Calculating Project Costs in MS Project

How does Microsoft Project calculate project costs?

Most people assume that the calculation of project cost is the result of the formula, Standard Rate x Work. Close, but no cigar! This simple formula is only a small part of a much more robust method of calculation available in MS Project. In fact, Project offers a powerful model for calculating and managing project costs by looking at task costs, resource costs, assignment costs, and more.

If you are interested in learning more about MS Project’s cost model, please watch my on-demand webinar. I will take you on a “deep dive” of all aspects of the cost model, including:


  • Creating Work, Material, and Cost resources to prepare for modeling project costs
  • Understanding how the Standard Rate, Overtime Rate, and Cost Per Use fields contribute to task costs
  • Understanding the resource cost accrual method
  • Understanding the behavior of the Fixed Cost and Fixed Cost Accrual fields
  • Understanding the formula used by MS Project to calculate task costs (HINT: there is much more to the formula than you might realize.)
  • Using Cost Rate Tables to track multiple resource cost rates


Watch the on-demand session.


Note: This webinar does not include content on Earned Value Analysis (EVA), a topic that could consume an entire hour all by itself, but it is eligible for 1 PMI® PDU in the Technical category of the Talent Triangle.


Written by Dale Howard
Dale Howard is currently a Senior PPM Consultant with Arch Systems, Inc. His hair and beard have turned white because of using Microsoft's project management tools for more than 20 years. Dale started his career using Microsoft Project 4.0 for Windows 95 and began using Microsoft's PPM tools when they introduced Project Central in 2000. Dale is the co-author of 23 books in Microsoft Project, Project Server, and Project Online. He is currently one 0f 26 Microsoft Project MVPs in the entire world and one of only 4 Project MVPs in the United states.
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