2.7 - Time Management
Time Management is a key element of Quality Management. As Quality Manager, you should learn
to be familiar with the Triple Constraint, also called the Project Management Triangle. This is a
model that can be used to identify the key elements that describe the overall Quality of a project.
These elements are Scope, Cost, and Time.
Why is this important for you as a QM?
- To improve the overall quality of the organisation: learning how to manage the time constraint of a project is an issue that the Quality Manager cannot underestimate, since it is one of the three pillars that can determine the end result of the project
- To support the decision making process: the decision on which one or two of these constraints to prioritize is often one that the Quality Manager cannot make
- To be able to prioritize between the different constraints: sometimes, where the time constraints are fixed (for example for a Training Course that needs to be completed in a fixed number of months), the Quality Manager should determine the Cost and the Scope of the project consequently (the Scope of a project can be understood as its complexity, meaning the number of activities that need to be done to consider it complete). In other situations, the Scope or the Costs of a project may be fixed or may be considered a priority, and the time needed should be determined consequently.
- To be able to estimate the amount of time needed to implement actions or quality interventions
How should I implement the action?
- Prepare a Time Schedule of each project, including all the activities to be performed during the project, not forgetting also the Quality Management activities
- Use the technique called “work breakdown structure” or WBS, then, from this, estimate the amount of effort needed to implement the single actions. The following image is an example of the structure of a WBS not related to Quality Management. You can learn more in the further readings section
- create a schedule of the entire project. The most common tool used for this is the Gantt chart (a bar chart that shows the different activities as single bars in the chart), which helps to immediately visualize the Time needed to implement an action of any kind, and to compare it to the overall length of the project
- use these instruments not only in the planning phase, but also during all the stages of the project, as a way to immediately and clearly detect delays, either caused by inaccurate estimates, or by some external force, and to adjust the schedule accordingly.
How should I know if I have made an impact thus increasing the quality of the VET provision and to which extent?
- having a realistic and feasible workflow thanks to the development of the WBS chart and the Gantt chart
- the results are delivered on time
- In the event of a delay, the remedial actions taken have been effective in avoiding further delays.
Links & further readings
- On the Project Management Triangle:
In some cases the terms used to describe the three elements of the triangle may change, for
example in some of the videos below, the term Quality substitutes the term Scope as one of the
corners of the triangle. The idea at the base remains the same, that what a project can achieve
depends on the available time, the investment made on it, and the complexity it aims to achieve.
The model can be adapted to the needs of the specific organization or project.
● On WBS:
● On Gantt charts: