Project time management refers to the component of overall project management in which a timeline is analyzed for the completion of a project on time.
Time is a terrible resource to waste. It is the most valuable resource in any project. Every delivery that you are supposed to make is time-bound. Hence, without proper time management, a project can head towards disaster. When it comes to project time management, it is not just the time of only the project manager, but it is the time management of the project team. Scheduling is a simpler way of managing project time. In this, the activities of the project are estimated and the durations are determined based on how much resources are used for each activity.
What is time management?
In general, time management is how we use the time we have to reach our goals or finish the tasks we’ve been assigned to efficiently.
Here’s a concise and straight to the point explanation of time management:
“Time management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity.”
Why is time management important in project management?
A project, by definition, officially has an end date. To meet this end date, every project needs a schedule and every project manager needs to manage their own time and the team’s time to ensure that the schedule is met. But sometimes the answer is that weeks and months go by and your ‘project’ never gets finished.
Likely it is faced with constant delays, and you may run into the following issues:
- You felt too busy to work on it, so pushed it to the back of your to-do list
- You didn’t order the new tiles in time and had to wait around for them to come in.
- You weren’t able to find a plumber and couldn’t install the sink or toilet after they were delivered.
- You found out too late that inspections need to be booked months in advance.
- And so on.
That’s why time management is so critical. Without it, projects won’t get done on time, and may not get done at all.
Project time management consists of 6 components
- Activity Definition — Identifying and scheduling different components of the project management sequence that are required for the completion of project deliverables.
- Activity Sequencing– The process of project time management that defines the order in which deliverables must be completed.
- Activity Resource Estimating– Identifying and defining the types and quantities of resources and materials required to complete a deliverable.
- Activity Duration Estimating — Identifying and estimating the timeline for completion of durables.
- Schedule Development- the analysis of the order of activities, timelines, resources, and schedule barriers to developing a project schedule.
- Schedule Control — Project management intervention to mitigate changes to the production schedule.
Project Time Management Strategies for Project Managers
1. Know-How You Spend Your Time
Keep a log of time so you can find how you are using your time. Time is the most valuable asset. If you’re overlooking your routine, it can lead to a loss in productivity. Record what you are doing for 15-minute intervals for some time. When you are mindful of what task is taking your time and what you are spending your time one, you can better manage it.
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” ~Annie Dillard
Find your most time-consuming tasks and see if you are investing your time in the most important activities. When everyone has the same number of hours in the day, why do some seem to get so much more done? Because they have a good sense of where they spend their time on routine tasks and estimate how much time is available for the rest of the activities.
2. Set Priorities
Setting priorities to manage your time effectively requires a difference between what is important and what is urgent. When the goals are set and you’ve determined the individual tasks that you need to do, it’s time to prioritize. Prioritizing is a way to get things done if it is done in the right way.
For example, look at your daily tasks and prioritize according to:
- Important and urgent: Do these tasks right away.
- Important but not urgent: Decide when to do the tasks.
- Urgent but not important: Delegate the tasks if possible.
- Not urgent and not important: Set these other tasks aside to do later.
Focusing on your tasks according to the above format you can have greater control over your time and time management will always be by your side. Also, one of the easiest ways to prioritize is to make a “to-do” list on a project management tool like Asana. When you’re making the list, be careful it doesn’t get out of control. Rank the items in order of priority to have a sense of accomplishment as you move down the list.
3. Organize Your Task List
Task List is a combination of all the project responsibilities for teams and the project manager. A powerful thing that we can do to better manage time is to organize it. Sure, organizing your task list is a great thing and there are several different ways you can do it.
- Organize Tasks By Due Date
This is one important thing that managers and employees choose to do when organizing tasks over task management software. Some due dates need to be hit and it should be done for time management. When you’ve got a due date, you’ll be motivated to accomplish the task.
- Organize Tasks by Progress (with Kanban)
Every task includes sub-tasks that help you move through your goals smoothly. Having to manage these tasks and sub-tasks on Kanban is a great method to manage your time as you organize your work by progress. Simply make a to-do list on the Kanban board.
The project time management process is dynamic and may require input from several different teams each with individual project time management processes to integrate the various interdependent parts of the project to achieve the project deliverable(s). The output from this integrated team effort is called the schedule management plan and is a subset of the overall project management plan.
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