Managing Project Timelines

Published: 15th July 2006
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Managing Project Timelines

By Samuel Lartey, Project Manager

Project Management is not only about building roads, schools and hospitals as traditionally conceived, it is about managing resources, to achieve a specific objective on time, within budget and within specification.

A project is to attain its objectives and then terminate. A Project Manager is therefore to ensure that projects are completed successfully.

There are certain processes required to ensure timely completion of projects and some of these processes includes activity definition, activity sequencing, activity resource estimating and duration estimating. These processes are of importance to the management of project time.

There are however some simple and invaluable tips that will help you to deal with these processes.

Develop the skill of effective estimating. As much as possible try not to over or under estimate the time needed for any project work breakdown or time needed to produce a specific work unit.

Let the team members know how you plan the tasks and established the set times. Do not push tasks on team members with some uncomfortable timelines. In that case team members feel a sense of discomfort, they begin to think you are playing a win lose game. You only consult where you are stuck.

Don't simply accept timelines imposed on you. Analyse the reasons for them and look for alternatives where appropriate.

Don't work to other people's deadlines. Set your own, taking others into consideration.

Communicate your timelines to all stakeholders, make sure they know your deadlines and ask for their help where necessary. Negotiate timelines on first day or when mentioned initially to you.

Set manageable stages for more complex tasks. In this way you can see yourself making progress.

Don't set artificial deadlines, for no good reasons. This puts undue pressures on project team members and stakeholders.

Always remember that the qulaity and specifications of the project and the cost of the project can all be attained when the timelines are adhered to. It is when these ingredients are available in the right mix that the customer in whose interest the project is set up will attain the saisfaction required.

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