Even though we are project managers, can you relate to having trouble managing your own task with all of the chaos we experience on projects? If so, here are six tips that will help you better manage your own tasks.
#1 – Establish Systems – It’s very important to establish a system that identifies the who, what, when, where and how of task, and to be able to access it online. A system identifies who is responsible, what the task is, when, where and how it is going to be done and that information is baselined on the project plan.
#2 – Perform “Sanity Checks” – Quite often some of the tasks that have gotten on my list don’t even have anything to do with the project. People call or email with things for me to do that can get me off track if I’m not watching closely. At some point I perform a sanity check and ask myself, “Is this related to my project?” I evaluate whether or not it belongs on the project plan, and if it does, I get it incorporated and re-baseline if appropriate.
#3 – Estimate “Realistically” and Re-baseline Promptly – When evaluating a task during a sanity check, be sure to estimate correctly what it will take to get it done. I have gotten tasks that I’ve never done before, tasks that someone else had done in the past or that I did not have the experience or training for, and as result, incorrectly estimated how much time they would take. It’s important to raise those issues, estimate tasks realistically and re-baseline promptly so you don’t get off track in the project.
#4 – Escalate Timely, Call Out for Help – If you have to wait on information from someone else to finish your task, and don’t get it in time, you will be the one on the critical path holding up the project. You need to escalate issues in a timely way.
#5 – Request Support – Again, we can find ourselves working on tasks that we need help or support with, perhaps in getting issues addressed or handled. It’s important to request support when we need it.
#6 – Identify Resources – It is very important to know what we will need. Very often the projects or tasks we are engaged with are new to us. Identify who and what you need to succeed, whether it’s training or someone to assist. You may need to delegate to someone with a required skill set that you don’t have, such as an outside contractor or someone from a different group.
These best practices have helped me manage my own task and keep my projects on track.
If you found these tips from Jennifer Bridges, PMP (formerly, Jennifer Whitt) of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in her self-paced, downloadable courses at PDUs2Go.com.
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