Time management is important both in personal and professional life, especially in projects. A project is considered successful, if it is delivered fulfilling the desired requirements at the desired time. Thus, time being one of the major facts, besides cost and scope. Time management is one of the ten knowledge areas of project management as per PMBOK® Guide. Managing time in projects is not an easy task. Various projects fail due to ineffective time management.
Here are 7 guiding principles in project management that will help you manage time effectively in projects.
1. Understand the time requirements
Just because the project owner has demanded for a deadline doesn’t stop you from responding. You as a project leader needs to understand the time requirements for a project. From initiation process to project closure, figure out the actual time requirement before committing to one.
2. Do include buffer time
While estimating time for a project, you need to include the buffer time that you think will be invested in the project. Every stage will need some buffer time to get started or completed. Most of the times, people exclude this time and therefore couldn’t fulfill project deadlines. Therefore, estimate time including buffer time for all the stages in a project.
3. Break project into time-boxes
To plan a project and estimate time accordingly, you need to break down a large project into smaller time-boxes. This will help both in planning and execution. Schedule start and end-date to each time-box and make sure that these dates are religiously followed.
4. Keep review cycle at shorter intervals
Review cycle for effective management of project should be implemented. These review cycles should be at shorter intervals for better time planning. The quicker you get feedback, the quicker you can adopt the same. This way you can plan time for the rest of the project effectively. Also, this will avoid delay of project delivery at the end due to pending reviews.
5. Maintain focus on priority tasks
While managing a project, set a list of priority tasks and maintain focus on these throughout the project life cycle. The priority list should be in line with the business and meeting the expectations of your defined goal for the project.
6. Learn to compress time
You need to learn how to compress time in project. For example: wrapping up meetings and completing tasks quicker so that there is enough time to review. You need to challenge yourself to stay ahead of the estimated time in order to execute the project effectively.
7. Avoid duplication of tasks
This is one of the major things that every project leader should learn. A project might have various things repeating at different levels. Make sure that you avoid duplication of tasks. For example: documentation can be based on templates which will reduce half of the work after the first execution.
Few More in the list:
Follow only-one at a time principle
You as a leader should make sure that each member is working only at one thing at a time. Distraction from other tasks will not just hamper the quality of a delivery but will also adversely affect timely execution of project.
Learn to plan in advance
As a leader, you need to plan things in advance so that your team can execute the same effectively on time. Planning is very important in terms of managing time in projects. Set priority list and defined tasks for each member early in project.
Defined clear boundaries for the project and the team
Set up rules for the project and the team. If you feel, weekends should be ‘no working’, it should be so and the team and project should be kept off during those days. This will not just motivate your team to work passionately during working days but also avoid ill utilization of time during off days.
These are few smart principles in project time management. To know more about similar concepts, read more Project Management Articles.
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