The Time Management-Project Management Connection

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A wedding is “project management with cake at the end. The best type, in my opinion. Even if you’ve never formally studied project management, your time spent attending weddings – yours or someone else’s – counts as practical experience.

These are public events that involve fixed budgets, fixed timelines, inexperience, lots of pressure, lots of advice and an overwhelming desire to elope. That’s why couples often hire professional wedding planners, and that’s also why wedding planners often provide guidebooks, with titles such as What To Do When Planning Your Wedding. It’s Project Management for the uninitiated.

Project management has been around as a formalized school of thought and study since the 1950s. It emphasizes the importance of planning, communication, performance, and review. It starts with a higher-level perspective of a project, and then breaks it down to the smallest reasonable components. Project management forces you to visualize a project from start to end. It allows you to plan for contingencies and revisions, and replaces traditional “seat-of-the-pants” approach with an organized, accountable agenda.

The Project Management Institute (http://www.pmi.org) is an authority on project management, and publishes a work known as the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). The intent of the PMBOK is to assist project managers everywhere, regardless of their experience, by providing a standard and a logical plan for the successful completion of projects.

The PMBOK identifies five phases in the life of a typical project:

  • Initiation: The project is conceived and assessed as viable or not; ideas are formulated; and the expected results and the timeline are first considered.
  • Planning: A significant amount of time should be spent here. In this phase, every detail of the project is accounted for, including possible failures, contingencies, estimated times for completion of each part, and budget and resource estimates.
  • Execution: The project gets underway, people start to work on their assigned tasks, and momentum begins.
  • Control: The work of the project is performed, while the project manager oversees and updates the plan and communicates progress and changes to all involved.
  • Closure: Once the project is completed the teams are broken up, final accounting is done, and things are cleaned up and put away.

The project is summarized and guided by a project plan, a document that lays out tasks and their respective timelines throughout the project’s life. Far from being a static document, the project plan remains flexible, a living, breathing thing that must adapt to change while still ensuring the project moves ahead.

Although no project manager has a crystal ball to predict how things will pan out in the future, s/he can look back into the past, through research, analysis and the use of experts and mentors to deduce, within reason, what to expect.

In short, project management makes everything as clear as possible and envisions all aspects of the project before they happen. It does not necessarily make a project effortless, but its principles and rules ensure that work and resources are properly guided.

This is what time management is really all about. It comes down to two words, the same words that define successful project management: Planning and Communication.

This is an excerpt from my book, Cool Time: A Hands-On Plan for Managing Work and Balancing Time. If you would like a copy, hop on over to my Books page. If you would like me to come and speak to your group, contact details are available on my Speaker page. Either way, you will win back time and money. It’s just practical common sense.

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