How to manage time effectively in project management

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9 time management strategies used by Project Managers

Just as it is in life, time management is a key quality in project management. Unless a Project Manager delivers a project’s products on time (and, of course, within cost and quality), then the project cannot be deemed to have been a complete success.

In this article, you’ll learn some of the strategies that the Project Manager uses to manage time effectively, and retain control over the triple constraint.

1.      Understand the constraint of time

Project Managers must understand the constraint of time, and have a good appreciation for the time requirements as the project progresses through each project stage and the project as a whole. While the customer may wish project X to be completed within three months, if this is unrealistic the Project Manager is obliged to respond. The way to do so is by calculating the actual time required, from initiation to closing.

2.      Create a project plan

It is essential to plan the project, allotting time slots for tasks to be completed and ensuring that team leaders and members are on board with the plan. Unless you create a workable project plan with time carefully considered, the project is highly unlikely to achieve its aims.

3.      Include a time contingency

Weather fails us, or supply lines become clogged. Illness affects work rotas. There is a host of things that can go wrong ­– including scope creep – which is why projects include a financial contingency to allow for overruns. You should also include a time contingency. This ensures that you are prepared for time overruns as well as cost overruns.

4.      Plan by stages

Breaking a project into smaller milestones (stages) enables a more focused approach to time management, with start and end dates scheduled to endure that the project stays on track for its expected completion date.

5.      Continuous review

By continuously reviewing progress through each stage and the project lifecycle, adjustments can be made more easily to keep the project within its time parameters. Fast feedback equals fast adaptation, and enhances the ability to plan forward so that where delays occur the project is not jeopardised.

6.      Task prioritisation

Prioritisation of tasks is key to keep a project on target. The Project Manager may have to adapt and evolve task priority lists according to progress and delays, while ensuring that priorities remain in line with the business and aims of the project.

7.      Being strict with time management

Project Managers are among the best at challenging themselves with time. They hold short meetings, complete tasks quickly, and schedule their day precisely.

8.      Never duplicate tasks

Effective Project Managers ensure that tasks are not duplicated, neither within teams nor across teams, and nor across project stages. They do this by a variety of means, including documentation and workflow management.

9.      Avoid multitasking

Project Managers avoid multitasking, and require their teams to focus on a single task at a time, too. Multitasking distracts concentration, and harms quality of delivery. Stopping a task to move to another, before returning to the first task each time, as the need to refocus and ‘catch up’ takes hold.

These are a few smart principles in project time management. To know more about similar concepts, read more Project Management Articles.

In summary

This finishes our series on the triple constraint and how Project Managers control it. We’ve looked at managing costs, managing scope, and now managing time. Unless the Project Manager has these elements under control, then the project is likely to suffer from triple constraint. Should this happen, the project is highly unlikely to be successful and achieve its aims and goals.

To discover how focused project management using PRINCE2 methodology can help your project be successful, contact Your Project Manager:

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