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Time Management in Project Management

Time – probably the most precious resource we have. Neither capital or land (to speak in terms of production factors) nor goods are more valuable, because time is very limited and it is therefore important not to waste it. To not waste your time reading an article that does not provide you with new knowledge, here a brief overview of the content:

  • Definition and meaning in project management
  • Importance in project management
  • How to improve your time management
  • How CAMPR can help

What is Time Management?

The Cambridge Business English Dictionary defines time management as “the practice of using your time effectively”. It comes to no surprise and does not require further explanation, so I will jump straight to the meaning of time management in project management. 

In the PMBOK, the term “Project Time Management” has recently been changed to “Project Schedule Management” to reflect that it is actually the schedules that are defined and managed, not the time. (PMBOK: 643) Schedule Management deals with the management of the “timely completion of the project” (173) and includes the following processes:

Plan Schedule Management: the process ofestablishing the policies, procedures and documentation for the project schedule during all phases of the project

Define Activities: process of identifying and documenting the specific actions to be performed to produce the project deliverables

Sequence Activities: process of identifying and documenting relationships among project objectives

Estimate Activity Durations: process of estimating the number of work periods needed to complete individual activities with the estimated resources

Develop Schedule: process of analyzing activity sequences, durations, resource requirements and schedule constraints to create the project schedule model for project execution, monitorin and controlling

Controll schedule: process of monitoring the srarus of the project to update the project schedule and manage changes to the schedule baseline

(PMBOK: 173)

I will not continue to describe the guidelines for schedule management here, but rather focus on them in another article later.

How important is it and why?

The answer to this is quite simple. We all had this “this-is-time-I-will-never-get-back”-moment. So firstly, you are not using your personal, valuable time as efficient as you can and secondly, time is money.

It is also one of the core responsibilities of the project manager to keep the schedule. A project has a fixed finish date and the project manager has to make sure that the deliverables are in fact delivered until the agreed upon date. He has to not only manage his own time well, but also the teams time in order to meet the schedule. Not meeting the schedule will ultimately cause financial damage for example through contractual penalties, delayed production starts or image loss.

How can you improve my time management?

Here are a few tipps that work for us and many colleagues and friends:

  • Clear structure: sit down before you start working and make checklists. Planning and structuring your work will make it easier to focus on the essential tasks throughout the day and will not leave you permanently thinking about the next steps. Checking your E-Mails at specific times during your workday (for example beginning and end) might also improve structuring your day.
  • Minimize distractions: a small distraction shifts your thinking and focus. A study from the University of California Irvine suggests that it takes an average of about 23 minutes to regain focus on your original task.
  • Learn from your schedules: by “analyzing” your schedules without lying to yourself, you will improve your estimation skills and create more accurate schedules. You can find a lot of software supporting you.
  • Meeting participation: not every meeting makes sense for every person. If you feel you have nothing to add to a meeting and/or the content of the meeting is either not relevant to you and the meeting minute does the job, speak to the organizer of the meeting and re-evaluate your participation.
  • Do not micromanage others: your colleagues are usually very capable of managing their own time and getting their tasks done. Especially as a project manager, you have to be able to focus on your work and stop micromanaging others.

There are of course more things you can do to improve your time management, but many of those are of individual nature. If you really want to improve your time management, think about your workday, your general schedule, your diet, your sleep or other areas of your life and see for yourself where the room for improvement might be.

How can CAMPR help?

CAMPR helps you planning and monitoring your project schedule more efficiently. We offer many modules to view and edit your project’s time structure:

  • Phases&Milestones
  • Gantt-Chart
  • WBS

Those modules make it very easy to create and maintain the project schedule. Furthermore, you can create work packages and delegate responsibilities to other project participants with the modules Task Management and RASCI-Matrix.

CAMPR also offers the possibility to standardize your processes and saves you time. You can send out a Status Report to a predefined distribution list with only one click. This allows you to focus on other tasks and not waste time on regularly occuring tasks. The Meeting-Module allows you to have a more efficient documentation of decisions, information and meeting contents.

Overall: If you set up your project right and spend a little time every day to update the status of your work packages and share relevant information with your fellow project participants, you will see a big improvement of productivity and time management. Give it a try!

CAMPR beta

You can of course start your own project and invite your coworkers or friends to join you, but you can also check out one of our preset projects that represent three different project sizes: the company anniversary, a small scale project only lasting about two weeks, the machine relocation, the medium sized project involving more project members and a wider variety of functions as well as the “welcome to CAMPR”-project, illustrating the use of a PMI structure in your project. 

Leave us some feedback on anything you dislike or that does not work the way it is supposed to be. Simply share it in our feedback section. We are also open to your suggestions on new features or even new modules that would fit into your project management realm!

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  • Mark, Gloria; Gudith, Daniela; Klocke, Ulrich: The Cost of Interrupted Work: More Speed and Stress
  • PMI (2017): PMBOK Guide, sixth edition, Atlanta