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Time: An Undeniable Project Constraint

By Adewole F.Oriade M.Sc,MBA,PMP

Time management is a very important process in ensuring successful delivery of

projects. Time Management involves all processes that will guarantee the timely
completion of the project. Effective time management is needed to eliminate stress,
over time and work overload. Without doubt, time is an undeniable constraint that
any good project manager must handle effectively if a project is to be delivered on
time, within the budget and at the agreed quality standard.

One important skill in time management is the ability to prioritize project activities
and arrange them in a way that will ensure timely delivery of project deliverables.
Being aware of how much time you have for a specific job helps you focus on what
is important. Effectively managing your time helps you overcome procrastination,
rank your tasks, prioritize them and monitor how much time you spend on each
individual task.

To effectively manage time, you must first list and define the activities that are to
be performed in the project. Doing so gives you a mental picture of what you will
need to do to accomplish the objective(s) of the project. Once priorities have been
set, the tasks can now be sequenced, that is, arrange the tasks in the order they
will be performed and establish the logical relationships between them. There are
certain activities that are of more importance than others, such activities are said to
be critical path activities. A critical path shows the earliest time a project can start
and the latest time it can finish. Activities on a critical path cannot be delayed
without extending the completion date of the project.

Successful project managers have to accomplish a lot of things in so little time.

Achieving high levels of productivity is possible by identifying the tasks that are
really critical and focusing on how to complete them. Concentrating on completing
these tasks produces results instead of just ‘keeping busy’. Whatever tasks
performed must lead to desired goals, otherwise simply keeping busy will not lead
to the achievement of goals.

Effective project time management may involve:

• Creating a list of identified and defined tasks

• Sequencing the tasks to reflect the effective use of time
• Allocating resources for the completion of the tasks
• Determine how long it will take to complete each of the tasks.
• Developing a realistic schedule, by analyzing all the above processes so far
performed putting into considerations all the necessary schedule constraints.
• Monitoring the progress of the schedule on a continual basis

Some people believe that time cannot be managed. They argue that time must
follow its inevitable course no matter what. Having this mindset makes it imperative
to identify the right tasks to be completed and in what order they are to be
completed. Allocating risks and resources to these tasks leads to the development
of a realistic schedule, which if monitored closely will fulfill the schedule
requirements of the project.