This essay on project management will briefly give a proper description of the project management and what it entails. It will further discuss all the tasks that are normally involved in proper time management. The major focus of this particular essay will be on the time constraint and how time can be properly managed and the general importance of managing time in IT projects. It will then be concluded by giving reasons as to why project managers should actually have their projects well managed especially in the time part of it if at all he would want to realize success at the end of the projects.
Introduction Project management is that discipline that is concerned with planning, organization and resource management to bringing a specific project to a successful completion of its major objectives and goals (Baker, 2000). The major challenge of managing projects is to achieve its set objectives and goals while at the same time adhering to the constraints of project management which are normally scope, time, quality and budget.
The secondary challenge is normally the optimization of the allocation and to integrate the necessary inputs in such a way that the pre-defined objectives may be met. A project may be well defined as set of different or even similar activities that make use of available resources such as money, materials, people, space and many others to achieve the set project goals and objectives. According to Conn, M (2007) the job of managing a project is quite often the major responsibility of an individual person who in this case is the project manager or the project management team.
In most cases the project manager seldom takes part in a direct way in the various activities that will produce the final result, but rather he will strive to make sure that the general progress and the mutual interaction between his workers is well maintained so that the overall risk of the project failing is reduced or eradicated. The manager of a project is often an ambassador of his clients and therefore the needs of his clients are well determined and implemented by the project manager and this is usually based on the kind of enterprise they are representing.
In any given field, the project manager should be able to envision the whole project that is from start to finish. He should also have the ability to ensure that the vision is realized by the project. This clearly tells someone that before you become a project manager, one should make sure that he is well informed and be ready to listen to the needs of clients which in most cases they are varied. Just like any other human undertaking, all projects have to be done and delivered through some well known constraints. Traditionally, the constraints are listed as time, scope and scope.
These constraints are better known as the triangle of project management, where constraints are represented by each side of the triangle. This particular essay will have its major focus on the time constraint of project management (Cable, D. 2004). Project time management Project time management basically means the planning of the processes and organization of resources in a project to ensure its well-timed completion. The management of time is an important skill that is very critical and any project manager should have this vital skill.
From surveys done by scholars on project management, the survey reports claim that most of the successful project managers have the history of completing their projects within their stipulated time and the project budget. Project failure from the past may have been caused by lack or absence of schedule management that is, defining, scheduling and implementing these tasks or activities that are to be undertaken by the steering team or manager. In the present world, there are so many softwares that project managers can use in time or schedule management within a project (Brooks, 2001).
Tasks in a project The first task in a project time management is the activity definition. Here the main activities in the project are defined so that the management team knows what they are dealing within as the progress goes on. In preparation of the project schedule, the manager of the project should be fully aware of the content of each given tasks that are involved in the project, the length of time the task will require to be completed, the kind of resources that the tasks will need and the exact order the tasks should be done.
The project manager should know that each of the said elements normally will have direct bearing on the time or schedule of the project. And if the project manager omits certain tasks then the project stands higher chances of not being completed. Once more, if a manager of a task does not take seriously the amount of required resources or the length of time required for a particular task then the project manager stands higher chances of missing the time schedule for his project. The time schedule can also be missed or rather be blown if the project manager makes a bad sequencing of the project tasks.
While project schedule can be build by either listing, in a particular order, all the important tasks that have to be completed in some specific manner. This task is often referred to as activity sequencing. Assigning of order and specific duration in which it should occur in every given task will also help the project management team a great deal. After assigning of this sequence requirement project management team should now allocate all the required resources for that particular task.
This should be followed by determining the tasks that should first be completed (predecessors) and determining the tasks should be completed last (successors) and this is normally a pretty simple exercise. Normally difficulties do arise in managing project schedule. In most cases the difficulty will arise when there is not enough time and resources for the proper completion of the tasks of a given project sequentially. It is therefore advised that the given tasks in a project be overlapped in such a way that more than one task is attended to at the same time (Cable, 2004).
The softwares that are commonly used in managing projects normally simplify the tasks that are involved in the creation and management of project schedules by handling all sorts of iterations in the time logic for the project manager. When all the required tasks have been put in an ordered list, then they have been well resourced and put in a correct sequence, the manager of the project will be able to notice that some of the laid down tasks are flexible in terms of start and finish dates. Such flexibility in project management is well known as float.
And other tasks do not have any kind of flexibility at all and therefore are zero floats. Therefore any line through all the given tasks that have zero floats is referred to as the critical path. All the tasks that are found on the critical path, and there is possibility that there can be multiple of them, paths that are parallel, they must come to a completion on the stated time if the entire project has also to be completed on time. The key task of a project manager is time management and the management of the critical path (Cavendish, 2003).
The project manager should however be aware of any items can be removed or even added in the critical path, this may be due to changing of circumstances that may occur during the project execution. Regardless of how well a project manager manages his time schedule and the available resources then the project manager would only have budget management as the only critical element left. At this particular point, it is therefore advised that all managers of different projects be fully aware of all the tasks that are involved in the projects that they are managing.
This will enable them to have full control of every progress in the tasks and it will ensure that the project in progress is completed within the specified time in the budget (Clough, 2005). Importance of project time management Project time management is an important aspect of project management. The following are some of the major importance of project time management. Proper project time management will ensure that project managers deliver their projects within the stated time on the project budget.
That means that time and good schedule management will always work to the advantage of the project manager in that the project manager will always be delivering his projects without unnecessary delays that are normally brought about by poor time management (Baker, 2000). Another importance of time management in an IT project is that the project manager will be in a very good position to allocate resources and everything that will be needed in that particular project because when time is managed properly, the manager will be able to tell all that will required by specific tasks in the project.
This will have a very positive impact on the IT project in that time will be well managed and resources well allocated and the end result will completion of the project in good time (Cohn, 2007). With time management in a project, the project manager will be able to plan everything that will have to take in every step. And this is one of the most vital things of time management that most managers of different projects agree upon. Effective management of time in projects often motivates the participating team members in such a way that they will always be willing to actively involved in planning the project.
Involvement of the fellow members of the team in planning for the project will definitely increase the chances of the project realizing success. Time management will help the project manager to have his deadlines set. Normally projects should be done within a set period of time, but deadlines most of the times if not so well planned become unrealistic. With proper project time management skills together with skilled project manager, proper and realistic deadlines will be set which will ensure that a sense of urgency has been inducted into the team members.
Again, the use of project time management skills in managing IT projects will ensure that the project manager keeps good track of the progress of the project and he will also be able to make priorities in his own work (Duane, 2007). Another important task in time project management is the scheduling of the project activities in the order that they should occur. This is very vital because it defines the activities to be prioritized and the trailing ones.
This helps in determining the most important step from the less important step at any given time. Project time management is an important tool in project management in such a way that it helps the manager of the project to sift and sort out ideas concerning the progress of the project before the manager of the project commits himself in allocating resources. This is normally achieved by having objective criteria for his project selection and this will enable the manager to only approve those projects that are on priority (David, 2000). Conclusion
Drawing from the essay, it can be said that it is very important for a project manager to be fully aware of what his project entails. Putting down all the activities in an ordered list or manner will help in time allocation of the various activities in the project. Using all the available tools of project management, a project manager will be able to deliver his projects on time since his work will be well planned. Meeting the deadlines in project management is the most important thing and using project time management is the only way towards achieving it.