If managing your time or your employees’ time is part of the headache that undoubtedly comes with the thought of project management, then you need to think about these 4 ways to improve time management.
1) Outline the Steps in the Process for the Client
I don’t understand why this doesn’t happen more often. Essentially, it helps to proactively manage the expectation that your prospective client might have for you and your staff. It also helps to navigate the process internally. All you staff should be able to articulate the steps that go into performing your services.
2) Resources Planning Forces Organization
If you have done this service before, look at the historical time tracking. How long does it take to do this? Do you have the steps documented?
Another key question is, does my staff (or I) have the availability to do the work that this project requires? Too often, entrepreneurs will take whatever work with any deadline because they want the business. Properly allocating enough time to complete the project will improve quality and allow for an on time project delivery.
3) Creating Employee Expectations
The expectations you’ve laid out (time, money, etc) with a client shouldn’t be a secret to your staff. If there is 5 hours budgeted for a project, the staff member who’s working on it should know this. They should also know when you (the business owner) expect them to get started on it and when it’s due. Don’t hide information from your employees.
4) Establish Checkpoints and Update Accordingly
Before you even begin a project, establish checkpoint with your clients (and your staff) to avoid missed deadlines. If you have a 5 week project maybe have a check point at the end of each week with your staff and give the client that update. This will build accountability with your staff and provide transparency to your client. Also, having strong check points should eliminate missing deadlines altogether. If you missed a checkpoint, update the client immediately with what happened and how it’s going to be fixed.
Don’t be afraid to tell a client when a request is out of scope. Too often, entrepreneurs don’t want to face conflict, but doing work that is above and beyond an original scope of work will damage your time line, project profitability, and, most importantly, your reputation.