition

Cost control

Cost control is the process of collecting actual costs and collating them in a format to allow comparison with project budgets. Cost control is necessary to keep a record of monetary expenditure for purposes such as:

  • minimising cost where possible;
  • revealing areas of cost overspend.

Cost control information is fundamental to the lessons learned process, as it can provide a database of actual costs against activities and work packages that be used to inform future projects.

APM’s Planning, Scheduling, Monitoring and Control (2015)

APM ACostE Estimating Guide 

Everything you need to know about estimating in one essential guide. Estimates are critical to project professionals; vital when making informed decisions about projects across the different stages of the entire project life cycle to ensure successful project delivery.

Buy from bookshop
Acoste Estimating Guide (1)

Cost breakdown structure

Cost budgets usually start with a procurement strategy and the cost breakdown structure (CBS). The CBS defines the level at which costs will be collected. Its purpose is to allow budgets to be set and costs to be collected, recorded and controlled.

APM's Planning, Scheduling, Monitoring and Control (2015)

Cost breakdown structure - project cost planning and control

Diagram: Cost breakdown structure (CBS). Copyright APM

Planning, scheduling, monitoring and control

Planning, Scheduling, Monitoring and Control offers practical guidance on all planning aspects of preparing to undertake a project, executing a project, controlling its delivery to budget, time and quality, and delivering it safely.

Buy from bookshop
Planning Scheduling Monitoring And Control

Related reading

Senior Managers Guide To Project Controls Cover Card
Senior Managers' Guide to Project Controls

Making the case for investing in project controls

It’s possible that you are a senior manager in an industry not applying formal project controls. Or you may be a senior manager in an industry that has relied on project professionals for decades. This guide can help you introduce, improve or innovate in the field of project controls. I wish you every success!

Requirements Resources Whatispm 1920X1080 (3)
Measuring time and budgets – what the project management community can learn from the construction industry

I hail from the construction industry which has a poor public image. Whilst it may have a poor reputation it has established techniques and processes that provide highly effective controls which other sectors could benefit from... read more.

APM Learning

The following cost planning resources are available on APM Learning. This is a member only resource.

  • Information sheet - Cost planning

Find out more about APM Learning

APM Planning, Monitoring and Control Interest Network

The generic area of operation is project control, focusing on the techniques and processes listed as well as interfaces to other subject areas, e.g. risk, governance, programme and portfolio management. 

Get involved in the community

APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition

The APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition is a foundational resource providing the concepts, functions and activities that make up professional project management. It reflects the developing profession, recognising project-based working at all levels, and across all sectors for influencers, decision makers, project professionals and their teams. 

Buy from the bookshop
Bok7 tableimage 1920X1080

You may also be interested in

Laptop screen showing the APM Learning dashboard
APM Learning

The APM Learning portal is an online resource which provides members with access to digital guides, modules and other digital learning resources as part of the membership benefit.

Productcardwhatis 1920X1080
What is ...?
Browse our popular project management 'What is ...?' topics for definitions, quick insights, view related case studies, research, blogs and glossary.
Productcardprojectjournal 600X400
Project Journal

Project – APM's official journal – is circulated quarterly for members only, and online for regularly updated news, blogs, opinions and insights for those in the project community.

Member Benefits APM Community 2 600X400
APM Community
The APM Community is our online community platform that connects our members faster and easier than ever before.