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Monday, March 22, 2021

Five Time Management Tips for Project Managers

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, I am going to discuss the latter. Time management is one of the most difficult things 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.

Here are some tips that can help you manage your time more efficiently.

Get the project plan right

Of course, time management begins with getting your project plan right in the first place. When you start to execute anything without a plan, you spend a lot of time discussing what to do, how to do it, what it should look like, and so on. This chaotic approach is often the leading cause of misused time in a project, because when a project remains in the concept stage, nothing tangible can actually be accomplished. 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 a deadline that you can actually fulfill.

Deconstruct your tasks

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.

Effective communication and collaboration

The success of any project team relies on effective communication and collaboration. Some of the biggest time-related issues project managers face are delays in communication, and more often than not, those delays are not happening within the project team itself. Instead, stakeholders who were so invested at the beginning of a project are often the first to go silent after time has passed, and their priorities—and attention—has shifted onto new tasks.

The best way to maintain stakeholders’ timeliness is to find ways to keep them engaged with the project. Being able to analyze a stakeholder or organization’s preferred methods of communication is another powerful tool in keeping the necessary groups engaged. Maintaining these relationships with stakeholders is a very important aspect of a project manager’s work and the benefits of doing so successfully extend far beyond the reduction of wasted time in a project.

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. When deliverables are not clearly defined, stakeholders are not involved or supportive, or tasks turn out to be more complex than initially thought, a project can be at risk for scope creep.

Starting a project without a clearly defined scope is like trying to drive from Los Angeles to New York City without directions. Sure, you could try and follow street signs, but you’ll eventually make a wrong turn and lose your way. You may never even reach your final destination at all.

The same goes for project management. The scope keeps you on track and makes sure you don’t miss anything important. It’s basically your project roadmap. When everyone on your team understands where you’re headed, it becomes much easier to complete projects on time and within budget.

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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