Effective change managers are effective time managers

Employing the abcde method of time management for project success

Through periods of organizational change, effective time management is critical to success. Targets and deadlines must be hit for change projects to transition smoothly. If the stages of change are not executed on time, this can have an adverse effect on costs, effectiveness, confidence, and acceptance of the change. 

Effective change managers are good at setting goals, planning activities, and prioritizing tasks – all crucial skills in good time management.

One of the most effective time management strategies is the abcde method of time management.

Time – one of the three constraints in project work

Whatever your change project, together with cost and scope, time is one of the three constraints upon it. Poor time management can increase the cost of a project, affect its scope, and increase tension and stress among project stakeholders. In short, the success of project work relies on the effective time management skills of change and project managers.

What is the goal of time management in change management?

By employing good time management techniques, change management should become more effective by working smarter, not harder. Time should be structured to reduce stress and achieve more in less time. The abcde method of time management helps all those involved in change projects to prioritize tasks and achieve goals on time.

What is the abcde method of time management?

The theory behind the abcde time management technique is to assign letters to tasks and activities according to their importance and urgency.

  • a-activities

These are mission-critical tasks, those that offer the biggest downside if they are not completed on time. They also provide the biggest potential successes if they are accomplished on time.

You should further prioritize the tasks within this group in order of their importance. You should not have more than three or four tasks in group a.

  • b-activities

These are tasks and activities that you should do, and if you don’t the consequences will be more than mild. These are highly desirable tasks that should be done only after all a-activities have been completed.

  • c-activities

These are tasks that if not done would have no material consequences on the outcome of the project or a project stage. They are still desirable, but they don’t have the time-critical nature of more important tasks and activities.

  • d-activities

D is for delegate. Tasks that should be done, but leaving them on your list could distract you from your a-activities. These are tasks that can be done more effectively and efficiently by someone else.

  • e-activities

These are tasks and activities that offer no benefit to the project. In fact, they take your valuable time, destroy your focus, and reduce your productivity. These tasks should be eliminated from your activities list.

Why does abcde work?

The abcde method works because it compels you to think more deeply about the tasks and activities required to reach your change project goals. This enables you to identify and prioritize tasks, from critical to not needed. You work with greater focus, and on the elements that complement your skills most closely while delegating other tasks to those with appropriate knowledge and competency.

With this level of focus, you can develop a more meaningful and collaborative project plan which includes all critical tasks and a complete and competent timeline. This may include critical path analysis to help you and other project stakeholders visualise project activities from A through to D.

In summary

Organizational change is project work of the most critical nature. It is essential that change managers and all those working on projects plan their time effectively. The abcde method of time management enables change managers to identify all constraints, risks and issues, and develop a change management plan that engages the competencies of all stakeholders along an achievable timeline.

When effective time management is not employed on a change project, stakeholders can quickly become disillusioned, deadlines are missed, and objectives are not achieved.

To learn more about effective change management techniques, contact Forward Focus today. 


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