01:09Achieving Excellent Project Time Management
Considering life, time is a unit of measurement since all events occur within its intervals. In fact, no two recurrent activities in history can be absolutely described without due reference to it. For instance, when intercontinental events such as the Olympics, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) world cup and Wimbledon are occur repeatedly in the same location, they are mainly referenced based on their years or dates of occurrence. Again, time is generally an independent resource which we spend and can never retrieve –we can only attempt to compensate for it presently or in future. Therefore, in achieving project objectives and producing deliverables, time is a critical constraint to which all human resource must be sensitive.
When customers, sponsors and other stakeholders outside an active project team appraise the team or their projects highly, they often adjudge them based on the team’s ability to maximally influence the main constraints of time, cost, scope and quality. This suggests that a team’s collective ability to produce the totality of expected deliverables in a satisfactory manner at a friendly budget within the appropriate schedule is what qualifies them as an ace project team; not the presence of a few highly-skilled or vastly-experienced individuals. While it is true that the presence of an effective project manager makes a team prone to being more successful, most successful teams are actually constituted by members who each understand the overall effect of working in proximity to planned schedule. If a team of fourteen members contain seven persons that are variously certified by PMI as CAPM®, PMP® and PMI-RMP® credential holders and these individuals apply and transfer the knowledge obtained from the consulted editions of the Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) across the entire team, the likelihood of the team’s overall success will escalate as the factor of time will be handled more efficiently.
Dynamic project managers and team leads adequately imbibe the schedule management tools and techniques recognized in the PMBOK® Guide and consciously influence their subordinates to do likewise. Great team members are persons who always desire to keep the disparity between planned project time and the actual work durations minimal. They demonstrate a working knowledge of the flow of work. They understand how the duration of each preceding activity affects its successor and can proactively predict their resulting effects on the overall project length. However, this does not overrule the ultimate responsibility incumbent on project managers to verify the appropriate completion of work packages. Rather, it fosters the probability of keeping the time expended in actualizing the deliverables at relative parity with the pre-planned durations and schedule baseline.
Diverse tools are available to hasten and enhance the project manager’s scheduling job. From the use of scheduling software to the application of the various techniques supplied in the PMBOK® Guide, the project manager is equipped to develop & control a schedule baseline. While applying their preferred time management tools, the project management team must also extrapolate the effects of unforeseeable factors and anticipate the potential need to create workarounds in the project’s future. The strike actions of the national labor union or a body of professionals who belong to a regulated industry from which project inputs will be sourced may have a strong negative influence on the project duration. Hence, in planning the project schedule, the project management team needs to be efficiently optimistic, pessimistic and moderate. If applicable, a default lost time injury frequency rate (or assumed man-hours that may be lost due to any work-related injury or illness experienced by a project human resource) should be set and factored into the schedule. Seasoned project managers and schedule management professionals know that the pragmatic side of time management is different from paper work and varies with the overall efficiency of all teams members. So, they always keep track of the time management ability of each individual and grouped human resource based on work packages. This explains why some project managers persist in building time consciousness in their human resource during the “develop project team” process.
Taking further efforts to ensure that each team member understands the importance of their work packages and receives a clear outline of all work activities is another useful approach. The responsibility of obtaining news and continually researching information that impact project activities may even be delegated to a singular resource. Sometimes, having a resource that regularly interfaces with journalists, security personnel or even the organization’s media and communications department may help the project team to keep abreast of all the external activities that are pertinent to their project. This will help reinforce the coordinative efforts of the project management office and bridge the effects of communication gaps between the central office and its project units. In the end, if the project team is entirely time-conscious and truly open to new ideas, the likelihood to perform well in project schedule management augments accordingly.
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