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Time Management Case Study

Managing projects within time, cost, and performance is easier said than done. The project management environment is extremely turbulent and is composed of numerous meetings, report writing, conflict resolution, continuous planning and replanning, customer communications, and crisis management.

To manage all of these activities requires that the project manager and team members effectively manage their time each day. Some people are morning people and soon learn they are more productive in the morning than afternoon. Others are afternoon people. Knowing your own energy cycle is important. Also, good project managers realize that not all of the activities that they are asked to do are their responsibility.

Time Management Exercise

Effective time management is one of the most difficult chores facing even the most experienced managers. For a manager who manages well-planned repetitive tasks, effective time management can be accomplished without very much pain. But for a project manager who must plan, schedule, and control resources and activities on unique, one-of-a-kind projects or tasks, effective time management may not be possible because of the continuous stream of unexpected problems that develop.

This exercise is designed to make you aware of the difficulties of time management both in a traditional organization and in a project environment. Before beginning the exercise, you must make the following assumptions concerning the nature of the project:

  • You are the project manager on a project for an outside customer.
  • The project is estimated at $3.5 million with a time span of two years.
  • The two-year time span is broken down into three phases: Phase I—one year, beginning February 1; Phase II—six months; Phase III—six months. You are now at the end of Phase I. (Phases I and II overlap by approximately two weeks. You are now in the Monday of the next to the last week of Phase I.) Almost all of the work has been completed.
  • Your project employs thirty-five to sixty people, depending on the phase that you are in.
  • You, as the project manager, have three full-time assistant project managers that report directly to you in the project office; an assistant project manager each for engineering, cost control, and manufacturing. (Material procurement is included as part of the responsibilities of the manufacturing assistant project manager.)
  • Phase I appears to be proceeding within the time, cost, and performance constraints.
  • You have a scheduled team meeting for each Wednesday from 10 A.M. to 12 noon. The meeting will be attended by all project office team members and the functional team members from all participating line organizations. Line managers are not team members and therefore do not show up at team meetings. It would be impossible for them to show up at the team meetings for all projects and still be able to function as a line manager. Even when requested, they may not show up at the team meeting because it is not effective time management for them to show up for a two-hour meeting simply to discuss ten minutes of business. (Disregard the possibility that a team meeting agenda could resolve this problem.)

It is now Monday morning and you are home eating breakfast, waiting for your car pool to pick you up. As soon as you enter your office, you will be informed about problems, situations, tasks, and activities that have to be investigated. Your problem will be to accomplish effective time management for this entire week based on the problems and situations that occur.

You will take each day one at a time. You will be given ten problems and/or situations that will occur for each day, and the time necessary for resolution. You must try to optimize your time for each of the next five days and get the maximum amount of productive work accomplished. Obviously, the word “productive” can take on several meanings. You must determine what is meant by productive work. For the sake of simplicity, let us assume that your energy cycle is such that you can do eight hours of productive work in an eight-hour day. You do not have to schedule idle time, except for lunch. However, you must be aware that in a project environment, the project manager occasionally becomes the catchall for all work that line managers, line personnel, and even executives do not feel like accomplishing.

Following the ten tasks for each day, you will find a worksheet that breaks down each day into half-hour blocks between 9:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. Your job will be to determine which of the tasks you wish to accomplish during each halfhour block. The following assumptions are made in scheduling work:

  • Because of car pool requirements, overtime is not permitted.
  • Family commitments for the next week prevent work at home. Therefore, you will not schedule any work after 5:00 P.M.
  • The project manager is advised of the ten tasks as soon as he arrives at work.

The first step in the solution to the exercise is to establish the priorities for each activity based on:

  • Priority A: This activity is urgent and must be completed today.

(However, some A priorities can be withheld until the team meeting.) Priority B: This activity is important but not necessarily urgent. Priority C: This activity can be delayed, perhaps indefinitely.

Fill in the space after each activity as to the appropriate priority. Next, you must determine which of the activities you have time to accomplish for this day. You have either seven or seven and one-half hours to use for effective time management, depending on whether you want a half-hour or a full hour for lunch.

You have choices as to how to accomplish each of the activities. These choices are shown below:

  • You can do the activity yourself (Symbol Y).
  • You can delegate the responsibility to one of your assistant project managers (Symbol D). If you use this technique, you can delegate only one hour’s worth of your work to each of your assistants without incurring a penalty. The key word here is that you are delegating your If the task that you wish to delegate is one that the assistant project manager would normally perform, then it does not count toward the one hour’s worth of your work. This type of work is transmittal work and will be discussed below. For example, if you wish to delegate five hours of work to one of your assistant project managers and four of those hours are activities that would normally be his responsibility, then no penalty will be assessed. You are actually transmitting four hours and delegating one. You may assume that whatever work you assign to an assistant project manager will be completed on the day it is assigned, regardless of the priority.
  • Many times, the project manager and his team are asked to perform work that is normally the responsibility of someone else, say, an executive or a line manager. As an example, a line employee states that he doesn’t have sufficient time to write a report and he wants you to do it, since you are the project manager. These types of requests can be returned to the requestor since they normally do not fall within the project manager’s responsibilities. You may, therefore, select one of the following four choices:
  • You can return the activity request back to the originator, whether line manager, executive, or subordinate, since it is not your responsibility (Symbol R). Of course, you might want to do this activity, if you have time, in order to build up good will with the requestor.
  • Many times, work that should be requested of an assistant project manager is automatically sent to the project manager. In this case, the project manager will automatically transmit this work to the appropriate assistant project manager (Symbol T). As before, if the project manager feels that he has sufficient time available or if his assistants are burdened, he may wish to do the work himself. Work that is normally the responsibility of an assistant project manager is transmitted, not delegated. Thus the project manager can transmit four hours of work (T) and still delegate one hour of work (D) to the same assistant project manager without incurring any penalty.
  • You can postpone work from one day to the next (Symbol P). As an example, you decide that you want to accomplish a given Monday activity but do not have sufficient time. You can postpone the activity until Tuesday. If you do not have sufficient time on Tuesday, you may then decide to transmit (T) the activity to one of your assistants, delegate (D) the activity to one of your assistants, return (R) the activity to the requestor, or postpone (P) the activity another day. Postponing activities can be a trap. On Monday you decide to postpone a category B priority. On Tuesday, the activity may become a category A priority and you have no time to accomplish it. If you make a decision to postpone an activity from Monday to Tuesday and find that you have made a mistake by not performing this activity on Monday, you cannot go back in time and correct the situation.
  • You can simply consider the activity as unnecessary and avoid doing it (Symbol A).

After you have decided which activities you will perform each day, place them in the appropriate time slot based on your own energy cycle. Later we will discuss energy cycles and the order of the activities accomplished each day. You will find one worksheet for each day. The worksheets follow the ten daily situations and/or problems.

Repeat the procedure for each of the five days. Remember to keep track of the activities that are carried over from the previous days. Several of the problems can be resolved by more than one method. If you are thoroughly trapped between two or more choices on setting priorities or modes of resolution, then write a note or two to justify your answer in space beneath each activity.

SCORING SYSTEM

Briefly look at the work plan for one of the days. Under the column labeled “priority,” the ten activities for each day are listed. You must first identify the priorities for each activity. Next, under the column labeled “method,” you must select the method of accomplishment according to the legend at the bottom of the page. At the same time, you must fill in the activities you wish to perform yourself under the “accomplishment” column in the appropriate time slot because your method for accomplishment may be dependent on whether you have sufficient time to accomplish the activity.

Notice that there is a space provided for you to keep track of activities that have been carried over. This means that if you have three activities on Monday’s list that you wish to carry over until Tuesday, then you must turn to Tuesday’s work plan and record these activities so that you will not forget.

You will not score any points until you complete Friday’s work plan. Using the scoring sheets that follow Friday’s work plan, you can return to the daily work plans and fill in the appropriate points. You will receive either positive points or negative points for each decision that you make. Negative points should be subtracted when calculating totals.

After completing the work plans for all five days, fill in the summary work plan that follows and be prepared to answer the summary questions.

You will not be told at this time how the scoring points will be awarded because it may affect your answers.

Monday’s Activities

Activity

Description

Priority

1.

The detailed schedules for Phase II must be updated prior to Thursday’s meeting with the customer. (Time 1 hr)

_____

2.

The manufacturing manager calls you and states that he cannot find a certain piece of equipment for tomorrow’s production run test. (Time 1⁄2 hr)

_____

3.

The local university has a monthly distinguished lecturer series scheduled for 3–5 P.M. today. You have been directed by the vice president to attend and hear the lecture. The company will give you a car. Driving time to the university is one hour. (Time 3 hrs)

_____

4.

A manufacturer’s representative wants to call on you today to show you why his product is superior to the one that you are now using. (Time 1⁄2 hr)

_____

5.

You must write a two-page weekly status report for the vice president. Report is due on his desk by 1:00 P.M. Wednesday. (Time 1 hr)

_____

6.

A vice president calls you and suggests that you contact one of the other project managers about obtaining a uniform structure for the weekly progress reports.

(Time 1⁄2 hr)

_____

7.

A functional manager calls to inform you that, due to a

_____

9:00–9:30

Accomplishment

Activity

9:30–10:00

10:00–10:30

10:30–11:00

11:00–11:30

11:30–12:00

12:00–12:30

12:30–1:00

1:00–1:30

1:30–2:00

2:00–2:30

2:30–3:00

3:00–3:30

3:30–4:00

4:00–4:30

4:30–5:00

Total

Activities Postponed Until Today

Today’s Priority

Points

Priority Points

Method Points

Accomplishment Points

Today’s Points

Legend

Method of Accomplishment:

Y = you

D = delegate T = transmit

R = return

A = avoid

P = postpone

Monday

schedule slippage on another project, your beginning milestones on Phase II may slip to the right because his people will not be available. He wants to know if you can look at the detailed schedules and modify them.

(Time 2 hr)

8. The director of personnel wants to know if you have reviewed the three resumes that he sent you last week. He would like your written comments by quitting time today.

(Time 1 hr)

_____

9. One of your assistant project managers asks you to review a detailed Phase III schedule that appears to have errors. (Time 1 hr)

_____

10. The procurement department calls with a request that you tell them approximately how much money you plan to spend on raw materials for Phase III. (Time 1⁄2 hr)

Tuesday’s Activities

_____

Activity

Description

Priority

11.

A functional manager calls you wanting to know if his people should be scheduled for overtime next week.

(Time 1⁄2 hr)

_____

12.

You have a safety board meeting today from 1–3 P.M. and must review the agenda. (Time 21⁄2 hrs)

_____

13.

Because of an impending company cash flow problem, your boss has asked you for the detailed monthly labor expenses for the next three months. (Time 2 hrs)

_____

14.

The vice president has just called to inform you that two congressmen will be visiting the plant today and you are requested to conduct the tour of the facility from 3–5 P.M.

(Time 2 hrs)

_____

15.

You have developed a new policy for controlling overtime costs on Phase II. You must inform your people either by memo, phone, or team meeting. (Time 1⁄2 hr)

_____

16.

You must sign and review twenty-five purchase order

_____

requisitions for Phase III raw materials. It is company policy that the project manager sign all forms. Almost all of the items require a three-month lead time. (Time 1 hr)

  1. The engineering division manager has asked you to assist _____ one of his people this afternoon in the solution of a technical problem. You are not required to do this. It would be as a personal favor for the engineering

9:00–9:30

Accomplishment

Activity

9:30–10:00

10:00–10:30

10:30–11:00

11:00–11:30

11:30–12:00

12:00–12:30

12:30–1:00

1:00–1:30

1:30–2:00

2:00–2:30

2:30–3:00

3:00–3:30

3:30–4:00

4:00–4:30

4:30–5:00

Total

Activities Postponed Until Today

Today’s Priority

Points

Priority Points

Method Points

Accomplishment Points

Today’s Points

Legend

Method of Accomplishment:

Y = you

D = delegate T = transmit

R = return

A = avoid

P = postpone

Tuesday

manager, a man to whom you reported for the six years that you were an engineering functional manager.

(Time 2 hrs)

18. The data processing department manager informs you that the company is trying to eliminate unnecessary reports. He would like you to tell him which reports you can do without. (Time 1⁄2 hr)

_____

19. The assistant project manager for cost informs you that

he does not know how to fill out the revised corporate project review form. (Time 1⁄2 hr)

_____

20. One of the functional managers wants an immediate explanation of why the scope of effort for Phase II was changed this late into the project and why he wasn’t informed. (Time 1 hr)

Wednesday’s Activities

_____

Activity

Description

Priority

21.

A vice president calls you stating that he has just read the rough draft of your Phase I report and wants to discuss some of the conclusions with you before the report is submitted to the customer on Thursday. (Time 2 hrs)

_____

22.

The reproduction department informs you that they are expecting the final version of the in-house quarterly report for your project by noon today. The report is on your desk waiting for final review. (Time 1 hr)

_____

23.

The manufacturing department manager calls to say that they may have to do more work than initially defined in Phase II. A meeting is requested. (Time 1 hr)

_____

24.

Quality control sends you a memo stating that, unless changes are made, they will not be able to work with the engineering specifications developed for Phase III. A meeting will be required with all assistant project managers in attendance. (Time 1 hr)

_____

25.

A functional manager calls to tell you that the raw data from yesterday’s tests are terrific and invites you to come up to the laboratory and see the results yourself.

(Time 1 hr)

_____

26.

Your assistant project manager is having trouble resolving a technical problem. The functional manager wants to deal with you directly. This problem must be resolved by Friday or else a major Phase II milestone might slip.

(Time 1 hr)

_____

9:00–9:30

Accomplishment

Activity

9:30–10:00

10:00–10:30

10:30–11:00

11:00–11:30

11:30–12:00

12:00–12:30

12:30–1:00

1:00–1:30

1:30–2:00

2:00–2:30

2:30–3:00

3:00–3:30

3:30–4:00

4:00–4:30

4:30–5:00

Total

Activities Postponed Until Today

Today’s Priority

Points

Priority Points

Method Points

Accomplishment Points

Today’s Points

Legend

Method of Accomplishment:

Y = you

D = delegate T = transmit

R = return

A = avoid

P = postpone

Wednesday

27. You have a technical interchange meeting with the customer scheduled for 1–3 P.M. on Thursday, and must review the handout before it goes to publication. The reproduction department has requested at least twelve hours’ notice. (Time 1 hr)

28. You have a weekly team meeting from 10 A.M. to 12 noon (Time 2 hrs)

_____

29. You must dictate minutes to your secretary concerning your weekly team meeting which is held on Wednesday 10 A.M. to 12 noon (Time 1⁄2 hr)

_____

30. A new project problem has occurred in the manufacturing area and your manufacturing functional team members are reluctant to make a decision. (Time 1 hr)

Thursday’s Activities

_____

Activity

Description

Priority

31

The electrical engineering department informs you that they have completed some Phase II activities ahead of schedule and want to know if you wish to push any other activities to the left. (Time 1 hr)

_____

32.

The assistant project manager for cost informs you that the corporate overhead rate is increasing faster than anticipated. If this continues, severe cost overruns will occur in Phases II and III. A schedule and cost review is necessary. (Time 2 hrs)

_____

33.

Your insurance man is calling to see if you wish to increase your life insurance. (Time 1⁄2 hr)

_____

34.

You cannot find one of last week’s manufacturing line manager’s technical reports as to departmental project status. You’ll need it for the customer technical interchange meeting. (Time 1⁄2 hr)

_____

35.

One of your car pool members wants to talk to you concerning next Saturday’s golf tournament. (Time

1⁄2 hr)

_____

36.

A functional manager calls to inform you that, due to a change in his division’s workload priorities, people with the necessary technical expertise may not be available for next week’s Phase II tasks. (Time 2 hrs)

_____

37.

An employee calls you stating that he is receiving conflicting instructions from one of your assistant project managers and his line manager. (Time 1 hr)

_____

9:00–9:30

Accomplishment

Activity

9:30–10:00

10:00–10:30

10:30–11:00

11:00–11:30

11:30–12:00

12:00–12:30

12:30–1:00

1:00–1:30

1:30–2:00

2:00–2:30

2:30–3:00

3:00–3:30

3:30–4:00

4:00–4:30

4:30–5:00

Total

Activities Postponed Until Today

Today’s Priority

Points

Priority Points

Method Points

Accomplishment Points

Today’s Points

Legend

Method of Accomplishment:

Y = you

D = delegate T = transmit

R = return

A = avoid

P = postpone

Thursday

38. The customer has requested bimonthly instead of monthly team meetings for Phase II. You must decide whether to add an additional project office team member to support the added workload. (Time 1⁄2 hr)

39. Your secretary reminds you that you must make a presentation to the Rotary Club tonight on how your project will affect the local economy. You must prepare your speech. (Time 2 hrs)

_____

40. The bank has just called you concerning your personal loan. The information is urgent to get loan approval in time. (Time 1⁄2 hr)

Friday’s Activities

_____

Activity

Description

Priority

41.

An assistant project manager has asked for your solution to a recurring problem. (Time 1⁄2 hr)

_____

42.

A functional employee is up for a merit review. You must fill out a brief checklist form and discuss it with the employee. The form must be on the functional manager’s desk by next Tuesday. (Time 1⁄2 hr)

_____

43.

The personnel department wants you to review the summer vacation schedule for your project office personnel. (Time 1⁄2 hr)

_____

44.

The vice president calls you into his office stating that he has seen the excellent test results from this week’s work, and feels that a follow-on contract should be considered. He wants to know if you can develop reasonable justification for requesting a follow-on contract at this early date. (Time 1 hr)

_____

45.

The travel department says that you’ll have to make your own travel arrangements for next month’s trip to one of the customers, since you are taking a planned vacation trip in conjunction with the customer visit. (Time

1⁄2 hr)

_____

46.

The personnel manager has asked if you would be willing to conduct a screening interview for an applicant who wants to be an assistant project manager. The applicant will be available this afternoon 1–2 P.M. (Time 1 hr)

_____

47.

Your assistant project manager wants to know why you haven’t approved his request to take MBA courses this quarter. (Time 1⁄2 hr)

_____

9:00–9:30

Accomplishment

Activity

9:30–10:00

10:00–10:30

10:30–11:00

11:00–11:30

11:30–12:00

12:00–12:30

12:30–1:00

1:00–1:30

1:30–2:00

2:00–2:30

2:30–3:00

3:00–3:30

3:30–4:00

4:00–4:30

4:30–5:00

Total

Activities Postponed Until Today

Today’s Priority

Points

Priority Points

Method Points

Accomplishment Points

Today’s Points

Legend

Method of Accomplishment:

Y = you

D = delegate T = transmit

R = return

A = avoid

P = postpone

Friday

Rationale and Point Awards

Activity

48.

Your assistant project manager wants to know if he has the authority to visit vendors without informing procurement. (Time 1⁄2 hr)

49.

You have just received your copy of Engineering Review Quarterly and would like to look it over. (Time 1⁄2 hr)

_____

50.

You have been asked to make a statement before the

_____

grievance committee (this Friday, 10 A.M. to 12 noon) because one of the functional employees has complained about working overtime on Sunday mornings. You’ll have to be in attendance for the entire meeting. (Time 2 hrs)

RATIONALE AND POINT AWARDS

In the answers that follow, your recommendations may differ from those of the author because of the type of industry or the nature of the project. You will be given the opportunity to defend your answers at a later time.

  1. If you selected the correct priority according to the table on pages375–376, then the following system should be employed for awarding points:

Priority

Points

A

10

B

5

C

3

  1. If you selected the correct accomplishment mode according to the tableon pages 375–376, then the following system should be employed for assigning points:

Method of Accomplishment

Points

Y

10

T

10

P

8

D

8

A

6

  1. You will receive 10 bonus points for each correctly postponed or delayedactivity accomplished during the team meeting.
  2. You will receive 5 points for each half-hour time slot in which you per-form a priority A activity (one that is correctly identified as priority A).
  3. You will receive a 10-point penalty for any activity that is split.
  4. You will receive a 20-point penalty for each priority A or B activity notaccomplished by you or your team by Friday at 5:00 P.M.

Activity Rationale

  1. The updating of schedules, especially for Phase II, should be of prime importance because of the impact on functional resources. These schedules can be delegated to assistant project managers. However, with a team meeting scheduled for Wednesday, it should be an easy task to update the schedules when all of the players are present. The updating of the schedules should not be delayed until Thursday. Sufficient time must be allocated for close analysis and reproduction services.
  2. This must be done immediately. Your assistant project manager for manufacturing should be able to handle this activity.
  3. You must handle this yourself.
  4. Here, we assume that the representative is available only today. The assistant project managers can handle this activity. This activity may be important if you were unaware of this vendor’s product.
  5. This could be delegated to your assistants provided that you allow sufficient time for personal review on Wednesday.
  6. Delaying this activity for one more week should not cause any problems. This activity can be delegated.
  7. You must take charge at once.
  8. Even though your main concern is the project, you still must fulfill your company’s administrative requirements.
  9. This can be delayed until Wednesday’s team meeting, especially since these are Phase III schedules. However, there is no guarantee that line people will be ready or knowledgeable to discuss Phase III this early. You will probably have to do this yourself.
  10. The procurement request must be answered. Your assistant project manager for manufacturing should have this information available.
  11. This is urgent and should not be postponed until the team meeting. Good project managers will give functional managers as much information as possible as early as possible for resource control. This task can be delegated to the assistant project managers, but it is not recommended.
  12. This belongs to the project manager. The agenda review and the meeting can be split, but it is not recommended.
  13. This must be done immediately. The results could severely limit your resources (especially if overtime would normally be required). Although your assistant project managers will probably be involved, the majority of the work is yours.

Rationale and Point Awards

Activity Rationale

  1. Most project managers hate a request like this but know that situations such as this are inevitable.
  2. Project policies should be told by the project manager himself. Policy changes should be announced as early as possible. Team meetings are appropriate for such actions.
  3. Obviously, the project manager must do this task himself.

Fortunately, there is sufficient time if the lead times are accurate.

  1. The priority of this activity is actually your choice, but an A priority is preferred if you have time. This activity cannot be delegated.
  2. This activity must be done, but the question is when. Parts of this task can be delegated, but the final decision must be made by the project manager.
  3. Obviously you must do this yourself. Your priority, of course, depends on the deadline on the corporate project review form.
  4. The project manager must perform this activity immediately.
  5. Top-level executives from both the customer and contractor often communicate project status among themselves. Therefore, since the conclusions in the report reflect corporate policy, this activity should be accomplished immediately.
  6. The reproduction department considers each job as a project and therefore you should try not to violate their milestones. This activity can be delegated, depending on the nature of the report.
  7. This could have a severe impact on your program. Although you could delegate this to one of your assistants, you should do this yourself because of the ramifications.
  8. This must be done, and the team meeting is the ideal place.
  9. You, personally, should give the functional manager the courtesy of showing you his outstanding results. However, it is not a high priority and could even be delegated or postponed since you’ll see the data eventually.
  10. The question here is the importance of the problem. The problem must be resolved by Thursday in case an executive meeting needs to be scheduled to establish company direction. Waiting until the last minute can be catastrophic here.
  11. The project manager should personally review all data presented to the customer. Check Thursday’s schedule. Did you forget the interchange meeting?
  12. This is your show.
  13. This should be done immediately. Nonparticipants need to know the project status. The longer you wait, the greater the risk that you will neglect something important. This activity can be delegated, but it is not recommended.

Activity Rationale

  1. You may have to solve this yourself even though you have an assistant project manager for manufacturing. The decision may affect the schedule and miletones.
  2. Activities such as this do not happen very often. But when they do, the project manager should make the most of them, as fast as he can. These are gold mine activities. They can be delegated, but not postponed.
  3. If this activity is not accomplished immediately, the results can be catastrophic. Regardless of the project manager’s first inclination to delegate, this activity should be done by the project manager himself.
  4. This activity can be postponed or even avoided, if necessary.
  5. Obviously, if the report is that important, then your assistant project managers should have copies of the report and the activity can be delegated.
  6. This activity should be discussed in the car pool, not on company time.
  7. This is extremely serious. The line manager would probably prefer to work directly with the project manager on this problem.
  8. This is an activity that you should handle. Transmitting this to one of your assistants may aggravate the situation further. Although it is possible that this activity could be postponed, it is highly unlikely that time would smooth out the conflict.
  9. This is a decision for the project manager. Extreme urgency may not be necessary.
  10. Project managers also have a social responsibility.
  11. The solution to this activity is up for grabs. Most companies realize that employees occasionally need company time to complete personal business.
  12. Why is he asking you about a recurring problem? How did he solve it last time? Let him do it again.
  13. You must do this personally, but it can wait until Monday.
  14. This activity is not urgent and can be accomplished by your assistant project managers.
  15. This could be your lucky day.
  16. Although most managers would prefer to delegate this activity to their secretaries, it is really the responsibility of the project manager since it involves personal business.
  17. This is an example of an administrative responsibility that is required of all personnel regardless of the job title or management level. This activity must be accomplished today, if time permits.

PRIORITY/ACCOMPLISHMENT MODE

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Activity

Prior.

Accom.

Prior.

Accom.

Prior.

Accom.

Prior.

Accom.

Prior.

Accom.

1

B

D,Y,T,P

B

D,Y,T,P

A

D,Y,T

2

A

D,Y,T

3

A

Y

4

A/B

D,Y,T

5

B

D,Y,P

B

D,Y,P

A

D,Y

6

B

D,Y,P

B

D,Y,P

B

D,Y,P

B

D,Y,P

B

D,Y,P

7

A

Y

8

A

Y

9

B

Y,P

B

Y,P

A

Y

10

B

Y,T,P

B

Y,T,P

B

Y,T,P

B

Y,T,P

B

Y,T,P

11

A

D,Y,T

12

A

Y

13

A

Y,P

14

A

Y

15

B

P,Y

A

Y

16

B

Y,P

B

Y,P

B

Y,P

B

Y,P

17

C

A,Y

18

B/C

D,Y,P

B

D,Y,P

B

D,Y,P

B

D,Y,P

(continues)

657

PRIORITY/ACCOMPLISHMENT MODE (Continued)

19

A/B

Y,P

A/B

Y,P

A/B

Y,P

A/B

Y,P

20

A

Y

21

A

Y

22

A

D,Y

23

A

D,Y,T

24

A

Y

25

B

Y,T,P,D

B

Y,T,P,D

B

Y,T,P,R

26

B

Y

A

Y

27

A

Y

28

A

Y

29

A

Y,D

30

A

Y,T

31

A

Y,D

32

A

Y

33

C

Y,P

C

Y,P

34

A

Y,T

35

C

A,P

C

A,P

36

A

Y,T

37

A

Y

38

B

Y,P

B

Y,P

39

A

Y

PRIORITY/ACCOMPLISHMENT MODE (Continued)

40

A

Y

41

A/B

R

42

B

Y,P

43

B

Y,P,D

44

A

Y

45

B

Y,P

46

A

Y,T,D

47

A

Y

48

B

Y,T,P,D,R

49

C

Y,P,A

50

A

Y

TIME MANAGEMENT EXERCISE

  1. Although you might consider this as a B priority or one that can be postponed, you must remember that your assistant project manager considers this as an A priority and would like an answer today. You are morally obligated to give him the answer today.
  2. Why can’t he get the answer himself? Whether or not you handle this activity might depend on the priority and how much time you have available.
  3. How important is it for you to review the publication?
  4. This is mandatory attendance on your behalf. You have total responsibility for all overtime scheduled on your project. You may wish to bring one of your assistant project managers with you for moral support.

Now take the total points for each day and complete the following table:

Summary Work Plan

Day

Points

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Total

CONCLUSIONS AND SUMMARY QUESTIONS

  1. Project managers have a tendency to want to carry the load themselves, even if it means working sixty hours a week. You were told to do everything within your normal working day. But, as a potentially good project manager, you probably have the natural tendency of wanting to postpone some work until a later date so that you can do it yourself. Doing the activities, when they occur, even through transmittal or delegation, is probably the best policy. You might wish to do the same again at a later time and see if you can beat your present score. Only this time, try to do as many tasks as possible on each day, even if it means delegation.
  1. Several of the activities were company, not project, requests. Project managers have a tendency to avoid administrative responsibilities unless it deals directly with their project. This process of project management “tunnel vision” can lead to antagonism and conflicts if the proper attitude is not developed on the part of the project manager. This can easily carry down to his assistants as well.
  2. Several of the activities could have been returned to the requestor. However, ina project environment where the project manager cannot be successful without the functional manager’s support, most project managers would never turn away a line employee’s request for assistance.
  3. Make a list of the activities where your answers differ from those of the answer key and where you feel that there exists sufficient justification for your interpretation.
  4. Quite often self-productivity can be increased by knowing one’s own energy cycle. Are your more important meetings in the mornings or afternoons? What time of day do you perform your most productive work? When do you do your best writing? Does your energy cycle vary according to the day of the week?

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