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PMBOK Practices and Project Time Management

                “Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, 

                             but to do what clearly lies at hand.”

                                             —Thomas Carlyle

 

PMBOK practices and tools concerning time management deal with the abilities of planning and finishing the project within estimated deadlines. A core knowledge area and significant aspect of project management, time management has close affinity with costs and scope areas. It assists managers (and the team) to deliver projects in a timely fashion. Here, the planning process involves the sequencing and allocation of various tasks while the monitoring/controlling tasks are concerned with the tracking and reporting of work progress as well as addressing the changes and shifts in the plan. Additionally, the closing processes include an audit of overall time targets, an estimation of the accuracy of time estimates, and an analysis of how future plans can be made more lucrative.

Time management, a crucial part of successful projects, is divisible into the following processes:
 
  • Definition of activities
  • Sequencing of activities
  • Estimation of activities resources
  • Estimation of activities duration
  • Development of schedules
  • Control of schedules
PMBOK Time Management: Processes
 
PMBOK’s project time management consists of six primary processes.
 
  • This process includes the identification and definition of all action items and tasks that are to be taken up in the entire project life cycle, so as to produce requisite project deliverables. The methods used for this purpose include decomposition and utilization of milestones from action templates linked to previous activities/projects. (Planning Process Group)

 

  • Sequencing of activities involves the identification and mapping of action task dependencies between project activities, with the help of preceding documents. The tools used by project managers include the arrow diagramming method, precedence diagramming method and other means of diagramming dependencies. The network diagram serves as the outcome of this process. This process documents the sequence in which activities have to be executed for achieving timely project outputs.(Planning Process Group)

 

  • A proper estimation of the resources (men, machines, and materials) for each activity serves as the third process in time management. Activity resource estimations determine which and how many resources are required for the entire project team. Along with expert judgment, this process also relies on the bottom-up estimating technique at various stages in the project life cycle. (Planning Process Group)
  • Estimating activity duration, the next process in PMBOK management, requires expert judgment and usage of tools like PERT for making decisions linked to schedule development and cost estimation. In this process, a correct estimate of the required time is essential for carrying out defined activities based on the project scope and resource availability. (Planning Process Group)

 

  • The project schedule is developed after the estimations of resources and duration are over. This process is assisted by project management software solutions; resource leveling for avoiding over-allocation of resources; activity sequences and duration estimation; handling of project schedule constraints; and so forth. The start as well as end dates are scheduled for every activity in the project. The output of this process is approved and considered as a schedule base-line against which the progress of a specific project is tracked. (Planning Process Group)

 

  • The control of project schedule is dependent on changes and those who completely understand the process. It explains the monitoring of project status, an analysis of schedule changes, and controlling of schedule changes for meeting planned schedules. Schedules with in-built manageable components are more effective and come packaged with a higher productivity quotient. (Monitoring and Controlling Process Group)
There is high inter dependency between these time management processes and in some cases (such as in projects with a smaller scope), they may all be combined in a single process. Overall, project time management is important for teams as it streamlines collaboration and helps in meeting deadlines—the right way!

 

Author : Uma Daga

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