Managing Your Time as a Project Manager
As with any profession, the most successful people are those who are able to use and manage their time well. For project managers, it means that they are able to set the most effective timelines not just for the project, but also for themselves on a daily basis.
Here are some ways you can manage your time as a project manager most effectively.
Plan ahead. Projects always start with a plan, so why not apply this in your daily work hours? Identify the tasks you will need to do everyday and list them down. Of course, you should also set milestones so you have big goals to work towards, and not get lost in the tasks you’ve set everyday. Doing these will help you put more clarity in your job.
Consider the Pareto Principle. The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, applies very well to project managers. It is the concept that 20% of the work results in 80% productivity. A common example used to illustrate this is that 20% of a business’ customers make up 80% of the whole company’s sales revenues.
As a project manager, this is the reminder for you to concentrate more on the most important 20% of your time that will get you 80% of your results. It may be progress tracking, meeting with clients, performance management — anything. Name the activities that are most beneficial to your work, and focus on those.
Make meetings more valuable. Holding team meetings to simply get a status update from each person in the room is of little value and may even be a time-waster. While progress updates are still important, team meetings should also be spent by identifying what are issues being faced, such as unexpected changes in project scope, the potential risk, such as delay in delivery), and work together to address all these. Everyone should brainstorm solutions and create ideas.
It’s also important to have an agenda before a meeting that everyone will stick to to prevent unnecessary discussions. Set time limits, and don’t let meetings go overrun with lengthy discussions that do not involve everyone in attendance. You could act as the facilitator, or assign someone to be one to keep everyone on track in terms of agenda and time during the meeting.
Avoid being a micromanager. Micromanaging results in waste of time and the team feeling that they are not trusted enough. For example, in software development projects, project managers need not to get down at the code level because the developers on the team should be able to handle this on their own. Trust that the right people have been selected for the job, and let them do what they do best.
Concentrate on ensuring that the project is on track, and lead the project to success by being an overseer.
Time management is one of the most important skills every project manager should master.After all, if you can’t even manage your own time, how would you be able to manage your project schedule and team milestones? Plan your schedule, manage your resources, facilitate your team through effective communication, and project success will definitely follow.