Assume the project budget is meant as a guideline
The project manager is handed the project with a price tag on the project. Period. There is always a price tag. Whether it’s an internal estimate or price on an internal project, or it’s a price quoted to your project customer. Yes, that may be the only price your customer – internal or external – is going to see and pay. Or they may be getting billed for the ‘real price’ – the actual cost of the work you and your team is doing. Either way, the budget is yours to manage…even if you were never really given it to manage. If you weren’t given the budget to manage, then seek it out and manage it. Because at the end of the day, you’ll be expected to answer to it – either by your senior management if you’re leading a ‘fixed price’ engagement or by your customer if they are getting billed the real cost of the project work you’re doing. If it’s higher than was originally quoted or planned, you’ll be answering to it – so know it and manage to it.