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07 November 2023 (16:24)

Time management in PM’s work and project

Time management in PM’s work and project

In the dynamic environment of creating and coordinating loyalty programmes, effective time management becomes an indispensable element of success. A multi-faceted approach that takes into account the client’s expectations and the user’s perspective, as well as maintaining harmony between work and business relationships, become the foundation of this process. How do we manage time at Interactive Systems and how does this translate into business?

Time management is not limited to task organisation techniques, but is a key element in building relationships with customers, coordinating project teams (including sales, marketing, customer service and technology departments) as well as the personal development of those involved. At Interactive Systems, not only does time become money, but an important element in creating motivation and efficiency at work.

How do you find yourself in time? It is all a question of priorities and communication. The dynamics of change in B2B loyalty programmes are often so great that they require more than the standard flexibility from everyone involved, both on the agency and client side. That is why effective time management and transparency of communication at every level of the work on the loyalty programme are so important – emphasises Małgorzata Jędrzejczak, Managing Director of Interactive Systems. – Time management is a guarantee that the promise we make to the customer will be fulfilled. It is very important that quality, time and budget come together – emphasises Emilia Seweryn, Project & Service Director.

Time in the organisation

In an agency such as ours, i.e. one that specialises in B2B loyalty programmes, effective time management has a significant impact on our ability to respond quickly to client needs and accurately quote for services or tasks that are an essential part of the service.

We are supported in this process by various tools, including Redmine, Trello and Primetric. Redmine is used to monitor the project progress, Trello helps with task and workflow management, while Primetric enables the management of staff time-load and the monitoring of project profitability. These tools play a key role in our work, enabling us to plan effectively, track progress and adapt activities.

When planning tasks, it is helpful to visualise the work process, e.g. in the form of a kanban board. The advantage of this solution is the uncomplicated architecture. Traditional programmes also come to the aid. – My best friend is Excel, where I note down and prioritise a lot of things – says Marta Podłużny, IT Project Manager. – I keep a separate backlog in Excel for the DEV team and a separate one for the PM team – confirms Joanna Kozłowska, Project Manager.

Prioritisation is also key when there is a wide variety and importance of topics. – I have developed a system for categorising incoming topics. I maintain backlogs for individual task areas. I have a written plan of what I would like to achieve in a given time unit. I prioritise what is important and urgent. I label all mail – describes Emilia Seweryn, Project & Service Director. Emilia’s technique of Getting things done places a strong emphasis on not being a passive recipient of incoming topics, but their director. – This allows me to estimate when I can do something or what I have to give it up – adds Emilia Seweryn.

Task queuing is also important when dealing with call centres. – We’ve developed a call log file – I won’t pick up another phone call until I’ve made a note of the conversation I’ve just finished – emphasises Aleksandra Skrzypczak, Project Manager Assistant.

In addition to tools, we rely on regular meetings. The IT team’s daily meeting is the place to discuss progress, current tasks and difficulties encountered. It represents an opportunity to synchronise activities and identify risks, including temporal risks. The PM team, on the other hand, has a weekly status focused on reporting the status of projects and monitoring progress against targets. Without this approach, it is difficult to succeed at the end of the day.

Time in the project

Delivering projects on time and efficiently, controlling risks, communicating and keeping customers and the team happy are all aspects that make time management central to the Project Manager (PM) role. It is a skill that allows you to achieve better results with limited time resources.

An integral element linked to time management is change management. By effectively combining these two areas, you can respond flexibly to changes, minimise the risk of delays and deliver the project in line with the customer’s expectations. – The PM’s job requires a dynamic response to change, but without time planning, it would be total chaos and acting on emotion rather than on the importance of tasks – convinces Joanna Kozłowska. – Lack of time management means missing deadlines and a lack of a sense of partnership on the customer’s side – she adds.

Time management methods are many, and so are the tools available. What if we combined our experience, knowledge, ingenuity and habits into one? Marta Podłużny, who initiated the creation of the ‘tailor-made’ CRM, seeks the answer to this question: – We are looking for a balance between standardisation based on good practice and flexibility – so that someone operating on Trelo, Todoist or Click-Up does not feel that they are starting from scratch. We try to include different perspectives, including kanban working.

Time in teamwork

If we analyse the “ingredients” of our projects, we can identify the key elements as: design process, operation and analysis. The former aspect creates the need for close collaboration between project managers and the development team. It is significant to skilfully build effective communication and a common drive to develop solutions that meet our customers’ expectations, based on time.

What if the time of a particular specialist is shared? Reliable planning and monitoring of the time spent on tasks then comes into play. – I have three or four projects going on simultaneously. I would compare it to the situation in the kitchen before Christmas with cooking on all burners. When mum watches over it, nothing boils over, there is no failure. This is how I work too – on one “burner” I have a project that I need to do at the moment – it’s the chicken that’s frying right now, and other “burners” have things going on that are just slowly bubbling – says Mateusz Puszczykowski, frontend developer.

Communication is no less important – during the IT scheduling meeting, tasks are set for the technology team for the week. – If it’s a developer I’m sharing on another project, it’s worth agreeing with the other PM what part of the day he or she will be on a particular project. The moment I have a developer’s time with me, it is my duty at the end of the day to ask what the developer has done and what is left to do – explains Sandra Pietrzak, Junior Project Manager.

Execution of tasks within the set timeframe should be closely monitored, including in terms of optimising work and project profitability. Michał Bereta, a backend developer, mentions that since the beginning of his career path, he has operated on the basis of estimated hours and their strict observation, as well as learning from them (e.g. during retrospectives) if there were obstacles to on-time delivery. There is great value in daily meetings and planning meetings – for short- and long-term planning.

We use a platform that serves to prioritise the work for the IT department, divide it between team members and determine the deadline for delivery and collect all the material (e.g. functional descriptions) in one common place – both for me and the developer. Such a matrix is the daily basis for what will be accepted for execution on a given day – adds PM Joanna Maćkowiak.

Time in management

Being a leader is challenging, time is not a rubber band and there are many topics to coordinate.

I place the topics that need to be done in the Eisenhower matrix. I often visualise it in my head – I tackle the topics that are important and urgent first. I add the factor of depending on me for further processes so that I am not the bottleneck and the topic can progress – says Emilia Seweryn.

Managing director at our agency, Małgorzata Jędrzejczak, emphasises that time management is a constantly improving process that aims to optimise costs, improve the project profitability and the efficiency and effectiveness of project teams. What matters is the ability to analyse the actions taken, learn lessons and turn them into decisions. – I am, and want to be, available to the team, but – beyond operational activities – I also need time for conceptual work. I usually plan the latter in the morning – points out Małgorzata Jędrzejczak.

As you can see, time management allows us to make the best use of our team’s resources and focus on the key elements of our loyalty programmes. As a result, project objectives can be achieved more efficiently. And this is important in order to maintain harmony between the objectives set and the achievements of the project, as well as customer satisfaction and reaching a competitive advantage in the market. However, let’s remember that time is not only about the passing minutes. It is first and foremost about people and their work. It is a team and a business. Time management is motivation management – and that’s what we feel best at – building motivation through our loyalty programmes.



Author: Rafał Pawlaczyk

Project Support Specialist

Supports loyalty projects related to B2B and B2C clients. He is an enthusiast of solutions that serve not only business, but also good relationships in the team.

Cooperation: Emilia Seweryn
Editorial: Ewa Nowaczyk-Przybylak
Translation: Paweł Kurpisz
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