In any business, time is the most valuable commodity available, and easily the most squandered one too. The management of time effectively, particularly when a number of employees are working collaboratively on a single project, is critical to the overall success of the project as a whole. It is critical to its delivery on time, and of effective value for money as far as the customer is concerned.
For many years such projects have often been overseen by a project manager. This has involved lists, documents, messages, calls, meetings and other methods of organisation. These can prove almost as time consuming in themselves as the amount of time wasted by the employees on making cups of tea and checking out the latest news headlines, or their inbox.
Today the software market is flooded with a raft of products which are labelled as either time tracking software, time management software or project management software. Effectively, they all have one common goal, and that is to help anyone working on a project to manage their time more effectively. This may refer to a single individual, or a large corporate group of employees, a single day's project or one that may take years to complete.
Such software is designed to be quick and simple to use and maintain, and clear in providing reliable and useful feedback to identify where time could be spent more usefully. It can easily show where elements of the project are as far as deadlines or time frames are concerned. The importance of time management where these collaborative projects are concerned is absolutely critical.
Most of these software products have at their heart the old traditional Gantt diagram. These comprise a series of horizontal bars placed above each other showing the separate elements of a project, running across the overall time frame period allowed. Often each horizontal bar reflects an individual or team working one one part of the whole. These enable anyone at a glance to see how the overall project will come together on time.
Increasingly, these software products are web based. This means that individuals can access the current version of the project plan. They can amend, if necessary, their own parts so that everyone else can be kept up to date on the stages reached.
In today's world it is often the case that people working on a single project can be working in offices many miles away, or even in a different country. In these circumstances where both distance and time zones create communication barriers and delays, web based project management techniques are invaluable. Both Microsoft and hundreds of small software companies have developed solutions to meet this new age of management.
For the individual working for himself at home, such software provides a way of scheduling a range of tasks in a more flexible and visible way than scratched and scribbled notes in a traditional diary. Many of these software products also integrate a facility which monitors the actual use of the computer. So at a glance it is possible to see exactly where the time has gone.
Identifying the amount of time spent checking email, searching Google and playing Tetris compared to getting the work done can be an alarming wake up call to where your time is going.
And you can get your time management systems straightened out with a 7-Part eCourse on Secrets To Better Time Management at http://www.PlanYourTimeNow.com where you will discover a step by step system to eliminate procrastination and get more things done.
Shafir Ahmad is the author of “The Experts Guide to Managing Your Time".