How to Beat Procrastination
Project time management includes defining the activities necessary to produce the project scope, sequencing the activities, estimating activity duration, developing the project schedule, and keeping the project on schedule. Schedule preparation requires the WBS and scope statements as inputs. The schedule-development process identifies the activity resource requirements and other potential project constraints. The PMBOK Guide notes that activity duration estimates should specify uncertainty and refers the reader to discussions on project-risk management to handle this uncertainty. The guide also discusses the need to level resources in the plan. It does not differentiate between common-cause variation and special-cause variation (see 2.5.2). The PMBOK Guide addresses cost management as a separate topic from time management, but the processes are identical. The schedule-and-cost-control process includes updating the project schedule and budget estimate, planning and executing...
There are two basic forms that project managers and project engineers can use for practicing better time management. The first form is the to do pad as shown in Figure 6-1. The project manager or secretary prepares the list of things to do. The project manager then decides which activities he must perform himself and assigns the appropriate priorities.
For most people, time is a resource that, when lost or misplaced, is gone forever. For a project manager, however, time is more of a constraint, and effective time management principles must be employed to make it a resource. Figure 6-1. Time management. Figure 6-1. Time management. Figure 6-2. Effective time management Figure 6-2. Effective time management Figure 6-3. Effective time management Figure 6-3. Effective time management Inexperienced project managers often work large amounts of overtime, with the faulty notion that this is the only way to get the job done. While this may be true, experienced personnel soon learn to delegate tasks and to employ effective time management principles. The major problem with time management is getting people to realize that there exists a time management problem and that solutions are possible. The following questions should make the reader realize that each of us has room for improvement.
Project Time Management includes the processes required to accomplish timely completion of the project. Table 6-1 provides an overview of the Project Time Management processes, which are as follows Although not shown here as a discrete process, the work involved in performing the six processes of Project Time Management is preceded by a planning effort by the project management team. This planning effort is part of the Develop Project Management Plan process (Section 4.2), which produces a schedule management plan that selects a scheduling methodology, a scheduling tool, and sets the format and establishes criteria for developing and controlling the project schedule. The project time management processes, and their associated tools and techniques are documented in the schedule management plan. The schedule management plan is contained in, Developing the project schedule uses the outputs from the processes to define activities, sequence activities, estimate activity resources, and to...
Activity Sequencing is a time management planning process used to determine how the work of project will progress. In other words, it is the sequence of the tasks of the project. In Activity Sequencing you take the activity list created by the work breakdown structure, then use tools an techniques to decide on the progression of the work, which results in the creation of a network diagram.
Time management is a series of work processes used to optimize all the work resources under the constraints of time in order to achieve the targets of the project such as the target delivery time, realization of the income and expenditure balance, etc. What is important in time management is to devise an efficient plan of work procedures measuring time against the products or services included in the project, control of the progress according to the plan, and to foresee and mange the factors that bring about changes to the plan. By implementing time management, the time baseline, variations and actual progress are clearly shown. The process of time management is maintained by enumerating the defined scope and keeping close relations with other management areas. It has a direct correlation, in particular, with cost management, and is an important task in project management.
The logical basis for time management is as follows. To manage your time, plan your time and then follow the plan. Figuring out what you could do to produce better plans is the easy part. Actually doing it is far more difficult. The world is full of resolutions that are never fulfilled, like sticking with a diet or quitting smoking. To practice time management, the first step is to understand how you now spend time. This calls for several steps
The time management process is the method by which time spent by staff undertaking project tasks is recorded against the project. Recording the actual time spent by staff on a project has various purposes. It is used to Time management is undertaken through the completion and approval of timesheets. A timesheet is a document which records an allocation of time against a set of project activities listed on the project plan. Timesheets are typically completed weekly, by all members of the project. This includes project staff, contractors and often suppliers. If Although the time management process is usually initiated after the project plan has been formally documented and the project is under way (in other words, during the execution phase of the project), timesheets may be completed at any phase of the project if requested by the project manager. For instance, it may be necessary to record timesheets throughout the entire project to ensure that the full costs of the project are...
In March April 1981, a survey was conducted of more than 300 project managers in twenty-four different industries to identify the problems that exist in trying to obtain effective project time management.4 The survey was conducted with written questionnaires and personal interviews. Fifteen areas were investigated
This section covers Project Time Management, one of the knowledge areas found in PMI's Guie the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). The backbone of project management ability to plan, schedule, and control. This chapter sets the foundation for creating a workable schedule. It starts with creating a work breakdown structure and takes you through each level ol decomposition and analysis until you are able to create a baseline schedule. In this chapter, you'll be faced with new challenges in regard to your fictional company, Terrific F Management Partners (TPMP). You'll learn and practice Project Time Management techniques, as building a work breakdown structure and sequencing activities. Since the processes of time management build on each other, you'll notice we use the same scenario throughout this chaptf ask you to build on each step of the planning process.
Time management is the process of recording and controlling time spent by staff on the project. As time is a scarce resource within projects, each team member should record time spent undertaking project activities on a timesheet form. This will enable the project manager to control the amount of time spent undertaking each activity within the project. A timesheet register is also completed, providing a summary of the time spent on the project in total so that the project plan can always be kept fully up to date.
Throughout this chapter, you will see that Terrific Project Management Partners has a new chall this time at the Pinnacle Candy Company. As in Chapter 2, Time Management, we have used scenario throughout the chapter. This set-up allows you to build the costs for the project step by
While most people will acknowledge the facts above, many argue, It's just not realistic to do otherwise. We have to satisfy multiple needs. They agree with logic that demonstrates that multitasking is a very poor (perhaps the worst) way to meet multiple needs (Figure 3.12). They acknowledge that it deliberately lowers their personal throughput contribution. (Moreover, this still doesn't account for the fact that leaving and returning to tasks usually impacts the total time necessary to complete the task and often the quality of the product.) Nevertheless, many people find it extremely difficult to change this behavior. Purveyors of time-management tools work to resolve this conflict at the personal level.
This simple phrase can be your guide through many difficult times in a project management career. The Time Management Knowledge Area should be applied with the support of a project scheduling tool. Of course, it can be done with 3x5 cards to gather information and then organized in a spreadsheet. However, the spreadsheet will only communicate the proposed plan. Once the project starts and the dynamics of a project ensue dates slip, unplanned scope is added, resources are suddenly unavailable managing from the spreadsheet will probably become quite frustrating. The plan will no longer be a tool to provide project tracking and oversight. At that point, you will have lost control of your project.
In keeping with the principle that project baselines are definite commitments for the project, the project budget and schedules should be ones that the project is truly expected to meet. That is, the budget is the budget that is really expected to be spent when the project is complete, and the schedule should allow for sufficient time to do the project. This budget and schedule must include the time for managing and overcoming risks. In Chapter 2, Time Management, we looked at dealing with schedule contingency. Here I discuss planning for budget contingency.
The importance of balance in a project steering group and of a focused, authoritative project sponsor was demonstrated during the implementation of a new computer system for use by Britain's general practitioners (gps), when some lax commercial and time management practices were
L PMBOK was produced by PMI (Project Management Institute) in l987. Individual Knowledge Area consists of Time Management, Cost Management, Quality Management, Purchasing Management, Scope Management, Organization Management, Risk Management and Communication Management.
The task force felt the need for more specific data on exactly the size and complexity of the problem they faced and so they asked each of the project managers to complete the scope management, HR management, time management, and cost management portions of the maturity survey for their projects. These were the more significant findings from their interviews of the project managers. Recognizing that there can be some bias in the project managers' opinions, the task force wanted to separate the process problems from the practice problems. The survey would give them the PD and PP data they needed. Figure 7.3 is the result.
The most common cause of emotional exhaustion is report writing and the preparation of handouts for interchange meetings. Sometimes the project manager finds himself performing these functions for line personnel, but more often than not, line employees procrastinate and force this function on project managers. Since data preparation is a continuous project function, one might expect this effect to occur frequently.
Critical chain theory borrows heavily on integration concepts as it links scope and time management to risk management. The critical chain approach to project planning emphasizes developing a WBS and project network and focuses on identification of dependencies. Dependencies require coordination and integration. From systems theory, we recall that systems will go naturally into disorder, e.g., that the forces of system dynamics tend to push outward, away from the center. Integration, then, acts in contrast to the normal centrifugal forces in a project and its environment. Critical chain focuses on the use of buffers, or allotments of time that are tapped upfront by project managers and doled out as necessary to offset risk events and unanticipated problems. Because most networks are highly complex, a statistical analysis of all the inherent risks in starting tasks on time is usually impossible. Chains of tasks typically include a myriad of risks, many of which are the result of...
Project time management is a key factor on any project. The projects described in the case were especially sensitive to any delay or any disapproval of permits. In section 6, Project Time Management, the PMBOK Guide identifies five major activities to be carried out to ensure a prompt completion of the project. One of these factors is schedule development. Define the concept of schedule development and how it was carried out in this project. 3. Another important activity in project time management is schedule control. Document the description of this activity and how it was undertaken in this project.
Project management is a generic management system laid on a technical or product development process. If that development process is not defined in terms of the technology and language of the product or service, good project management practices will be wasted. This is both the strength and weakness of project management systems. Such systems focus on quality, resources, and time management, but sometimes these systems cannot alone carry a new product development project with a complex technical process. Projects must have strong subject matter experts doing the technical work. For instance, good, scrubbed project schedules are important, but they must be built around generic work breakdown structures tailored to the product or service being developed. A work breakdown structure for electronic instrument development is quite different from a work breakdown structure for a new telecommunications product. But the project manager is the facilitator of the process, pressing for a useful...
Manager and client are often the same person and the interest is only in laying out a strategy for doing the work. Often the project following this cycle will have to be planned in conjunction with one or more other projects. The intent is to set a time line for completing the project in conjunction with others underway. This cycle is closely related to good time-management practices. If you keep a to-do list, you will find your habits are quite comparable to this three-part cycle.
The method for physical progress measurement is detailed in the case. This method allows for all segments of the project to be aggregated for an overall project measurement of project completion. How does this method differ from the PMBOK Guide Chapter 6, Project Time Management, methods, and why do these differences exist
Use of Total and Free Float Have you been taught that we use CPM scheduling so that we can obtain a measure of float And that we use these float values to help us make decisions on priorities, and to analyze project schedule risk Get ready to learn all over again. When we use resource leveling, we can forget about using the resultant float values as a time management tool. I explain why, in Chapter 4.4.
Once scheduled this way, people tend to exhibit what Eliyahu Goldratt called the student syndrome, where they procrastinate on their planned activities in order to finish up the ones they were already committed to, on this or another project, because they had nearer-term
Project task assignment and management, technical solution deliberation and discussion, task performance review and handoff, and time management. In addition, this may also include acknowledging external vendor and contractor participation in project activities and providing them with appropriate access to selected areas of the knowledge management system. Furthermore, project management communication and collaboration can be extended to senior management by implementing an executive dashboard tool that provides real-time, business-critical information at a glance.
Procrastination Most people put off starting a task until the last possible minute. The trouble with bloated, hidden time is that people may wait through the additional time they've secretly factored into the activity. Unfortunately, if something does go awry in completing the activity, the work result is later than predicted.
Time management skills are closely related to organizational skills. It's difficult to stay organized without an understanding of how you're managing your time. I recommend you attend a time management class if you've never been to one. They have some great tips and techniques to help you prioritize problems and interruptions, prioritize your day, and manage your time.
The team needs clear direction from upper management to ensure that the deliverables will be met. This will save time, reduce costs, and make sure the schedule milestones are being met. The project manager needs to keep an open-door policy for team members to talk about the project. Time management is critical for team members, especially the project manager. Document time logs or use dashboards for reporting time against the project. Prioritize workload that correlates to the project scope. To make improvements in this area, record how much time is spent on the phone or email. Schedule time with team members instead of conducting impromptu meetings. If there are continual misunderstandings from team members, pay attention to how the emails are written or how verbal requests are given. Provide clear instructions of expectations and require more written documentation. If someone is not performing an adequate job, hand that task off to other team members. There could be organizational...
Warning Use of Total and Free Float Disallowed We use total float as an indicator of the time that a task may slip without delaying the shortest completion of the project. We use free float as an indicator of the time that a task may slip without affecting the start of any other task in the project. When we use resource leveling, we can forget about using the resultant float values as a time management tool.
We are able to start the task as scheduled. But, because there are 10 days allocated, and we know that we need only 5 days, we wait a week to start the task. Now, of course, the contingency has been exhausted before the task has been started, and the potential for a schedule overrun has been increased. But, even if there are no problems, the 5-day task has taken 10 days.
Thecost baseline is the budget of the project. A budget is the timephased cost of all the work in the project schedule. The cost baseline does not include the contingency budget or the management reserve. The most baselioe is also called the performance baseline. Cost and schedule baselines will be discussed io the sections on cost and time management.
In order to achieve the set schedule plan, the people who are responsible for each task in the project must have consciousness of observing the schedule. Initial instruction and communication of the schedule is not enough. In addition, it is vital to ensure that the importance of meeting the schedule is continuously reinforced with all those contributing to its performance and that detailed task plans are regularly updated. Regarding this point, efforts on communication and the improvement in team building are required not only in time management but also in all aspects.
In implementing time management, while it is a basic requirement to have overall knowledge and experiences concerning the project performance, knowledge as shown below is also required background knowledge. 1) Overall knowledge concerning project management technologies such as Scope Management (see P.149), Time Management and others.
To take an extreme example, batch prioritization might require one meeting for 100 projects, as opposed to 100 ad hoc meetings if each project were considered individually. Therefore, it is key not just to have more ideas but to group those ideas together to ensure meaningful prioritization that is efficient from a time-management perspective. The grouping together of ideas is also helpful because it provides the opportunity to group similar proposals together into larger, richer proposals, and for the combination of proposals to spur new thinking and proposals. If proposals are considered in smaller sets or worse, on an ad hoc basis as each proposal comes in much of this cross-fertilization may not occur and an opportunity for further innovation is lost.
Knowing these patterns of behavior ahead of time should warn us to thoughtfully plan a strategy and the necessary counter measures before we attempt to introduce change. That plan begins at the time management decides to move ahead with the change. I contend that these obstacles can be effectively addressed if you adhere to the following principles
The first thing to note is that the PD values for time management, cost management, and HR management have been significantly improved. They are not yet at the targeted maturity levels of 3.0, but they are nearly there. The PP values have kept pace with the PD increases. Note that all process PP averages closely match the PD values except for HR management. This suggests that the implementation and integration of change has been fairly consistent with the PD changes. Senior management was satisfied with these improvements enough to commission a second improvement program under Laurie's leadership and with the support of the same task force. This time the focus would be on two separate programs. The first would be on further improvements in the PP values for scope management, time management, and cost management. The second would be on the PD and PP values for HR management.
Operations management A set of services that provides real-time management and operation of the information technology infrastructure supporting critical business operations. Typical services include hardware and software configuration, performance management, capacity planning, problem resolution, problem tracking, backup, and recovery.
Perhaps we all have unrealistic expectations of the power of technology and the human dynamics of change. No matter how rapidly business requirements shift and technologies improve, some steps in project management cannot be combined. To keep a project methodology in sync with reality, learn from those who have gone before you. Brian Hurley, founder of Musk industries succinctly defined the situation Deliver your projects as you would a newborn. Conceive decisively. Gestate, prepare and then again. Don't bash your ship on the siren of complacency. Procrastination will lure you past your due date, and no late-stage boom in the headcount of gestating mothers will hasten the outcome (p. 15).
Work management takes place at the lowest level, which includes detailed tasks and activities within tasks. At this level it's helpful but not essential that the schedule information be shared it is not critical that it be accurate and complete. For some projects, this detailed schedule information may be useful for time management, but for others, it may not be some individuals may even want to manage work at this level while others in the same project won't. Requiring consistency at the work management level across all projects is not productive, and in any event is hard to achieve.
As mentioned above, individuals come on to your team with the general expectation that they represent a good functional fit and should be able to do the required work. It's up to you, however, to ensure that the duties you give them throughout the project reasonably match their skills. If you ask team members to stretch too far beyond their abilities, they may tend to shut down and difficulties will ensue. Conversely, if you grossly underutilize their talents (as least from their perspective), performance problems may also result, such as loss of interest, procrastination, and a general lack of effort.
Figure 7.1 shows the identify phase terminating once the identification of issues is 'fit for the purpose'. It can be very difficult to decide when this point has been reached. On the first pass it should be anticipated that there will be a return to the identify phase from later phases in the RMP as insights and issues from analysis emerge. On a first pass it is appropriate to aim for a higher-level overview than is likely to be necessary in later passes, to avoid detailed analysis, which would later prove wasted. This principle should be followed on subsequent passes too, but there is always a risk that further iterations do not happen. Further, inefficiencies associated with too many iterations to get to a given level of analysis in a given area may add to the cost of analysis significantly, depending on how iterations are managed. This reinforces the case for making the identify phase as complete as possible before proceeding to the next phase. If sources, and responses, and...
Project Manager I find it virtually impossible to be dedicated to and effectively manage three projects that have priorities that are not reasonably close. My low-priority customer always suffers. And even if I try to give all of my customers equal status, I do not know how to organize myself and have effective time management on several projects.
Although there are many knowledge areas (including scope management, cost management, and resource management) that contribute to successful project management, time management is most related to development of your project schedule your roadmap for completing tasks, handing off deliverables, passing milestones, and finally achieving the goals of your project in a timely manner.
As life would have it, you may not work on only one project at a time. To help you manage your time, the Project Center in Project Web Access enables you to view tasks from more than one project at a time. In the Project Center, you can see individual projects, or you may see Project Center views, which are collections of projects. The administrator creates Project Center views and then identifies the team members who can view each Project Center view
Many smart people can recognize when there is a problem, but few are willing to expend the energy necessary to find a solution, and then summon the courage to do it. There are always easier ways give up, accept a partial solution, procrastinate until it goes away (fingers crossed), or blame others. The harder way is to take the problem head-on and resist giving in to conclusions that don't allow for satisfaction of the goals. Successful project managers simply do not give up easily. If something is important to the project, they will act aggressivelyusing any means necessaryto find an answer or solve the problem. This might mean reorganizing a dysfunctional team, getting a difficult room of people to agree on goals, finding answers to questions, or settling disagreements between people.
Of knowledge needed to understand project management. Chapters 6 through 8 deal with the support functions of time management, conflicts, and other special topics. Chapters 9 and 10 describe executive involvement and the critical success factors for predicting project success. It may seem strange that ten chapters on organizational behavior and structuring are needed prior to the hard-core chapters of planning, scheduling, and controlling. These first ten chapters are framework chapters needed to develop the cultural environment for all projects and systems. These chapters are necessary for the reader to understand the difficulties in achieving cross-functional cooperation on projects and why the people involved, all of whom may have different backgrounds, cannot simply be forged into a cohesive work-unit without any friction. Chapters 11 through 15 are the quantitative chapters on planning, scheduling, cost control, and estimating. Chapter 16 deals with trade-offs on time, cost, and...
For example, when you have a multitude of tasks that need to be performed, such as answering and reading email, meeting the project goals, attending meetings, etc., deciding on how to manage your time will determine whether you meet your goals or fail to meet them. We will discuss time management towards the end of the chapter.
Rule one - openness, everything on the table, without procrastination - is undoubtedly the most important. We had weekly change meetings in which changes on plans were decided upon. In these meetings anything relevant could be tabled and discussed. At the start of our collaboration Arjen and I had agreed, personally, everything on the table. He has lived up to that better than I did. That is his merit. During the basic engineering phase in 1992 1993 we had a weekly lunch meeting with the whole team. We had started with the basic design in September and at Christmas (1992), Arjen came with a message of doom 'I am stuck, I am completely stuck. Effluent water treatment
You need to be realistic about time estimates. Making an overly eager time estimate is a risk that could haunt you throughout the project. As the project team struggles to meet the deadlines, quality could suffer, which means work may need to be redone and more delays. We discuss time management in Chapter 8.
We have discussed methods of controlling the project costs and schedule in Chapter 2, Time Management, and Chapter 3, Cost Management. These controls cover only two of the sides of the triple constraint triangle. Quality management controls the third side of the triangle, scope, as well as provides guidance for and assurance of meeting the other two constraints of cost and schedule.
Perhaps the hardest part of the project planning process is getting started. Certainly, overcoming inertia will usually contribute to the problem. And then there's always the problem of getting some relief from your other duties. But, the major cause of difficulty and procrastination is the lack of a framework for engaging in the process and developing the plan itself.
The chart can be built by hand, put into a computer on a spreadsheet or time management program, or represented on a scheduling board with each phase placed on magnetic strips. However, remember that the chart is not just for your own use. It's most effective when you and your team are able to use it to plan and control the project.
This means going beyond the discussion of a problem and its symptoms and causes. It also requires driving toward a solution and then implementing that solution. Too many PMs behave as if the mere examination of a problem is the same as taking the actions necessary to solve the problem. Also, too many PMs develop a series of solutions but then procrastinate in the implementation because the solution involves doing some difficult things such as confronting a supervisor or approaching the customer. A problem solver is action-oriented and is not fearful of making a mistake.
Task scheduling involves time management and is often completed in conjunction with resource management. Task scheduling divides a project into several discreet activities. The resources and time that are required for each activity are evaluated and a plan is formed to complete the project efficiently within the time constraint.
What he meant was that there is a lot of security in a twenty-six-week task. When the start date comes, if the person doing the task is busy, she might say, I can always make up a day on a twenty-six-week activity. I'll get started tomorrow. This procrastination may continue until she realizes she has delayed too long. Then there is a big flurry of activity as she tries to finish on time. All the work has been pushed out to the end of the twenty-six-week time frame.
They were being driven to complete their tasks too early. Some would balk some would simply procrastinate, feeling that they were entitled to use the contingency to cover for their own problems. And of course, every time during the project that contingency was needed, the PM would have to readjust the full schedule, moving time from the end of the project back to the spot where it was needed. Another approach would be to distribute the contingency time evenly across all activities. This would have the unfortunate, but expected result that every activity would overrun, using up the contingency in bits and pieces for activities that it was not anticipated would need contingency. So this is not a good method of including it.
Tender management The process by which interested suppliers are identified, evaluated and selected for the supply of products (goods or services) to a project. terms of reference A document that outlines the purpose of the project, the manner in which the project will be structured and how it will be implemented. time management The process of recording and quantifying time spent completing tasks on a project.
The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games is a venture that requires considerable use of project management techniques and skills to make it a success. The large scale and very nature of the event requires good time management and the control of all three project dimensions time, cost, and quality. All three dimensions of the project are interrelated, and careful monitoring is needed at every stage of the project life-cycle. The estimates of the initial bid were prepared carefully and thoroughly with adequate checks and safeguards. During the bid stage and subsequent stages there was no leeway for varying the time dimension. This restriction, however, applies only to the delivery of the overall project. If the program is broken down into manageable items of work, the time dimension becomes something that can be manipulated. Careful programming and identifying proper milestones can improve the time management of the project.
Be able to name the nine Project Management Knowledge Areas. The nine Project Management Knowledge Areas are Project Integration Management, Project Scope Management, Project Time Management, Project Cost Management, Project Quality Management, Project Human Resource Management, Project Communications Management, Project Risk Management, and Project Procurement Management.
Now that we have isolated the four knowledge areas that need improvement we have to drill down into each knowledge area to the process level to further refine the focus of our improvement initiatives. At this level of detail we should be able to get at the true causes for project failure. All improvement initiatives are conducted at this level and summarized to the knowledge area level to assure their overall impact. Individual projects are undertaken for the purpose of improving the maturity level of a single process from among the processes that define the knowledge area of interest. This section will target the processes that define the four knowledge areas that surfaced in the prior section scope management, HR management, time management, and cost management. We will discuss what actually happened in each knowledge area one at a time. In actual practice many of the process improvement initiatives took place concurrently.
Quantitative time management, 181-214, see also specific topics architecture weaknesses in schedule logic, 202-209, 214 Central Limit Theorem, 193-196, 214 critical chain, 210-213, 214 critical path method, 187-192, 193, 213-214 Monte Carlo Simulation, 196-201, 214 rolling wave planning, 210 schedule network, 184-187 setting the program milestones, 183-184 techniques, 182-182
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Avoiding Procrastination Potholes
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