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12 February 2016 0
The 3 Things to Do Now About Managing Multiple Projects
A pen and a notebook may suffice to get hold of one project, requiring your undivided attention. Multiple projects with different stakeholders, issues and dynamics force you to keep finger on the pulse of all of them, and yes, it’s a whole new ball game. In today’s busy world of multi-everything it’s impossible to avoid multitasking and managing multiple projects at a time. No wonder, project management tools become an indispensable part of our professional lives. Which one you should use? That’s the question.
Community Power Network, an American startup nonprofit (UPD 2018: now Solar United Neighbors), shares its experience in bringing affordable green power to people. They educate homeowners in the US about solar energy, help them purchase solar systems by facilitating bulk purchases (known as solar co-ops), engage citizens in their energy use and advocate for better solar policies.
Community power projects come in all different shapes and sizes: from a school that wants to go solar to a statewide network of citizens that support community renewables. What unites community power groups is an interest in creating a decentralized renewable energy system that benefits everyone.
Grant Klein, Program Manager for Solar Co-ops, helps State Directors in each of their state programs implement solar co-ops more effectively. Below he tells about lessons learnt from managing multiple projects and how Kanbanchi app helps the team with their workload.
Store your ideas in one place
With the number of projects CPN team needs a place to store their ideas and projects and to track those projects from inception through completion. As a startup nonprofit the team is constantly seeking to improve their processes to become more effective at what they do. Yet it’s important to strike a right balance between planning and action: “We can’t implement all of these changes at once, otherwise we would lose sight of our daily work. Instead, when we get an idea we put it on the board. Then we meet weekly to discuss which ideas are most important, and we assign them to a team member to complete. So an idea moves from a to-do category, over to a currently doing category, and finally to a done category.”
Track and review your progress
Guys at Community Power Network also need to track their various solar co-op groups. Any time someone contacts them and asks for their help, a card is created for that person. Once decision is made to take on the project, the card moves to a new phase, and through various phases of the workflow. These multiple projects are also performed at another Kanbanchi board for daily tasks. It’s easy to track small tasks that being completed will move the card to the next phase.
That way the team can track the pipeline of projects. Given that 50 projects in various stages at the same time is normal everyday practice, it’s critical to have a really clear picture of them all at CPN. Kanbanchi offers the team flexibility to quickly make edits, when faced with challenges, and intuitively move projects around.
It’s very important to allocate time on a regular basis to revise your multiple projects and assess what’s happening: get your team together and plan the weekly activities and key milestones in detail, being mindful of risks and issues that might hinder the project. Team at Community Power Network does exactly that: “We meet weekly to discuss which ideas are most important, and we assign them to a team member to complete.”
Collaborate with your team
Managing multiple projects is easier when there’re people to handle them together. Yet, it’s critical for smooth functioning of your venture at any given moment to be sure everyone knows what’s going on. For startups who are in the process of establishing their operations and defining roles this nuance is chiefly important. For that reason alone it would be worthy to adopt a project management tool. Even if you and your team are not the Jedi Council simply structuring the work through creation of workflows for further monitoring by managers and team members alike make workload much easier.
With software for managing multiple projects you can prioritize tasks at hand, assign each task to a particular team member, set due dates, and accurately track projects as they move through the pipeline.
Probably in your case it won’t be too smart to keep a lot in your head. Rather than that, adopt a project management tool and keep track of the tasks, issues, challenges and a log of all project decisions made so you can go back and verify where you are and what needs to happen next. Double-check whether your tool guarantees successful collaboration that provides the same visibility to your team members.
Kanbanchi boards can be seamlessly shared across the organisation and accessed by every team member, if when logged in with Google account. The mechanics of sharing is the same as in any of Google Apps for Work (Google Docs, Google Sheets, etc.)
Kanbanchi lives in Google Drive together with other Google Apps files
Don’t wait until you’re stuck
Community Power Network is not the only startup that got much more organized and productive using Kanbanchi for automating its project management. According to Grant Klein, “It allows us to clearly see our workload and easily prioritize our tasks and goals. When I found Kanbanchi, I was happy that it was free, simple, and useful.”
Time is money. Don’t wait until your team is bogged down under multiple projects overload – adopt a project management tool and start managing multiple projects today. Kanbanchi is just one of many tools to help you out, but definitely a worthy one 🙂