There are three important factors that come together when determining the success of a project. These are, of course, quality, budget, and time. In this post, we are going to deal with the latter. After all, time management is one of the most difficult things that for any project manager, especially when scope creep kicks in and things go wrong during the project lifecycle. After all, it is difficult, if not impossible, for a project to run exactly as you expected it to when you finalized your project plan. With that in mind, read on to discover some of the best time management tips that will help any project manager, no matter what type of project they are working on.
There was only one place to begin, and this is with scheduling effectively and creating plans. One of the main reasons why project teams fall behind is because they are not working efficiently. If you did not create a schedule for your entire project team, then it is impossible to work efficiently because people will be working on the wrong tasks. Even worse, there are occasions where two people end up working on the same thing because there is a lack of direction and clarity regarding who does what. You should make the most of these templates because once everybody knows what they are supposed to be doing and when it will be a lot easier for you to stay on track.
Turn off alerts
Another tip for project managers, which is something they should share with our entire project team, is to turn off alerts on their computers and to only check emails at scheduled times throughout the day. One of the biggest distractions at work is replying to emails as soon as they come through. This is too tempting when you have alerts turned on, therefore, the best thing to do is to turn alerts off and schedule half an hour during your day to reply to emails. By doing this, you will find that you are able to work much more efficiently going forward.
Get the project plan right
Of course, time management begins with getting your project plan right in the first place. If you promise the client that you are going to deliver the project in a timely fashion, yet you have completely over promised and you have not based this on how long it is actually going to take your team to complete the tasks, then you are setting your team up for failure and no amount of time management tactics will save you. Therefore, when you are building your project plan, you need to talk to the people that are actually going to be doing the work, i.e. your team. Find out how long it is going to take for the tasks to be completed so that you can build a realistic timeframe and give your client a deadline that you can actually fulfill. This is the only way to keep everybody, from your team to the client, happy.
Another important step when it comes to time management is to deconstruct your tasks. One of the big problems with projects is that it can seem like the end goal is extremely far away. Employees feel like they have a mountain to climb and this causes them to feel demotivated. Not only this, but it is hard to work efficiently when your objectives seem like they are still far away and this makes people fall off track. Therefore, if you break down a large project into smaller pieces, it will make it a lot easier to stay on track. This is because milestones will be reached on a continual basis and this will cause employees to feel more motivated and enthusiastic about the project. It will also ensure that everyone knows what they should be working on and when.
The success of any project team relies on effective communication and collaboration. For this to be achieved, the correct software needs to be in place. You cannot expect your team to work efficiently if they do not have the right tools. Choose a software platform with care to make sure that everyone can communicate and collaborate on projects with ease. You can also use this software to monitor your team. You will be able to see who is working on what and the progress that they have made. This will also help you with time management because you will be able to easily discover when there any tasks that are falling behind and you will be able to put actions in place to rectify this as soon as possible.
Not only this, but risk management is an essential part of time management. After all, if a risk manifest itself during the project and you have not planned for this, it can completely take your project off track and it will be impossible to send the deliverables on time. However if you had taken the time to invest in risk management as you should, you would have been able to plan for these problems and you would, therefore, be able to react to them quickly and effectively. This would ensure that they do not derail your project completely.
Dealing with scope creep
Another essential part of time management is dealing with scope creep. Any project manager knows that this is one of the most difficult things with regards to any project. This often occurs because clients do not actually know what they want in the first place. Therefore, when the project commences they request changes and extra things to be added to your to-do list. You need to make sure that you do not just say ‘yes’ to any change that is requested. There needs to be a change management process in place. You need to make sure that the client is aware of the impact the change is going to have on the project as a whole, including the deadline. You need to ensure that they are aware that you can implement the change but that is going to take longer to do so.
Learn from your mistakes
Aside from this, project management is all about learning. With every project that you carry out, you need to learn from the mistakes you made in the previous project and this includes the mistakes that you made with regard to time management. Not only this, but you should not be afraid to use historical information to form judgments going forward. Historical information is a good way to determine how long certain tasks are going to take so that you can schedule accordingly. You can also use this to determine any of the issues you are likely to run into.
Hopefully, you now feel more prepared when it comes to time management for any project which you work on in the future. There is no denying that this is one of the most difficult aspects of project management and expectations for your team when handling any type of project. Nevertheless, as long as you learn from mistakes you make and you follow the tips that have been mentioned, you should be able to achieve time management success.
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