Project Management – Making Time Work for You

Project Management – Making Time Work for You

Time.

The elusive element that everyone needs more of every single day. Whether you are a busy translation and localization professional trying to manage people or projects, time management is likely the key to your success or failure. Almost every professional knows that sinking feeling in the pit of their stomach when they realize a translation project is going to be late and frantically try to explain the overrun to their boss.

Consider these seven findings about how poor project management costs time and money:

  • One in six IT projects have an average cost overrun of 200% and a schedule overrun of 70%. (Source: Harvard Business Review)
  • Fewer than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and on budget over the past year. (Source: Standish Group)
  • An astounding 97% of organizations believe project management is critical to business performance and organizational success. (Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers)
  • 33% of projects fail because of a lack of involvement from senior management. (Source: University of Ottawa)
  • 75% of IT executives believe their projects are “doomed from the start.” (Source: Geneca)
  • 63% of companies defer to executives to decide when to eliminate or put off a project. (Source: InformationWeek)
  • 49% of organizations have a project management training program in place. (Source: PM Solutions)

 

Without a doubt, time is an issue for most localization project managers. From difficulty in tracking projects through the many stages of a translation cycle to handling different tasks and activities at the same time, and managing in-house and remote translation teams, many localization project managers find time management an overwhelming mission.

Let’s look at some of the most common ways to make the most of every minute:

  1. Prioritize the work. Look at your tasks for the day. As you can see, some things are urgent and need to be done immediately while others can wait a little longer. By prioritizing the tasks at hand, you will feel more at ease by taking care of the pressing matters first. If translators have a question that needs to be answered before they can keep working on a project, responding to them needs to be prioritized over a less urgent task. Always take care of the most important items at the beginning of the day to avoid feeling overwhelmed and pressured to complete your work.
  2. Track the time you spend in a specific task. If you already know how much time you are going to spend doing the task, you can plan ahead to allow yourself the same amount of time for a new project. Some file types take more time to prepare and analyze when quoting translation costs, so a project manager can set aside more time for these files in their day.
  3. Deal with the most difficult jobs at the beginning of the day. Usually, we have a tendency to postpone these kinds of activities, but this is the wrong choice. Do the most complex tasks at the beginning of the day when you have the right energy, readiness, clarity, and attitude to deal with any unforeseen issues.
  4. Group all similar tasks. Grouping is a smart way to save a little bit of time that you can use to do something else. Grouping processes together that take the same repetitive task will allow you to accomplish these task quicker. If you know you will use the same software or document to accomplish a task, then you can avoid repetitive setup time before starting work. For example, when a project is being translated into multiple languages, it’s best to initiate the next step in the project workflow for all languages at the same time when possible.
  5. Create standard Outlook template messages. Automating repetitive tasks, like a template for Word or Outlook, can prove very helpful and will save lots of time. You can create a template message for each account, project, or language you manage. You just need to highlight the variables (hand off date, delivery date, word count, project number and so on) in order to quickly locate and change each customized value for each situation. In this way, you will not need to write the whole message from scratch each time.
  6. Strong Communication Saves the Day. Many time, there are easily avoided mistakes due to poor communication. Investing the time in the beginning to write detailed notes or emails with clear instructions and information can save time and costly errors. For the Project Manager, clear, concise notes about a process, progress toward a milestone, or outcome of an expected result can mean less questions and ambiguous notes. In short, more communication equals better results and successful projects.

Successful time management leads to successful localization projects. While there are always variables that cause problems like power outages or computer issues, many of the repetitive tasks can be streamlined, automated and centralized for faster, more effective processes.

Want to talk with a qualified customer service representative about ways Connect Global can help streamline your project management?   Contact us today!

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