Project Time Management Tips

To stay organized requires good time management.  But sometimes it seems like an impossible task to accomplish. 

I had a client project that exploded!  In order for us to reach our ultimate goal (to have his merchandise put into three local Wal-Mart stores) included a major, major inspection that was going to cost quite a bit of money – with the hopes that he would pass.  The project needed to be totally organized in order to meet some quick deadlines.  We had 60 days to pull together what should have taken at least 6 months.  But, I accepted the challenge and here are some tips from what I learned in the process.

The guideline that I was given to follow was very vague.  (7 pages of vagueness).  Nothing was specific…some definite thinking “outside the box” was going to be required.  My guidelines were not specific and I was not fully aware of the language that was used.  It was generic to me but yet specific to what the inspector would be looking for. 

So, how was I going to manage my time to make this happen?  I laid out my thought process on a roadmap.

1.  Think logically – do research.  Make a working log. 

I got on the internet and started researching HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point).  This wasn’t specific enough so I narrowed it down to specific SOP’s for HACCP.  Bingo!  I found everything that I needed and a lot more. 

2.  Keep a log.  I kept a log of my contacts, websites visited, communication between my office and their office.  I also rated the websites that I visited to ensure that I didn’t waste time looking for them again.  Keeping the information accessible was important to me.

3.  I wrote a list of the SOP’s that were going to be required to finish the project.  This ended up at 24 total.   Because these SOP’s were specific to the coffee roasting business it was important that I add a little explanation about each SOP so that my memory would have to work to hard!

4.  Next I made a reference sheets so that were going to be required.  All of the SOP’s had to be backed up with Log Sheets (15 total) and to make sure that everything was cross-referenced properly, I made a reference log.  This allowed me to make sure that everything is documented the way that it will need to be to keep the company logs current.

I know that this information is very specific but it can be applied to any type of project.  Thinking through the process will allow you manage time easier and better.  There is so much time that is wasted doing the same thing over and over again. 

What I think helped me the most was making a roadmap of the project.  Set some specific deadline to hold myself responsible for the ultimate goal.  The ultimate goal for this part of the project was to receive a Passing Grade for the inspection. 

Well, we just had the inspection and it was fabulous!  We learned a ton of valuable information to help Orange County Coffee Roasters grow as a business and we also passed!!  The hard work paid off and it was worth every minute of lost sleep!  We are one major step closer to having the coffee placed into Wal-Mart stores and have taken a huge step toward the growth of a small coffee roasting company.  It is a pleasure to be a part of their success.  That is what I love about organizing businesses