“Time is money”. It’s an overworked phrase. But closer analysis brings up an important question: If time equals money, why is it common in business to see far more intensity of focus placed on managing money than on managing time? In fact, just like money, time must always be carefully managed and invested in a manner that produces maximum returns. In project management, how skillfully this is carried off will have a direct effect on bottom line profit.
Project management is all about strategically managing time and money to ensure that objectives are achieved on schedule and on budget. But how about considering the time spent on project planning and management processes? Gains in efficiency on this meta level of time allocation add to the company bottom line over the course of multiple projects.
Here are a few tips for trimming down the time investment required for planning and managing projects.
Manage the Planning Process
Planning a large, complex project can be a time-expensive undertaking. The planning process should not be conducted in an unorganized manner. Upon receiving a project assignment, the project manager should create a short-term schedule that covers initial planning activities. This schedule can then be extended as needed until project planning is completed. An all-in-one project planning software tool like this one, that provides resource availability at a glance and offers fast drag-and-drop scheduling ensures that minimal time is spent in this pre-planning work, yielding significant time ROI later in the project planning process.
Employ Scheduling Iteration
Creating multiple models to present a variety of time and resource allocation scenarios allows a planning team to home in on the most efficient approach to carrying out a project. Use a digital planning board and calendaring tools to quickly mock-up a few different project schedules and present them for consideration. Be sure to take into account past experience, expert opinion, PERT analysis, and any other useful inputs available.
Plan and Balance Project Tasks with Precision
Use a planning board and Gantt charting to clearly view and adjust project tasking models. Work with dependencies to find modifications that will allow tasks to start sooner whenever possible. Look for opportunities to create overlapping dependencies. Trim slack to the minimum on individual tasks and consider whether or not certain tasks can be done away with.
If the planning process reveals that some aspects of a project will be pressing the limits of your in-house resource availability, look for project phases or tasks that could be outsourced. Identifying such trouble spots early will save time later on.
Use a Report Generation Tool
Progress reporting can take up a lot of time on the parts of both managers and team members. Instead of spending many hours putting together data and constructing reports, automate most of the process. Well-designed project management software does the work of data collection and storage. Using the reporting function is a simple matter of inputting relevant information and letting the program do the rest.
Time Saved is a Penny Earned
It is pleasantly surprising to see the way consistent savings of even a few minutes here and there can add up to increased profits in the long run. Applying effective strategy supported by a project planning platform designed to streamline planning and management processes is the first step toward saving time in project management.