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Managing Time and Scope in Project Management

Jul 13, 2008
Two other important factors in successful project management is the strategic definition of the project's scope and time deadlines.

Since a project, is by definition, a specific target of a completed work within a specified time period, it is crucial to be able to harmonize the scope and the time period properly. You will need sufficient time to enable you to accomplish your objectives without sacrificing quality, and yet speedily enough without having to sacrifice quality. Nobody, of course, will want to invest in a project that takes too long to complete.

Time

There are several techniques by which to estimate time periods. Essentially, most of these techniques involve the breaking down of specific or particular tasks into smaller manageable units and assigning a time period for their completion.

This time estimation, however, must take into consideration the resources available to you like people, equipment and materials. A general leeway for unexpected events such as people calling in sick or deliverables not being delivered on time should be at hand.

Once you are able to breakdown the project into manageable tasks, it is easy enough to create specific timelines for each task. This can help ensure that the project is being performed on time, according to the gradual performance of each particular stage involved.

Taken together, the total time constraints can give a general idea of the entire duration of the project. Thus, you can reasonably estimate when a project might be completed and whether expenses might shoot up in the meantime or whether the project itself is still a feasible undertaking years later when it is finally completed.

Scope

This is the broad overview of what the entire project seeks to accomplish. While mainly it refers to the project itself, an often overlooked factor is the quality of the end-product, considering all the other resources that have been invested into it, such as time, money, equipments and people skills.

Hence, given a particular time period, it is perhaps better to shoot for a more reasonable target or goal. Although this might mean a greatly diminished scope of the project, if it is the best that can be done given all the other factors, then it would be best to adjust accordingly. No big project that takes so much to bring to completion should needlessly compromise what could otherwise be superior quality. In fact, exceptional quality in the end result could be the proper justification for all the time and effort put into it in the first place.

Identify the risk factors

Part of good project management is the ability to adapt to changing circumstances over the time period within which the project is being completed. This means being able to forecast or predict sudden changes - either in the market, in the social and political landscape, and even natural and environmental factors that might adversely affect the project's completion.

Hence, if for example the rainy season is coming up, be sure to factor in the reality that some days might not be especially fruitful for a construction project, for instance. The appropriate measures should also be taken to ensure that half-completed work will not suffer from the elements and should not be susceptible to ruin or damage in the meantime.
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Benedict Smythe recommends PDL Courses for training in most professional skills including assertiveness skills and Supervisory Management skills
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