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Managing your time in your project

Time management is essential to successfully organize and manage your life…which by the way may be considered as a project. Time management includes knowledge of how to properly define the activities, sequence the activities, estimate activity resources, estimate activity duration and develop a project schedule.

Defining activities

Each element of the project scope must be supported by an activity or activities that will result in the completion of the work. Defining activities documents the specific activities needed to fulfill the requirements detailed in the project scope.

Each activity describes the work that must be accomplished. The description of each activity must begin with a verb and contain a unique object. Each activity description should be written in a way that describes a specific piece of work. A single person should be responsible for performing the activity. This is not to say that multiple resources may not be required to accomplish the activity, but it does require that a single person is responsible for the performance.

Sequencing activities

Once the activity list is defined, the order in which the activities will be performed must be determined and recorded. The first step to sequencing activities in logical order is to find out whether dependencies exist among the activities. Logical relationships between activities must be sequenced correctly to facilitate the development of realistic and achievable schedules. To avoid creating artificial or incorrect activity relationships, initial activity sequencing should be determined independent of resource availability.

Estimating activity resources

All projects from the smallest to the largest require resources. The physical resource needed to complete a project includes people, equipment, supplies and materials. Estimate activity resource is concerned with determining the types and quantities of human and material resources needed for each schedule activity. Estimate activity resources should be closely coordinated with the estimate costs as resources are typically the largest expense that you will have on any project.

Activity duration estimates

Estimating activity duration looks at the work effort, resources, and number of work periods needed to complete each activity. Estimating activity durations uses information on the activity scope of work, required resource types, estimated resource quantities and resource calendars. Activity duration estimates are the primary output of this process.

These are quantifiable estimates expressed as the number of work periods needed to complete a schedule activity. Work periods are usually expressed in hours or days. Large projects may express duration in weeks or months.

Work periods are the activity duration estimates and they become inputs to developing the schedule. When estimating activity duration, make certain to include all the time that will elapse from the beginning of the activity until the work is completed. Rely on people who are most knowledgeable of the activities you are trying to estimate to help with this process.

Cox is an instructor of project management certification classes at the Bahamas Institute of Financial Services (BIFS), author, President, and CEO of Project Management Solutions Ltd. Contacts;, e-mail Dorcas at [email protected] or on Facebook at Bahamas Project Solutions.

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