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How To Calculate Slack Time In Project Management

A lot of project managers have a tendency to over-estimate how much time they have for projects. This is especially true at the start of their career when you’re just getting into the job!

Project management can be tricky, so it’s understandable if you feel that you don’t have enough time to complete your assignments.

But before you worry about whether or not you’ll meet your deadlines, there are things you can do to take control of the situation. We’re going to look at some easy ways to calculate slack time in project management here.

Slack time is the amount of time left over after all planned activities have been completed. You will probably have a little bit of slack time every week, but if you ever run out then it can become a problem.

This article will help you determine how much slack time you have per project and what you can do to save time. It will also show you how to use this information to manage your workload more efficiently.

Sample slack times

how to calculate slack time in project management

A small, discreet way to determine if your project manager is overworked or not is by looking at their slack time. Slack time is also known as un-managed time due to it being spent outside of of the project management software.

It’s very difficult to track how much slack time people have because most project managers don’t advertise it. But you can easily look up whether someone has enough time for their own responsibilities and then add how many hours they are spending outside of work on other projects.

Calculating slack time

how to calculate slack time in project management

When calculating your project manager’s hourly rate, you must also include what is referred to as ‘slack time’. This is how much time you have to do non-project related work like meeting with colleagues, attending conferences etc.

Slack time can easily add up and cost you more money if you don’t take care of it properly. You should aim to keep half an hour per week for such activities but if you need more than that then you should consider lowering your professional workload or paying yourself less so that you have enough money left over to cover slack time.

Examples of slack times

how to calculate slack time in project management

A few examples of what constitutes ‘slack time’ in project management include:

When someone else is performing an action that takes up your manager’s attention for some time, creating their own distraction or taking over their responsibilities can be considered slacking.

For example, if Team A has a meeting with Manager B every week, then when there isn’t a meeting, it is Managers A’s job to make sure the next one happens. If she doesn’t, then she is spending her energy making sure the next one happens instead of just holding onto her position as team leader.

This is called absentee leadership – not being present where you should be. It is also known as ghost leading, since people working under you feel like they are being led by someone who isn’t even around most of the time. This creates a lack of trust and collaboration, which can have negative effects on teamwork.

Calculating productivity

how to calculate slack time in project management

Productivity is measured by how efficiently you use your time. It can be calculated by taking all of your hours as a worker and dividing them into two categories: productive time and non-productive time.

Productive time is when you are working on projects that bring you success and reward you with paychecks. This includes times when you are actively doing some type of work, such as researching online sources or talking about project strategies with colleagues.

Non-productive time is everything else. These include commute times, idle chats with friends, etc. This is also referred to as slack time because it is wasted time.

Slack time has no direct benefit other than keeping you busy and relaxed, which does not help in achieving more done from your job. If anything, it could even hurt your career if your employer perceives that you were never getting things done and was always spending time looking for ways to spend your time.

By the way, this doesn’t just apply to office jobs! Being aware of will help you identify what types of activities are worth valuing and what shouldn’t.

Calculating results

how to calculate slack time in project management

So how do you calculate slack time? This is probably one of the most confusing parts about project management because there are so many ways to approach it. Luckily, we have an easy way to figure this out!

The easiest way to find your personal slack time is by using the 2nd rule for determining whether or not you’re overcommitted. You can determine if you’re over committed by subtracting your current workload from your estimated workload. The difference equals your personal slack time.

If you found that you were over committed, then you should consider reducing your workload or looking into potential career changes or opportunities. It may be time to start thinking about leaving project management and going into something else.

Project managers spend a lot of time ensuring that everything goes as planned, but few take time to evaluate their own effectiveness. It’s important to know when it’s time to move onto another position.

Applying slack time

how to calculate slack time in project management

The next step is applying this knowledge by using it for yourself or giving it as a gift to someone else. If you are a project manager, you can use these formulas to determine how much time your team has left on projects and what level of effort they have run out of motivation or energy to give before quitting time.

If you are given this information, you can do two things with it. You can either add this onto your weekly schedule or you can use it to motivate your current staff members.

By knowing when people are running low on motivation or energy, you can help them recognize it and maybe even go above and beyond their normal duties until they get more rest or encouragement.

Benefits of using slack time

how to calculate slack time in project management

One important use of slack time is for project management. This is simply referring to the amount of time it takes to complete projects. We can calculate how much slack time there is on a project by subtracting the current phase duration from the total project length.

This gives us our projected completion date plus your current phase’s slack time. If you have one week left in this stage, then we would add that to our predicted finish date to get a new estimated completion date.

By doing this, we are able to determine if your team is over-estimating or under-estimating their deadlines!

If they have very little slack time left, then they will need to revamp their planning and strategies to better manage expectations. It may be necessary to reevaluate whether this project should continue moving forward or if you should start looking at another project as a possible next step.

Disadvantages of using slack time

how to calculate slack time in project management

One disadvantage of using slack time is that it may not be clear what each member’s actual workload is. For example, if you have a project manager who has a very tight schedule, then he or she may seem like they are always working because they use a lot of slack time.

However, this can look bad for other team members because they may feel overworked and underpaid. If a team member feels this way, then they may want to ask for a pay increase or a promotion.

By having an accurate understanding of how much work everyone else has, then we as managers can make sure people get enough credit for their contributions. This helps promote teamwork and a healthy work environment.

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