The project time management process involves monitoring and controlling time that you spend within a project. By intelligently using time sheets and time management logs, you can keep track of how much has been spent and the progress made on the project. This allows flexibility, modification and resource allocation that increases the chance of meeting schedules and delivering on time.
Project time management is distinctly different from personal time management in several ways. A critical subject for any management student or full time manager, the concept includes all processes that make up the system which is designed to efficiently complete a project in a timely manner.
Basics of Time Management for Projects
Time management is very important to the successful completion of any project. The managers who are most valued always meet their project schedules and bring it in within budget. Schedule management that sets and matches deadlines can minimize cost overruns and save money. There is time management software that makes this simpler and more efficient.
Any project can be broken down into a sequence of tasks. A manager's role is to identify the tasks, estimate their duration, find out what resources are needed, and prioritize the execution of each step by its relative importance. Together, these elements make up the entire project.
Leaving out critical components can cause failure. Incorrect time estimates can lead to costly delays and not meeting deadlines. Clearly understanding the nature of the work and familiarity with the steps to be followed can streamline this process. The schedule can also be thrown out of gear if the correct sequence of steps is not followed.
Project Time Management Components
There are 5 main components of project time management.
1. Activity definition - this involves clearly establishing the steps and tasks that are needed to deliver on the project and its promises.
2. Activity sequencing - this analyzes how the different tasks interact with each other and depend upon one another.
3. Duration estimates - a judgement based task that strives to estimate the amount of effort and time needed to get the job done.
4. Schedule development - with the information above, it is possible to draw up a project schedule that also takes available resources into consideration.
5. Schedule control - this is needed to manage and control changes made to the project in the course of its execution.
Project time management enters the most critical phase right at the beginning, when the project plan is being hammered out. When done correctly, a project plan can set the tone for the rest of the work, and contributes in a major way to the overall success of it.
Once the plan is drawn up, it needs to be fleshed out with specific deadlines and milestones by creating a project schedule. Once the schedule is finalized, all that remains is to get the work done by following the timetable without delays and hurdles.
Time management is only a subset of broader project management. Whereas project management takes into consideration several other things than time management, this component of the whole is crucial to each of them because it ensures timely delivery and meeting deadlines. Time management software that helps streamline these steps can be very useful in executing these steps.
Pitfalls in Managing Time on Projects
Project schedules are difficult to create and manage because of the ubiquitous shortage of resources and time to get the job done comfortably. Intelligent project time management is about correctly prioritizing tasks and making do with the available material and manpower. Project management software can enhance efficiency.
Even on critical pathways, items can be added or removed depending upon circumstances. But it takes an experienced manager to decide when and what to remove or modify to enhance effectiveness. And despite how well you are able to manage time, there is another constraint to keep in mind - your budget.
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