Sunday, September 20, 2009

Planning Costs: Burger Flipping Anyone?

How would procurement and resource planning help my research project?

A procurement strategy will assist in developing management of necessary equipment, space and materials following from needs illustrated in my WBS which is modelled somewhat on combination of our case study PhD student "Jane" with a list of tasks found at The University of Southampton which has been incredibly useful in attempting to estimate time and GANTT chart plotting.

I will focus on segmentation such as initiation, planning, execution and handover which I have maintained as task topics and as others have already mentioned. In estimating actual working hours consulting quotations would suggest at least USD 400 for every 8 hour work day scheduled. I have been liberal in applying two day weekends off for each week of WBS time scheduled planning and another book I am reading, " Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis" by Joan Bolker (1998) suggests that even the best writers fail to exceed three to four hours of actual work each day. So it appears my best costs estimate based on my own would be 50 dollars an hour for four hours every work day and roughly 200 dollars a day at reasonable consulting rates.

How may I need to adjust the budget and resource scheduling worksheet to suit my needs?

In reality I have built several time buffers into my GANTT and WBS schedule to account for delays in a three year schedule this accounted from two to three months of extra unscheduled wiggle room. In addition I cannot expect that premium consulting rates would apply to a research scholarship funded three year project as the limits of scholarship funding will realize a short-fall under such circumstances.

Thankfully the people required are singular and I would estimate my required costs would not exceed the minimum required income of perhaps as much as $29,939.52 New Zealand dollars annually to be considered employed under terms of New Zealand law for immigrant labourers which may or may not be applicable to students engaged in scholarship supported graduate studies. For example travel and accommodations to and from Wellington to Bay of Plenty (or other North Island locales) for the purpose of conducting surveys and interviews would need strict budgeting considerations as these form significant portions of the work breakdown schedule.

While equipment necessary would include a well-stocked and facilitated library I would be willing to live in a functional shipping container or otherwise "tiny house" especially if the logistics industry would sponsor some of my research destination relocation costs?

Scholarship funding may not meet actual total costs so any shortfall will require accounting not only in funding management but time management possibly related to multiple part-time work engagements which overlap research schedule. The more preparation for the reality of a flexible work option which relates in terms of hours either on a ratio of 2:1 (study and work) rather than a 1:1 (study and work) will implicate the ability to apply greater focus entirely on research or more likely balancing additional income requirements with a work to research focus.

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