Time is a limited resource of 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year and there never seems to be enough of it in the business day!
Whether you’re a solo freelancer, project team leader or running your own business, the more effectively you plan your time, the more profitable you will be. So, developing your project time management skills while using the tools and techniques available to help you will pay dividends for the success of any project.
What is a project?
To successfully manage and complete a project, it is important to have a good grasp of the criteria that define a ‘project’.
In simple terms, a ‘project’ is something that has a specified starting and ending point and requires specific skills and resources to complete. Very often, it is something different to the routine operations of your business and will necessitate using the skills of different people who don’t generally work together. These people might be resourced from within your company or may come from different organizations or even different states and countries.
To complete your project in time, and hopefully, within its budget, careful management of the project will be essential.
What is project time management?
Project management is the skills, techniques, and tools used to help you manage your time and reach your end goal successfully. Effective time management involves having a clear understanding of a project’s different stages so that these can be scheduled into a realistic timeline.
Not only does a successful project outcome have to be achieved but along the way, staff timesheets have to be kept, supplies have to be ordered, and contractors have to be paid. When time is short and life is busy, it is easy to overlook some of these details when project management relies on old-fashioned paperwork.
To achieve a successful outcome, you should be using the most effective online tools available. These help you measure progress and analyze the success of your management techniques.
Why is time management of your project so important?
Time management of a project involves organising activities on a specified basis whether hourly, monthly or longer. When this planning and prioritizing is done in the most efficient way you or your team will see a marked increase in effectiveness and productivity.
To help achieve this you should make use of time management tools that let you break down tasks to a timescale that suits you and your project while giving you detailed timesheets and generating overviews. Once you have these overviews you are in the perfect place for making decisions that move your project forward.
And, of course, if you are in the position of having to manage several projects at the same time, efficient time management becomes even more vital.
4 Tips and techniques for time managing projects
For the most effective way of managing any project, follow these four simple steps:
- First, define your project goal and list the activities and milestones needed for its successful completion. An easy way to do this is with a Gantt chart. Start by putting in estimated timelines for each task on the chart.
- Now you know what you have to do, think about the order of your milestones. Once these are logically ordered, create any subtasks within each activity.
- The next step is probably the most challenging. You will need to think about the resources and people needed to complete each stage of your project. Do you have enough resources, including people, to hand or will you need to source extra?
- The final stage is creating a schedule or timeline for your project. If working with others, make this a collaborative agreement so everybody understands their role and the commitment you need from them.
Once you have reached this stage and your project has started, your role is to manage the project’s schedule and monitor its progress, making any adjustments to your original plan as necessary.
What is real-time project management?
To be an effective project manager you need a secure grip on what is happening on a daily basis. By using online time-tracking tools, such as those offered by Moneypenny, you can keep track of progress almost to the minute. Your real-time tool will immediately translate the data it is fed into easy-to-read graphics that can quickly be shared with your team.
This is a two-way process as team members can submit their timesheets and progress reports at any time from their phones or tablets. Everyone is kept totally informed and up to date.
This means you have a real-time tool rather than relying on historical information that could already be out of date. This gives you the advantage of being able to act quickly if issues or problems arise, tackling them before they impact on the project.
With a real-time project management tool, all members of your team can log in and provide you with information and data as it happens – management becomes proactive rather than reactive. Staff and contractors can be paid on time and meetings can be organized while details of your budget are always at your fingertips.
Let the software help with the time management of projects
With the right software for real-time project management, you can work efficiently and monitor progress without having to micromanage your team. This gives team members autonomy and more incentive to work independently on the tasks they have been allocated and are qualified to complete.
When a team is managed in this way it boosts morale and helps with employee retention, meaning your project is more likely to remain on budget and within its timeline.
When you are selecting the right software application for your project there are certain factors to consider:
- Does it have the ability to increase team productivity without wasting time?
- Is it easy to use and can it be accessed across all types of mobile devices?
For further guidance on choosing the right project management software visit What Project Management Tool To Use?
How can zistemo help with your project time tracking?
At zistemo, we realise that the business day, not to mention life, is too short to spend trying to synchronise project management tools that involve piles of paper or several different software packages. Our time-tracking software works on the SaaS or ‘on-demand’ business model, is adaptable to all currencies, and is available in different languages, with the main version being in English. Our all-in-one software package is synchronised in real time and from the drop-down menu it is easy to access tools for
- generating invoices
- generating quotes
- time tracking
- tracking projects across multiple staff members
- tracking expenses
- linking time logs with travel expenses
- monitoring budgets
- monitoring team performance
- projecting cost and time estimates
Our accurate and intuitive time-tracking tool is so easy to use that no tutorials are required while functionality is guaranteed across multiple devices. This time-tracking software is just one of the many products we feature, all designed to help you smoothly and efficiently run your business and manage your projects.