I find it a bit difficult to write this article because advising project managers on how to do their job better, is hard. First of all, every project is different so there really isn’t one solution to fit all. Second of all, these guys tell other people how to do their job for a living, so it’s a pretty tough audience.
There is one thing I know for sure about Project Managers. They are always busy! Even as an editor, I find myself with twenty tabs opened and have 3 ongoing conversations on Slack while emailing everybody and their brother. What’s even worse, is knowing that there are still lots of things you need to complete and at the end of the day, you might not feel satisfied with the amount of work you have completed. It’s just a lot to deal with and this amount of work can get stressful relatively quickly.
Long story short, being a project manager isn’t easy.
However, there are a few tools and techniques that can make your life tremendously easier. It all comes down to three key aspects.
- How you manage your time
- How you manage other people’s time
- How to get a bird’s eye view on your project.
Paymo has been around for quite a while now. The company started in 2008 as a time tracking app and has evolved into a full-featured online project management software. They have clients in more than 50 countries, and the application is available in 18 languages – most of the clients are small and medium design and creative agencies in the US, UK and Canada. The reason why we choose them over other their competitors is because these guys are constantly developing their platform to deliver the best project management experience. And of course, because of this page, which is freaking awesome!
Now, let me show you how to cover those three steps I was mentioning earlier using Paymo.
1.How you manage your time
Managing your own time and resources is sometimes uncomfortable. It can make yourself conscious knowing how much time you slacked on Facebook, or how often you get distracted. However, if you are a professional slacker, like I tend to be, tracking your time is absolutely essential. The thing is, if you know how your time is passing by, you will know what to and what not to prioritize.
As Patric Kreidler from Power Digital Marketing said:
One big difficulty I have found in being an effective Project Manager day-to-day is figuring out what the best method for tackling work that comes up unexpectedly, or “fires” as we call them. Usually, Project Managers that perform well are extremely organized (since at an agency especially they are dealing with multiple accounts or clients), and have a method for prioritizing their workflow. The complication becomes figuring out how to re-prioritize your existing work when something unexpected comes up, while still getting it all done and staying on schedule. For example, if you have a full day of optimizations, meetings, tasks and work blocks, and then an urgent client request or “fire” comes up – it can become difficult to figure out how to re-arrange your day while still getting everything done that you planned on, without working a few extra hours to make up for it. Ad-hoc work will typically be thrown at your because it’s urgent, so naturally it takes precedence. But, when that work is pushed to the “top” of your workflow, how do you rearrange the rest of your day’s work in a strategic and effective way? This part takes a lot of critical thinking and organization, but is so necessary for maintaining your productivity and sanity in the process!”
This isn’t just his pain point, a lot of project managers deal with this and it takes a lot of determination and a good understanding of your project to know how to address this.
What I recommend using for keeping everything in order is the plain old timesheet.
Being able to plan on the go is also really important. What’s great about Paymo is that any changes you’re making while working offline on your Paymo mobile apps will be automatically synchronized with your online account when you connect to the Internet.
(Apparently, they’re are big fans of “The office”)
2.How you manage other people’s time
Time tracking is so much more than just keeping an eye on the work time. It goes beyond that, and it has a deep impact on someone’s work performance. Time tracking works on two levels. First, you and the people in charge will get a deeper knowledge on how the team is spending their time and how to optimize it. Secondly, your team, and each employee can boost their productivity by being aware of how their time is being spent and know how long it takes to complete a task. For those who work under a SCRUM workflow time might not be a metric you follow, but it is definitely helpful when planning.
Without a doubt, abuse of time tracking software does occur and good people do pay the price. When properly and ethically used, however, time tracking software can actually be very beneficial to employer and employee alike. How so? What are some of the ways that time tracking can benefit both parties?
Paymo covers this aspect like a champ. You can track the time you spend on different tasks by using their time tracker and then add each task in your Gantt looking timesheet. You can use their time tracking desktop app, mobile apps, web timer and Paymo Plus which automatically tracks everything you do on your computer.
3.How to get a bird’s eye view on your project
Let’s not forget that a project manager might also reports to a CEO, or someone of a higher function. Therefore, being able to create reports with the team’s status is absolutely crucial for every manager.
What I love about Paymo is that it allows you to create, assign, plan and schedule tasks, collaborate in real time with co-workers, accurately and automatically track work time, create time reports and issue invoices to the client.
What is more, you can get a quick high-level view of the entire portfolio with the Table View in your “Projects” list.
In project management, it’s really important to understand that you are working with humans who have their own weakness and strengths. I asked Chas from The CEO’s Navigator how he views project management, and his answer was mind-blowing.
Honestly the hardest part is having executives and managers understand we are dealing with people not ‘mules in a mule train’ who are all standard and do the same thing the same way. I find top leaders and especially the CEOs forget that their company is simply a Rorschach Test of themselves, the team has carefully mirrored both their good and not so good qualities. So the biggest piece is getting the CEO to change his or her behavior first in the right ways and then changing the power dynamic to have the team responsible for driving the company to make more money daily not having the CEO drive it so hard by themselves – which is the root causality of the problem needing repair.
from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/how-to-manage-a-project-and-not-lose-your-mind-while-doing-it/