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Ideas, suggestions and general thoughts about project management for development.

Benefits of a Project Management Methodology

A project management methodology is defined as a system of methods, principles, and rules for managing a project. It can help organizations by standardizing processes, building a common language and understanding how to manage a project. It helps project managers reduce risks, avoid duplication of efforts and to ultimately increase the impact of the project.

A methodology provides project teams with a set of standards to initiate and manage individual projects. A methodology contains definitions, guidelines, and templates for the various project management activities needed to deliver successful projects. The methodology establishes common ground for all projects within an organization.

By adopting a project management methodology development organizations will be able to:

  1. Quickly adapt to new challenges and invest limited resources in the best way possible in order to achieve recurring successes.
  2. Build a successful project management culture that will enable the effective utilization of the project management methodology.
  3. Expand the skills of project managers, and give them a holistic understanding and a solid foundation to manage their projects efficiently.
  4. Reduce risks and increase the chances of project success.
  5. Increase the motivation of the project team, and increase their productivity.
  6. Deliver more projects on time, and within budget that meet or exceed the expectations of donors, beneficiaries and project stakeholders.

Organizations that use a standard method, have more confidence that the project is conducted in a disciplined, well-managed and consistent manner, which promotes the delivery of quality results within the constraints of time and cost.

 

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Time Management for Project Managers

It is common to see project managers overwhelmed by the amount of work that lands on their desk and not being able to find enough time in a day to accomplish all that work. The moment they finalize a project report, a new request comes asking for more information that will take a lot of work to get it organized. But the use of simple and effective time management techniques can help in getting more done each day. It will not only help manage the time more wisely, but can also help minimize stress and improve the quality of life.

Here are some tips project managers should consider in their day to day work:

Plan each day

Use a Project Log or Diary, and on the first day of the week write a to-do list of all the tasks assigned to you, write next to each item the date when the task is needed. This schedule of the daily activities will help minimize conflicts and last-minute rushes.

  • Prioritize your tasks. Prioritizing the list of task will ensure that time and energy is spent on those tasks that are truly important to the project. Mark the list with a simple code such as “A” for most important, “B” important and “C” less important.
  • Work on essential tasks first. Tasks or activities that are most important to the project (marked as A) should be done first, evaluate the time and ensure you block enough time during the week to do them. See if there is enough time to do some of the tasks labeled as “B”. Until all top priorities have been completed, don't take on less important ones.
  • Delegate. Consider if those activities labeled “B” or “C” in the to-do list can either be postponed or delegated to someone else in the project.
  • Delete non essential tasks. Activities marked a “C” are less important, evaluate if they can either be moved to the next week, or deleted from the list.
  • Know when you work best. Some managers are morning people, while others work better in the afternoon. Know your most productive hours of the day and schedule the priority tasks to work during those hours.
  • Evaluate your progress. Every day revise the to-do-list and see how you're spending your time. Mark tasks as completed and evaluate if the to-do list of tasks need to be re-prioritized, also check for any changes on the due dates.

The 80:20 Rule

The Pareto Principle or the '80:20 Rule' says that typically 80% of effort focused on noncritical tasks generates only 20% of results. This means that the remaining 80% of results are achieved with only 20% of the effort on the critical tasks.  This simple rule explains that by prioritizing and selecting approximately 20% of the task on the to-do list you can achieve 80% of your work.

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