How to Succeed Even while Managing Many Projects Together
In the fast paced, knowledge-based, competitive world of today, most project managers are left moaning under the pressures of handling multiple projects, sometimes to the tune of 8-10 at a single go! Obviously, this leads to high expectations and a lot of work by anyone’s standards, thereby leading to a few failed projects. Read on for ways to succeed even while handling many projects at a single point of time.
What should Project Mangers Focus on?
Whether it is about a singular or multiple projects, there are three primary areas that need to be focused upon by project managers. These are:
1. Effective management of time
2. Leveraging the advantages of people management skills
3. Suitable project management skills for ensuring successful completion of the project.
Along with these significant factors, total user involvement, clear statement of requirements, and executive management support are important too. The presence of realistic expectations, proper planning, setting of smaller project milestones, competent handling of staff, sense of ownership, clear objectives and vision, time sharing and hard work are other precursors to success; especially in case of handling many projects at the same time.
Multitasking Strategy should give to Time-sharing
Projects managers faced with multiple tasks at the same time should not rely on the age old concept of ‘effective multitasking’, which is actually an oxymoron. Human brain is incapable of multitasking; instead it believes in time-sharing. This rings true in the case of managing multiple projects too. Here, it becomes essential to find ways of integrating project schedules that makes it possible to execute different phases of (n) projects at a given point of time. Creation of standard communication and reporting helps too.
Prioritization of Projects
Proper prioritization of projects demands that project managers have a fair idea about the outcomes and requirements of each one of them. Thereafter, the outcomes have to be aligned with the target dates and strategic objectives of the company. Apart from adhering to organizational priorities in terms of evaluating project priorities, it is also important to compare the costs and benefits of each project and estimate the ROI—the one with higher returns gets higher priority. Yet another deciding factor for the prioritization of projects is the overall budget on hand. The allocation of budget is usually done after estimating the margin for error and risk exposure of a given project. Once the priorities are set for multiple projects, it is easy to start working to get the end results within pre-defined deadlines.
Close Monitoring of Work
The progress of multiple projects has to be tracked regularly, and closely. Timely monitoring and the act of finding immediate solutions for the issues on hand goes a long way in making rectifications to any specific project’s strategy in time. In turn, this leads to greater savings and better performance metrics.
Sequencing of Tasks
Successful project managers know that they are effectively working with a large collection of small tasks. They know how to break a particular project phase into small tasks, group these tasks together, and then sequence them to get good results. A checklist of tasks further helps in managing multiple projects together.
Do’s and Don’ts that Help Successful Management of Projects
As a project manager juggling multiple projects you may like to go through these points to guide your success.
- Do an honest evaluation of the workload on hand. If the pressures are too high then you may fail to perform to optimum levels in any new project taken up at this stage.
- Prioritize all tasks on hand--pertaining to all projects and your personal goals alike—periodically and consistently.
- Keep analyzing if you have managed to allot enough time to all tasks on hand.
- Build a project calendar sheet showcasing all project milestones with their dates.
- Delegate work to the members of your team and monitor task progress via a tracker.
- Create integrated project reporting tools and maintain standard reporting formats for all projects handled by you.
- Invest time in feedback sessions and regular review meetings with your team, this way; you will be able to eliminate any current/projected roadblocks in time.
- A project dashboard that monitors the pace of your projects, along with letting you flick between multiple tasks with ease, takes of a lot of monitoring work from your shoulders.
The Last Word
A sound project management structure and effective methodologies helps a project succeed long-term. While handling multiple projects, mangers should streamlined their plans, reusable processes, shells and templates, practical policies, and shared knowledge of available project information for achieving repeatable and ongoing success. If projects are handled otherwise, then there will be too much reliance on luck. So, it’s best to incorporate proven practices for delivering consistent project excellence.
All the best!