Time to market is one of the most important factors when it comes to the management of projects. However today’s projects are more complicated and dynamic than ever before and it is becoming increasingly common for project managers to face the task of managing multiple projects simultaneously.
It requires a certain skill to be able to manage multiple projects, budgets, resources and schedules at once. Unless it is done correctly the management of these components on a multiple level can be difficult.
Here are six tips to keep in mind when managing multiple projects:
The Ideal Project Manager: The successful management of multiple projects tends to come down to the project manager. A project manager of multiple projects must be able to adapt to the different teams and initiatives involved across the board. They should have the skills and capability to communicate and handle all project related information and delegate tasks among the teams/projects. Other key skills would include the ability to assemble teams quickly when the need arises.
Delegate: By delegating your authority to the appropriately skilled people will allow you to be more effective in the management of projects. Although some project managers may be weary of this approach, it will give PMs the time to spend on the more important jobs that otherwise wouldn’t get the attention needed. By not delegating a project manager runs the risk of mismanaging some or the entire project.
Communicate: Project teams are often scattered across an array of locations and can make communication between the layers difficult and complex. Ensuring that the lines of communication are clear is essential, especially when you are managing multiple projects at the same time. Good practice would be to schedule daily or at least weekly meetings between every individual involved in a project to ensure that communication between the layers is kept clear.
If you fail to plan – you plan to fail: Poor planning can be easily avoided once the appropriate amount of time is put into it at the offset and reviewed regularly. This practice is even more important when you are dealing with multiple projects. For example the resourcing requirement for the projects needs to be defined ahead of schedule.
Keep your projects together: Managing multiple projects across different toolsets will most certainly waste valuable time and resources. It will also reduce your visibility when it comes to viewing the entire picture. By having an integrated project management software system such as Cora PPM, you can manage your projects all in the same place. This will ultimately save you time and provide you with certain guidelines to ensure that all the projects get across the line.
Be careful when setting deadlines: Be realistic when you are setting deadlines for projects especially when you have multiple ones on the go. You should try to spread project deadlines across your calendar to ensure that you do not have to deal with multiple deadlines all at the same time.
Finish them: Projects do come to an end – eventually. However it can be tempting to rush the final sign off especially when there are a number of other deadlines screaming at you. After putting in the work and time it would be a pity to fall at the final hurdle. Therefore it is important to keep the momentum up until all the project priorities have been signed off.
Following these tips won’t solve all the issues that may arise when managing multiple projects but it will give a project manager a solid backbone to manage the projects efficiently within the assigned time and budget to the satisfaction of the stakeholders. However, as a project manager it is important to speak up when you feel over-burdened by the number of projects you are facing at once, otherwise you could be faced with a vast number of projects and ultimately end up hindering your PM reputation.