A major survey, of 2,500 businesses in 38 countries over a period of 4 years, has found that poor management planning costs UK businesses £80bn per year. 90% of global senior executives and project management experts believe that good personal project management is the answer. So we have listed below some of the best tools and techniques that IT professionals can adopt to help deliver impressive personal results and stand out from the less efficient crowd.
Research by Price Waterhouse Cooper has found that the use of project management software increases both performance and satisfaction. There are many free project management applications to take advantage of, including freedcamp; an online application that allows you to create lists or cards of your tasks, prioritise them and move them into completion. The website allows users to build a calendar to keep track of projects as well as upload relevant documents and discuss the tasks with colleagues.
Trello is another free option with a layout to suit those who like to use post-it-notes or cards to organise their tasks. As well as the usual tools and delegation of work capability, Trello comes as a mobile application and also provides the useful feature of inviting users to view task boards to understand how a project is progressing.
Personal Management Systems
Personal management systems are popular amongst many professionals for having a positive impact on both time and stress management. Expert Josh Patrick states that the benefits of implementing a system include:
- completing three to four times more work in the same time
- spending less time remembering every task that needs to be completed
- easier identification of the most important tasks
- effective identification of projects that are behind schedule for improved communication and resolution
One of the most popular systems is David Allen’s ‘getting things done’, which has been integrated into many applications and planners. The principle is based on five steps: capture, clarify, organise, reflect, and engage. The purpose is to collate random tasks, thoughts and goals into a single organised system.
The ABC-123 system is another widely used and simple technique for prioritising tasks, with the most important and urgent ‘A’ tasks being the ones tackled first. Another alternative is Pareto Principle, also known as the 80:20 rule, which is a widely recognised system that states that only 20% of our efforts will contribute to 80% of our outcomes. Therefore, the most productive work will be achieved by identifying the 20% of activities that will yield the most results and then prioritising these.
Other Top Tips
According to a study by Microsoft, the brain takes 15 minutes to completely re-focus on a task after losing a train of thought. Even small distractions or interruptions, including an email notification, will put you off-focus. One simple but effective change is to turn off email notifications and set a new habit of checking and dealing with emails at designated times during the day; such as when you arrive and an hour after lunch.
Scientific research also shows that exercising in the morning makes you more productive and happier during the work day as well as providing the obvious health benefits. People’s sense of calm deteriorates on days with no exercise, meaning that they are less engaged and productive at work; even 20 minutes of low intensity activity showed a benefit.
If you have a natural talent for project management and want to develop in this area, then why not look at the 1,500+ project management jobs currently on site to find the perfect fit for you.