We all have heard of the popular saying – time is money. And it can’t be truer when it comes to project management. Saving time is key to any organisation, irrespective of whether it is a small, or big company. For every project you finish before time, you can free up more time for your individual betterment, and also for the development of your team and company. Some of these steps include taking up more projects and in improving your individual and also the team’s efficiency.
However, the reality is that most employees are usually hard-pressed for time on most days at work. From managing deadlines to dedicating efforts towards administrative activities, there can be many activities which take up your time. And your role as a project manager can help you devise strategies to improve the way time is managed for you and your team. This would help you plan capacity building activities, as well as improve team coordination and support.
Let’s look into detail at some of the steps that you can take to improve time management in your team.
Prioritise tasks for your team.
The usual way to go about a project is to plan out the details of the work to be done. While this step is important for your team, prioritising the tasks for yourself and your team turns out to save more time. The usual approach to saving time at work is to complete urgent tasks on priority. You would observe that your staff would take up this approach by default, mostly due to requests from project managers and other stakeholders. However, at the higher management level, prioritising tasks can prove difficult, especially with several competing interests to balance.
The Pareto analysis method, which follows the 80/20 method, can be useful when you are a manager. It means that you should first complete 20% of the tasks which would generate 80% of the revenue. This will help bring about the maximum efficiency, and also save time in the long run.
Ensure visibility among resources and stakeholders.
One of the most time-intensive activities among team members is updating each other on the work to be done, and the work that has been completed. From status updates to figuring around bottlenecks, coordination can become difficult when critical steps are to be updated. You may face even more severe problems when a part or the whole of your team is based remotely. The solution for this problem can be to hold regular update meetings from time to time and make sure everyone else is updated. But on the other hand, you can also take the help of technology for updating your team members.
With the help of a resource management software, these issues can be minimised to a large extent. It offers clear visibility of the resource demand and capacity, which allows senior management to schedule them better in projects. Whether you have a remote team or multiple stakeholders, project updates can be updated real-time, and resources can be scheduled in minimal time for projects.
Engage in collaboration activities regularly.
It is needless to say that communication is critical for not only your project success but also to develop a healthy team. And while the benefits of collaboration are manifold, one of the ways in which teams working together can benefit is through saving the company’s time. Teams that work together, and are in constant touch with each other, are able to grow together and bond better than teams that are apart.
Solving workplace and project bottlenecks together will not only improve coordination but also get more work done in half the time. If you have remote teams, you can make sure they join in from time to time, and keep them involved with the main branch. Once you introduce collaboration among your team members, you would notice that there is a good exchange of skills and intellectual know-how among members. No matter where your team is located, you can encourage people to work together by placing them in teams and assigning tasks to them as a group.
Keep your meetings short with time limits.
Meetings can take up more time than you realise at work. However, in most cases, they are inevitable when going through important project milestones, and update senior management on the progress. But there are some steps which you can take up to help minimise meetings in your team. The first step that you can take up is to schedule meetings. This small but rather significant step helps your team members and other attendees plan for the meeting and show up on time. It is also important that you invite only the relevant team members, so that no one’s time is wasted. Also, do not forget to stress the importance of being on time when sending out invites.
It is also important that you have a clear agenda for the meeting. This will help you focus on the important issues, and prevent discussions from straying away. Once the meeting starts, you can also ensure that the meeting sticks to time, and all the major queries and issues are resolved at the earliest.
Ensure regular compliance measures among your staff.
Efficiency at your workplace is directly related to saving time. And for an all-round efficient team, working hard is as important as keeping some time aside as downtime. A stipulated time-off on the calendar can help your employees reflect on the progress that they have made and also make changes in how they work.
As a project manager, internal audits can be a good way to assess which decisions took the most time to implement, and how it can be replaced in the future. Ensure that you get proper feedback from your team members as well on steps that you can take. You can also plan for training and capacity building sessions, if required. This will help you increase productivity and help the team finish projects on time.
Final: Make sure every meeting gets results!
Another way to improve efficiency is through implementing a results-only work environment, or the ROWE method of working. This method does not measure the employee’s performance on the basis of the number of hours they’ve worked or the hours spent in the office but is instead based on the performance, results and output of the staff.
It can be said that saving office time makes the process more flexible, and also helps employees manage their work efficiently. With little changes in the workplace, you can get the most out of your employees, as well as plan your team’s growth towards a great future.