In the world of project management, it could be argued that no other resource is as valuable as time. This commodity, unlike money or materials, really is irreplaceable. Once a project falls behind schedule, it is extremely difficult to close the gap and get things back on track. One activity or event that is delayed affects the next like a line of falling dominoes. This means wise time administration must be a top priority. Here are several areas where accurate planning and management make a big difference.
Don’t Make Activity Sequencing Too Rigid
When you are creating a WBS, it can be tempting to construct a tidy timeline with one schedule activity flowing neatly into the next in chronological order. However, smart project management planning often means scheduling many activities concurrently even if they will be incorporated during different phases of the actual project. There is no reason to have Team B sitting around with nothing to do when they could be preparing for the role they will play when Team A is done with the first stage of a project.
Unless there is an actual dependency that prevents a schedule activity from a future project phase from being performed in advance, consider staying ahead of the curve by having work done on as many critical aspects of the project as possible simultaneously. This approach can buy you time if your project hits an unexpected snag later on.
Learn Project Duration Shortening Tricks
The old phrase “It takes as long as it takes” doesn’t always apply in project management. When you are estimating the time needed for each scheduled project activity, fully explore your options. Often, there are creative ways you can reduce the time resource required for one or more phases. Here are some questions to ask when planning time commitments:
- Will adding more human resources to this activity shorten the project duration?
- Will having employees work overtime get this done task faster or will quality be degraded due to fatigue?
- Is there an individual on the team who needs to be reassigned because he/she tends to slow things down creating a bottleneck?
- Would delaying the start of this activity until I have all the right resources in place actually lead to a quicker turnaround time?
- Is there a tool or training option I can provide (within budget) that will reduce labor for this activity?
Shaving off a few days here or a week there creates a buffer that may help keep your project on schedule in the event of unavoidable delays.