Time Management for Projects


Time management is the third knowledge area in the order mentioned in Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) guide for project management. This knowledge area covers two processes — Planning & Monitoring and Control. It is one of the most important aspects of project management which is directly proportional with smart working and successful project delivery.

What exactly is time management ?
Time management is the process to organize and plan your time between specific activities. Good time management helps you to work smarter – not harder – so that you get more things done in less time, even when time is tight and work pressure is high. Failing to manage your time damages your effectiveness and causes stress.

Do we really take time management seriously in our life(both professionally and personally)?
Maybe not. If yes, then there would not have been cases when we have to slog day and night (12-14 hrs) in office to deliver our projects. Does this really increase our productivity or make us dull? Think again!!!

To manage our time properly we first need to be a disciplined mind. Know your tasks and priorities and plan properly. This will in turn make you a smart worker and at the same time 100% productive.

Now lets dig into some basics —-
In project management terms, proper time management includes the following steps which are self-explanatory:
– Define activities
– Sequence/Prioritize activities
– Estimate activity resources
– Estimate activity duration
– Develop schedule
– Control schedule

The first five steps fall under planning phase and the last one comes under Monitoring and Control. These steps explain that if you define your activities properly, prioritize them, estimate and have a plan which you can control /track till completion you will master in time management.
Proper planning and prioritization give a control over your schedule and it becomes the pivot to smart work. You will be left with enough time to take interest in other areas and more responsibilities. This helps us to succeed professionally. In the personal front this mantra is no different.

Lets map the above steps in laymen terms to our real life activities.
1. Define activities = Be clear on your tasks
2. Sequence activities = Prioritize your tasks
3. Estimate activity resources/Estimate activity duration = Estimate
4. Develop schedule = Prepare your plan
5. Control schedule = Track your plan

So once you have a plan; try and stick to the plan to deliver. This gives us a good work-life balance by saving lot of our time and with 100% productivity.
People can say, in IT industry we have changing requirements everyday, so all the above setups go for a toss. But if you think deeply ,there are two aspects of requirement change — lack in requirement understanding and new changes. The first one links to steps 1-4 above. If you have done these 4 steps properly you will not face this scenario. And the second aspect is again handled through all the five steps above.

What are the benefits of proper time management ?
• More productivity
• Smart working
• Better professional achievements/opportunities
• Less stress

What are the drawbacks of poor time management ?
• Missed deadlines
• Less productivity
• Low work quality
• A poor professional reputation and a stagnant career.
• More stress levels

So its up to us now, how we want to be tagged. Lets re-think and try to make few amendments in the way we work as discussed above, which will definitely change us into a more productive and smart worker.


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