Schedule and Keep Track of Everything

The only way you can estimate, consider, and implicate cost is if scheduling is maintained and accomplished correctly. You cannot decide whether one feature is more cost effective than another unless you can know how long each will take.

Here are a few simple benefits to documenting everything, both personal and business related:

  1. Future estimates are more accurate in both personal and professional areas.
    This can help you ensure you have more time, don’t have to work overtime, and overall remain more satisfied and successful (both perceived and actual)
  2. You can keep a timeline of your professional and personal achievements.
    Great for performance reviews, job interviews, career building, and personal satisfaction.
  3. You can provide better assessments of where you are on something.
    When someone asks you how is this coming along? You can say honestly and relatively accurately that you are about half way there. Providing real quantitative status indication rather than a “alright” answer.
  4. Find mistakes sooner, and avoid repeating the same ones.
    Since you are documenting your lessons learned you avoid making the same mistakes, can solve issues faster using experience that you can review at any point in time. Often when documenting something you might discover something you missed or spot a mistake before it happens, providing you time to either resolve the issue, figure out a solution/workaround for it, or (I hate to say it) prepare an adequate excuse for the issue.

So why doesn’t everyone do project scheduling, break down tasks, and document everything?

There is this general idea that it will take longer for many small projects to whip up a schedule than it would to just do it. This is never true. In fact I would argue that even the smallest of projects estimated from a high level of a few hours should still be scheduled. That way you can keep TRACK and see the actual cost of whatever projects you do. If you don’t you will have no way of proving or bringing visibility to the work you did.

If you do not record the time spent on a project and outline what the project represented it gets hard to tell your boss, co-workers, relatives, interviewer for that snazzy new job, or nagging wife what you have been doing all week, all month, or even for the past year.

Even when I do small tasks I write them down, and categorize them. So at any point in time I can tell anyone who is interested exactly what I have been working on, and (since I put these into SharePoint lists, outlook, excel documents, or ms project) I am able to generate reports on how much time I spend on IT tasks, QA support, analysis, or other important areas.

Don’t forget to highlight interesting, or important things you did.

This does more than just allow you to report how much work you do, why you might not have been able to hit a deadline, why you are working so much overtime, or why the amount of hair on your desk is greater than that on your head; It also provides you with a real way to measure your own progress. This way you can tell if you are actually doing the things you like, see where your strengths lie, and provide real proof to management that your doing work either out of your job description (which means you deserve a raise) or that you would be better suited to a specific type of work.

The best part is that you will have a listing of tons of things you have done for the company you work for. When performance reviews come up, or that better job posting appears wouldn’t you like to be able to just take a report and give it to your boss or interviewer and say these are the ways I have improved the company I work(ed) for.

Think about it,
Richard

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Explore posts in the same categories: Career Building, Project Management, Project Tracking

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