8 tips to help you keep track of your budget
World of Digits / Explore
As part of your Product Owner / Manager activities, you may need to follow a budget dedicated to your product. Depending on your experience or your training, the task will turn out to be more or less easy … There are, however, some tips that will make your job easier and help you feel more comfortable and waste less time on this topic.
The source data of your budget monitoring (budget, budget used up, etc.) should preferably be easily accessible, so as not to unduly complicate the generation of reports and monitoring.
If your department/business has a monitoring tool or a BI tool, it is best to play along and really make it your own. In fact, the data you complete will already be formatted according to your company criteria and will no longer require reprocessing.
If you must go through intermediate tables to carry out your reporting, it is preferable to avoid multiplying the sources. If you need to use Excel, it is better to import your data and process it in the same file, through a database and different tabs or crosstabs. This will avoid errors linked to the multiplication of reports. If necessary, you can use versions of the reports in frozen format (PDF) without editing the source table. This will allow you to measure changes without losing your initial data.
You can set up protocols that will allow you to check the reliability of your budget, monitoring data in real-time. This will prevent you from a proper cold sweat!
If you need to use data from one or several external sources, try to favor exports over manual completion. A small mishap can happen very quickly; you might as well prevent it!
If you need to use Excel, you can set up self-checks (checksum calculations for example) that will allow you to avoid calculation errors related to changes in the table. In the blink of an eye, you can be sure your formulas are always correct.
Sometimes the business analytics set up by your department are too generic and don’t allow you to closely track your budget. Often there is a lack of detailed expenditure typologies and no tracking per product or per team.
If possible, integrate your product-specific analytics into the tool/budget (type of expense, product phases, etc.). This will prevent you from adding this data manually to your tracking. If this is not possible, integrate these analytics directly into your Excel database. Your reports can easily be broken down to a more detailed level and this will allow you to keep consistency with the company’s analytics.
Update your analytics regularly so you do not overload your database. If a piece of data in your analytics is no longer relevant, do not delete it, as it is linked to your budgetary history. Ideally, you can rename it or integrate it into new, more relevant, analytics.
Outside of the business review phases, feel free to update your budget projections for subsequent periods as the current situation evolves. This will allow you to anticipate any discrepancies and will save you from long update sessions.
A budget gap is not necessarily a problem because needs and situations change from the budget initialization period. However, regularly monitoring your discrepancies at a fairly fine level (your own analytics) will allow you to manage your activity more calmly, to prioritize more effectively and to explain these discrepancies more easily.
Depending on the evolution of your backlog and your roadmap, do not hesitate to integrate in real time the adjustments to your needs by means of a provisional budget. This will allow you to anticipate the bottlenecks and the strategic choices to be made. As a result, it will also save you a lot of forecasting at each stage of the review.
We hope that these tips are bringing light to this topic that may seem overwhelming sometimes. Indeed, this one is not always our favorite one but nevertheless very necessary.
Written by Sandrin Baron
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