Time Management Tips for the Brand New Project Manager
For those Type A Project Managers, the first thought after completing a project is usually: “What could I have done better?” And really, if you are not capitalizing on every opportunity within the means and scope of the project at hand, the odds are that you will be overrun by those companies that do capitalize on them. Fortunately, it is not difficult to see where these potential profit areas exist. Let’s take a look at some important areas where you can uncover opportunities to make more money and save more time.
Rally Your Troops
For project managers, the resources you’ll need refer to the people available to work on a project and the material (software etc.) that will be used to complete it. It is incredibly important to know exactly what resources are available, and when, in order to successfully set budgets and deadlines. However, in practice, that data can be surprisingly hard to find.
Instituting an automated time and project management system allows you to view exactly where resources are employed, what hours employees have available, and when they will be able (or unable) to work on a project. For instance, let’s say a key employee is going on vacation to Bermuda and won’t be able to work on the project for the duration of his visit. Gaining this information weeks in advance (via the automated time system) would allow you to redistribute his workload and avoid project complications or delays.
Give Them Some Space
Do you know how efficient your employees are? Having employees track time to individual projects allows you to view their efficiency at particular tasks, as well as the status of the project as a whole. Viewing this information on a daily basis let’s you know when employees should be moved to different tasks. It also lets you view project completion as an ongoing event rather than a set series of checkpoints. That way, if projects go off-schedule or resources are being used too quickly, it is easy to make minor corrections immediately.
Estimate the Viablity of it
Estimates are the first step in determining project viability. Both over and under-bidding costs you in the long run, either through project delays or loss of opportunity to pursue other projects. But it is never possible to make an estimate with 100% accuracy — there are too many opportunities for error. However, this does not mean that estimates cannot bevery good guesses. Building up a backlog of past project data will greatly improve future estimates. Note that this means every project attempted, not every project completed. Failed projects can be just as valuable in aiding future estimates as successful projects.
One way to make more precise bids is to use a key performance indicator. This is a tool used to measure progress towards a strategic business goal. For example, the number you want to minimize in this situation is defined by the formula [(E-A)/E], where:
- E = estimated hours to complete the project
- A = actual hours spent to complete the project
Keeping this KPI value as close to zero as possible will show you that you are in fact bidding on projects more accurately.
Just tracking this number is a great first step towards better bidding, and you can get the necessary data to calculate it from any timesheet system, including a paper one without looking over the shoulders of your employees. Automated timesheet systems, however, are generally even more effective in this area because they often have reports to calculate the KPI figure for you.
These are just a few of the ways that businesses can uncover hidden opportunity in their projects. Seizing hidden opportunity is not only important in the current business climate, it’s required.