Time management isa key factor in project management, often with projects success criteria beingmeasured on time and budget. It is the ability to plan and organise the timespent on activities for a project ensuring it stays on track and doesn’t fallbehind. The result of good time management is increased effectiveness andproductivity. It involves skills such as planning, setting goals andprioritising. Our project didn’t have a budget; however, we did have a deadline,with meeting it being one of our success criteria.
At the beginning of the project I set apersonal goal in the form of a ACE: avoid, consider, ensure. I decided to linkmine to my personal time management aiming to avoid being late, by consideringleaving earlier, ensuring I’m always on time. This was a key area of focus forme as previously I have been prone to being late. I applied this effort toevery project meeting, wanting to be on time for my team.
I used differentapproaches to manage my time effectively such as planning, prioritising anddelegating ensuring I could stick to my ACE.Firstly, Planning. Shenhar defines planning as “what comesbefore action”. This applies to many aspects of my project as we used manyplanning tools such as a work breakdown structure before beginning our projectto ensure we completed every deliverable and understood an order in which theyneeded to be complete. Effective planning often leads to success. Anotherplanning tool we used was creating an ongoing Gantt Chart. The Gantt chart wasa really useful approach to planning the project as it broke up each section intothe four project life cycles. Following our project proposal, pitching to APM,it became clear that we were basing our project on the ‘Importance of projectlife cycle’, but not actually incorporating that into our project, as Russel said,”not following our own advice”.
Therefore, with the Gantt chart, we used the fourstages of PLC (initiation, planning, execution and closure) and arranged each deliverableinto the right stage allocating realistic time of completion. This allowed meto plan out the whole project while working logically from task to task andstaying focused on my deadline to succeed. However, Bart argues that too muchplanning can limit creativity. This I would argue could be true depending onthe planning tools used and how rigid they are. I believe the Gantt chart is agreat planning tool as it is ongoing and you can follow it but if an aspectdidn’t perform as expected, I can make changes and devise a new plan.
Secondly, it was important to prioritise my timeeffectively. “Prioritising allows you to identify the most important tasks atany moment and give those tasks more attention, energy and time. It ensures alldeadlines are met and aims to minimise stress”. We were only given one deadlineto submit all our work to, but it was important to set many deadlines for tasksto be complete as often one task couldn’t happen without another one beingcomplete; such as a critical path analysis (CPA) which couldn’t be completewithout a work breakdown structure (WBS). Once the WBS was complete I created acritical path analysis.
This methodis a “step by step technique to define critical and non-critical tasks with theaim of finishing all tasks within a time frame as not all tasks are of equalimportance”. Initially, I foundthis tool difficult to understand and create, making it challenging to incorporateit within the project, but once I practised and got to grips with it, I quicklyunderstood that it was effective in indicating what I needed to focus more ofmy time on.Lastly, it was essential that we delegated tasks andresponsibilities between members of the group.
It is important that as a groupwe all contributed equally not only as we are being graded as a team, butbecause it is crucial for my learning and personal development that Ichallenged myself and took part in tasks that I’ve never done before such as, arisk assessment. It was also important that we all had individual work tocomplete for the project to protect us again social loafing, Ringlemann’stheory that refers to the concept that “people exert less effort on a grouptask compared to working alone creating a tendency for some members tocontribute less”, potentially causing conflict and unfair workloads. As a groupwe wanted to prevent this, so I ensured I did my fair share of the work,promoting group cohesion. With having individual tasks delegated, I understoodthe importance of each deadline and was able to work within the timeframe I hadset myself. In future projects, I will ensure to always delegate work fairlyand ensure deadlines are set, as I like having a time frame to work in.