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Project Management: The Essentials of Time

written by: eschulze • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 7/18/2013

A Project Manager must analyze how time on their project is being spent and be prepared to make adjustments. Wasted time can send you over-budget or, even worse, kill a project. It may seem like unnecessary effort, but accounting for time spent is an important task.

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    Have you ever been so thoroughly immersed in a project that you lost track of time?

    A Project Manager knows how essential the hands of time are to his job. One misplaced segment of time during a project and the whole schedule could be lost. The type of project will determine how to track time spent on it; and, as with any tracking method, categorizing your work is essential.

    You can begin by downloading this basic worksheet for this purpose; a simple form like this can benefit every project. You will need to take some time at the front end of the project to establish your tracking parameters. If you have multiple projects going at the same time, project numbers become essential. Create a timesheet that summarizes information you have determined to be essential to track. Coding often-replicated work will allow you to fill in the timesheet quickly and efficiently. You may want to use a timesheet for each job.

    Regardless of what project tasks you choose to track, keeping the timesheet updated throughout the day is essential. And no matter how many different ways you try to keep on top of it, tracking your time will always come down to keeping a sheet with you to update throughout the day, or, if you are on a computer all day long, keeping some type of tracker open at all times and making a pattern of updating it throughout the day. As your company grows, you may want to consider a web-based time tracking software.

    Throughout the project, take the time to analyze where the time is being spent. If you are sending staff on errands, only to have them come back to the office and turn around on another errand a half hour later, it will show up when you review their timesheet. The most important detail is to keep entries on the time card sequential.

    Just like your project, tracking only works if you are able to find the gaps and lags and modify your time accordingly. Once you have a good idea of how the time allotted to your project is actually being spent, modifying your work to take advantage of every minute will make you a productive and sought after manager.



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