Time Is Money People!

If decreasing project duration was easy we would all be doing it!  Anyone can spend less time on a project, but the challenge is how to reduce project time while keeping quality consistent.  Spending less time on a project means you have more time for additional projects and more time for additional clients which should mean more money in your pocket.  I found Miranda Morley’s article, “How to Reduce Project Duration”, to be beneficial by providing five steps on how to reduce project duration effectively.

Step One: Morley discusses how to keep track of how time is used and eliminate time wasters. In beginning phases of the project or even before the project starts be conscious of the time taken for snacks, coffee breaks, socializing, etc. By keeping track of this time you can estimate how much time your next project will be increased by. You can also keep track of this wasted time in the first half of the project and focus on decreasing this wasted time in the second half. Realistically, this may be hard for groups that are crunch for time, but always something to be aware of.

Step Two: Make weekly or daily tasks. This may seem simple, but I feel like a lot of project groups forget to do this. Tasks and action items may be set in the beginning of the project, but staying on a weekly or even daily schedule ensures that the group stays on task. Having a daily list also helps the group feel accomplished when they can cross off action items. This can help everyone to stay motivated, especially over long projects.

Step Three: Morley talks about understanding how you work best. First, how do you work as an individual? Are there certain times in the day that you are more alert? Do you work better in certain locations? Once an individual figures out their own work style they are able to better fit into a productive group.

Step Four: Collaborate and delegate. This step is pretty obvious, but it’s beneficial to split up group tasks by strength. Not only is it important to the know the strengths of your group members going into a project, but it’s important to give them jobs that focus on those strengths. This helps to cut project time down drastically when you don’t have to worry about individuals spending days on their portion of the project all because they didn’t understand something. Also, discuss strengths and weaknesses in the office or in your project teams so that you know who to contact about helping you with your project.

Step Five: Cut out distractions like social networking, texting, unnecessary email, etc. This is HUGE! We’ve all been seated at a conference table with group members that can’t seem to take their eyes off their cell phone or people that are clearly looking at pictures on a social media site. This becomes a huge distraction and causes group members to be distracted. While these technologies are fun to use and may even help you communicate important business information, you don’t have to use them during time that has been allotted for working on a project.

This article was interesting to me because I feel that many people are so caught up in spreadsheets and data showing how to reduce time, but often we forget the little things that can really help to decrease the amount of time spent on a project. Remembering these simple steps can dramatically help to reduce project lead times while keeping quality consistent.

What other steps could be added to this list? What has worked for you in the past while working on an important project?


Source: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/reduce-project-duration-25320.html

9 thoughts on “Time Is Money People!

  1. Lindsay, thank you for sharing this article and the recommended steps for reducing project duration. Step two is particularly interesting to me. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed in large or lengthy projects. Breaking up the project and assigning mini-deadlines sounds like a great way to monitor progression and stay motivated.
    As for phone and social media usage during meetings, I can’t believe that this really happens! I wonder if it’s possibly a result of having too many non-essential people at meetings. If the subject of the meeting is important to the team member than the individual should be engaged enough to not get distracted with such things. If it’s still a problem I would consider sending out a friendly reminder prior to meetings or coaching specific trouble employees.

  2. Great post Lindsay. I think another important step needs to be included here. It sort of relates to step 3… Sometimes it’s not just about how WE ourselves work but actually how other work. I think we need to make sure we consider our other team members. If there is anything I have learned through this class and project it’s that a project can only be so successful without an efficient high-performing team. I have found emotional intelligence to be important when performing in a project team. It is not just about understanding how you work best but also how others do so you can accommodate and work more efficiently together towards the project goal – in this case reducing a project duration efficiently.

  3. This was an interesting post to read. I agree with you that time is always a critical part for any project and reducing the project duration is not easy. I really liked the ideas from the article for reducing the project time duration. I think the step one is the most critical one as many teams are not conscious of the excess time wasted on snacks, coffee breaks and socializing. I also liked the step five idea of cutting out the distractions like social networking, texting and unnecessary email which can also save up huge time for projects. Eliminating all this waste of time can be very beneficial in reducing project time. Thank you for sharing this article, I will definitely use some ideas from this article in future.

  4. Very interesting and relevant post Lindsay! we all take under various projects on daily basis and we most of the time we couldn’t do it successfully due to Shortage or miscalculation of time. the concept of article of reducing time is very important. As we also deal with six sigma most of the time to deal with problem is to define problem and find root cause.so awareness of wastage of time is big step in reducing duration of the project. awareness of distraction and staying focus is the key.
    Many times in the company the structure of the communication is red tape manner and repetitive for example non agenda meetings and too much of irrelevant work email can eliminate nonproductive hours.
    I also totally agree social media and too much information proves big distraction being aware can definitely improve efficiency in time management.

  5. I enjoyed the ideas and the perspective that the article laid out. I don’t agree with every aspect of the article, but I am always interested in other ways to get to the same result.

    My major contention would be with the first step. It appears to be micro managing a team to keep track of all of the “wasted time” that is listed. This time used for breaks and such is often important for team members to be able to recharge their batteries. i have never viewed this as wasted time.

    On the other side of the coin, I really appreciate the idea of setting weekly and daily tasks. If this is done well, the first step may not be neccesary, as team members can self manage their days to ensure all the breaks they need, and still be able to complete their assigned tasks.

  6. This was a very relevant post, Lindsay. Thank you sharing this with us. I agree that time is money because of opportunity cost. However, I don’t entirely agree with the steps in the article.

    The first step stands out to me. I think socialization and water breaks are necessary to project management. It helps with team cohesion. Also, I think to achieve Step Three, you would want to socialization and breaks. People usually casually talk during those times and get to know their colleagues. That can lead to knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Yes, it will be a trade-off; you won’t be saving time, but you are benefitting the team culture.

    For Step Five, I think that is common courtesy. I think attention should be focused on work if there’s a conference time allotted to work. However, managing overall company social networking, texts and unnecessary emails sound very stringent to me. If that’s the organizational environment, then micro-managing might be conducive to that style. If you’re dealing with a lax working culture, though, those steps will not work.

  7. I loved this! These are great steps to get your team to not waste any time. Our project manager at my office is great at setting up deadlines, motivating us, delegating tasks, as well as handling group conflict, which can all be factors to slow the team down if not handled well.

    Things that I think could be added to this list could be excessive emails and at poor times. Our project manager sends a lot of emails, so at that point we tend to not read them, but he also sends them at 5 or 5:30 PM before he heads home and I’m not sure if that time slot is making it any better!

  8. Good post. This post touched on some simple but important topics in managing projects. I think communicating with team members, outside vendors, and clients are vital. I know personally that on the projects that I’ve been a part of we held weekly meetings to update all team members on the overall progress and individual progress. We also held all members accountable for holding up their end of the bargain. Our managers attended the meetings so no wanted to be the person who was slacking or dropped the ball. Moreover, I can attest to people texting and having their phones in their hands at a conference table. This is so unprofessional, its like cant you wait 30 minutes or so until the meeting is over. Thanks for bringing up this topic.

  9. This is an extremely relevant subject for myself as our group begins preparations for our field project. I will share this article with my team members and conscientiously be aware during team meetings of Morley’s 5 steps. Expediting a project effectively obviously has its benefit in completing quicker, but also providing additional slack in time which could be allocated to other uses… or in instances where unforseen delays can occur. I agree wholeheartedly with step #4, that it’s beneficial to split up group tasks by strength. I have been part of projects previously where members were asked to step outside of their so-called comfort zones, which has led to inefficiencies and poor representation of work… in which an entire department is held accountable for the actions of each individual contributor. Every one has a strength they could provide in a project setting, it’s important to reflect on step #3 and understand how you work best.

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