5 ways to expertly manage your team’s time05 Feb 2018
"If only there was more time."
That's not something you hear successful project managers say often.
Poor performances are driven by common negative traits: procrastination, lack of structure, loosely defined tasks and trying too hard to get everything perfect on the first try. Excellent time management skills go hand-in-hand with beating business expectations, and they incorporate none of the aforementioned.
Here are five ways to make sure you and your team stay on track moving forward:
Develop good time management habits for yourself first.
1. Pomodoro technique
The easiest place to start is with the low hanging fruit: managing your own time. The Pomodoro technique is a simple and effective way of getting yourself into a rhythm of staying on task. The Pomodoro itself is a set of two intervals; 25 minutes of work, five minutes of free time.
The strategy is as straightforward as it sounds. Set a clock and keep focused on one assignment for the first block, then give yourself a quick break before jumping back into it. After completing this cycle three or four times, take 20 or 30 minutes to relax and reset. Develop this style of working into a habit to see greater bursts of productivity.
2. Set expectations
Having a good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of your team members can help you figure out who is the best fit for each role. This involves identifying particular skill sets that will be needed to complete each task, as well as how those abilities work together in a collaborative setting for larger projects that require multiple people.
After accomplishing this, you should have a better idea of how quickly and effectively each of your staff members work. Using this information, you can better manage risk and client expectations. Ideally, you want to set up deadlines so you're finishing with time to spare.
3. Leverage Gantt charts
If you haven't already, get to know the Gantt chart. It's a detailed project schedule that contains a variety of elements, like the start and end dates for specific tasks, as well as updates on where every team member is with his or her assignment.
Sharing these charts – either through physical copies or digital project management platforms – can help develop a sense of accountability among the team. It allows every staff member to know where he or she is with their work, how others are doing and how it all fits together at the end.
Chemistry and communication play important roles during projects.
4. Keep communication clear
Chemistry plays an important role in keeping the team on track. If milestones aren't acknowledged, conflicts go unresolved or concerns aren't aired, productivity can take a hit – and that's what can really skew the time it takes to complete a project.
Maintain an open line of communication that doesn't just extend between yourself and individual members, but throughout the team too. Deal with arguments quickly and succinctly, and try to recognise every achievement. This can involve a different skill set than you may be used to utilising, and you could benefit from management training courses to help you make the right decisions.
5. Get ahead of setbacks
The last tip can be challenging – no one can see the future. But as we all know, rarely do things ever go as planned either. Take into account the fact that mistakes will be made and issues will arise. Not doing so can lead you to lose time down the line.
At the end of the day, planning plays a major role in time management itself. There aren't very many hidden tips; effective project management skills are the key to keeping everyone on track. Learn more about how you can improve your team's performance by contacting an ICML representative today.