Effective time allocation does not necessarily mean putting more time in, it is about making the best use of the time which has already been given to something and can often be the difference between success and failure in a project.
Putting time management skills to use has effects across every aspect of a project, including:
- Resource usage estimation
- Planning deliverables and meeting deadlines
- Task ordering and choosing critical path
- Coordinating with contractors
- Creating an accurate project schedule
- Predicting appropriate time allocation for tasks and team members
Of course, it’s one thing to talk about the importance of great time management skills and another thing to actually have or develop them. Fortunately for modern project managers there is now much greater potential for collating and reviewing the effectiveness of time usage across their projects and less reliance on gut feelings.
If you want to start improving your own time allocation ability, here are some good places to start.
Use a methodology that works
To get time allocation right it is vital to have a plan for how it will be measured and how tasks will be delegated. There are a variety of common techniques used, ranging from the relatively simple Pomodoro method (i.e. doing everything in chunks of 25 minutes, followed by a five minute break) to Laura Vanderkam’s “168” hours, a more theoretical approach which focuses on the ideal that we actually have all the time we need to do everything we really want.
Breaking down your team’s tasks and schedules into a system can also be as simple as them simply self-reporting, but the important thing for a project manager is to be able to assess and analyse the time allocation to discover what works, what doesn’t and where progressive changes can be made.
Once you have decided on how time allocation will be assessed, it is important to stick to it and to remain consistent throughout the project. It is unlikely that any particular system will be devastatingly inefficient but what will definitely damage chances of success and increase confusion is trying to change to something different every week.
Build flexibility into the system
Flexibility is one of the time management skills but one that gets talked less about. Unless you are working solely with machines, then it is vital to remember that humans cannot simply be flicked from one task or mode to another. These cognitive shifts take time, which should be planned for.
Review your accuracy and learn from mistakes
As mentioned, one of the great benefits of modern project management software is the fact that basically all data that is created from your project, including time allocation, can be gathered together in one point and analyzed. This allows project managers to get real insights into what is happening on their project and how effective their time management skills are.
As one of the world leaders in providing project management software that builds consistent success, Clarizen can be relied upon to enhance time management applications, wherever they are being applied. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help take your time management skills to the next level.