Project Time Management issues
What are Project Time management issues?
Time management is an essential skill for a Project Manager. Without it, project performance is likely to be poor: missed targets, cost overruns, and ineffective use of resources.
Some issues likely to impact on effective time management include those discussed below.
- Not having a carefully prepared project plan: Project plans, among other things, specify project milestones, which serve as time targets to aim for.
- Poor estimation of project activities when preparing the schedule: Time estimates need to be as sound as possible. Sometimes under-estimates are the result of a Project Manager wanting to please a client.
- Not having all the systems in place from the start that are needed for the project: Monitoring systems, among other functions, provide data to check that a project is being delivered efficiently.
- Not taking full advantage of the time savings, and resource flexibilities, available in the project schedule: Lead times might enable a task to be started earlier, with flow-on benefits for project completion. Taking full advantage of float to schedule non-critical activities at a time to best use resources is a sensible tactic time-efficient tactic.
- Not having the right people in time-critical roles: Some project tasks require highly specialised or experienced personnel. Not appointing the right people from the start in critical roles may see activities potentially taking longer than planned as personnel seek advice, or make mistakes that have to be rectified.
- Not identifying the critical path early or monitoring it: The critical path for a project can change with other project changes (e.g. change of scope, unidentified risks emerging, unforeseen task dependencies and so on).
- Wasting time at project team meetings: ‘Talkfests’ simply waste time. Meetings should have a tight agenda and focused on proactive issues such as problem solving, risk identification, meaningful analyses and relevant progress reports. If an issue does not involved everyone in the room, it is better to have it separately examined by a relevant working group, with results reported back to the project team meeting.
- Micromanaging team members and project issues: When a project team is competent, and has been selected carefully, they are best left to do their job. Time spent by a Project Manager in double-checking what competent people are paid to do is time lost in dealing with more critical project issues. According to the 80/20 rule (or Pareto Principle), the Project Manager should focus on the 20% of the project that will, like most projects, typically return 80% of the benefits.
To listen to some additional tips for effective time management on projects, view: