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Time Management In Practice Essay

3756 words - 15 pages

OVERVIEW"Plan the work, work the plan." This simple phrase can be your guide through many difficult times in a project management career. The Time Management Knowledge Area should be applied with the support of a project scheduling tool. Of course, it can be done with 3×5 cards to gather information and then organized in a spreadsheet. However, the spreadsheet will only communicate the proposed plan. Once the project starts and the dynamics of a project ensue-dates slip, unplanned scope is added, resources are suddenly unavailable-managing from the spreadsheet will probably become quite frustrating. The plan will no longer be a tool to provide project tracking and oversight. At that point, you will have lost control of your project.ACTIVITY DEFINITIONFor any project manager just coming on board a project, the critical first steps are to learn about the people involved-both stakeholders and the project team-and to understand the issues that currently exist and exactly what the project is expected to deliver. These steps are forerunners to Activity Definition.For the steps described in the PMI standard under the heading Activity Definition, you must have a clear understanding of the activities that are outlined in the WBS. This will become important as you identify the inter-dependencies among activities, as well as the type of resources that should be assigned to each of the activities. Start from the beginning, not the end, and resist the temptation to focus too heavily on dates. Although later it will be necessary to come back and look at how the "realistic" plan fits into the needs of the business, at this stage it is important to find out what your people believe are the necessary tasks required for project completion. This can also help to provide the ammunition that you need to fight for a date based on the effort involved.Such activity definition can be done relatively easily in a project scheduling tool such as MS Project; using this tool will make it easier to accomplish the remaining tasks of Time Management. However, this task can also be done with Post-It notes or 3×5 cards. Give a descriptive title to the task and a brief definition, along with notes gleaned from the team. Detailed notes will be helpful, as you will come back to these notes throughout the project. There is a "notes" section for each task within MS Project to capture this information, or use the back of the 3×5 card.At this point it is not imperative to have the entire team available; the focus is not on creating dependencies. The leads for each area (in an IT project these might be the Requirements Lead, Development Lead, Test Lead, Lead Architect, etc.) can provide enough input to develop the activities. Essentially, this initial meeting answers the question: What specific actions need to happen to deliver the product defined in the scope statement?Keep milestones in mind, both external milestones to clients or upper management, along with internal...

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