Time Management in Practice
VALIS HOUSTON, PMP, ACACIA PM CONSULTING
“Plan the work, work the plan.” This simple phrase can be your guide through many difficult times in a project management career. The Project Time Management Knowledge Area should be applied with the support of a project scheduling tool. Of course, it can be done with 3×5 cards to gather information and then organized in a spreadsheet. However, the spreadsheet will only communicate the proposed plan. Once the project starts and the dynamics of a project ensue—dates slip, unplanned scope is added, resources are suddenly unavailable—managing from the spreadsheet will probably become quite frustrating. The plan will no longer be a tool to provide project tracking and oversight. At that point, you will have lost control of your project.
For any project manager just coming on board a project, the critical first steps are to learn about the people involved—both stakeholders and project team members—and to understand the issues that currently exist and exactly what the project is expected to deliver. These steps are forerunners to Define Activities.
For the steps described in the PMI standard under the heading Define Activities, you must have a clear understanding of the activities that are outlined in the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). This will become important as you identify the interdependencies among activities, as well as the type of resources that should be assigned to each of the activities. Start from the beginning, not the end, and resist the temptation to