12 February 2016
The 3 Things to Do Now About Managing Multiple Projects
Now, I’m not a project-management expert, but I have been involved in managing multiple projects at the same time for a while, and it’s helped me to develop a checklist of things I want to consider when managing multiple projects. You have deadlines, tasks, issues, and ongoing projects that need to be coordinated. Your team is busy and so are you. How can you keep everything organized?
Organizing and prioritizing your time while managing multiple projects is not easy. And in this article, I’ll share 3 things to do now about managing multiple projects so that you and your team are spending time on the right things at the right times.
1. Define clear goals, roles, and plans
When working with multiple projects, it is important to have a standardized management process in order to maximize the efficiency of your team. Each project has unique goals, objectives, and deliverables; therefore, it is important that you don’t set up each project with a new set of planning steps. This will help your workflow run more efficiently.
A large part of managing multiple projects is knowing how to prioritize and ensure that you’re hitting milestones. By setting clear project goals, roles, and plans, you are effectively involving your team in the process. That means ensuring each project has a set of goals along with the measures to determine success. These factors ultimately serve as a guide that controls how the project will be managed.
However, each project is likely managed differently because there may not be a standard workflow or project planning process in place. As a result, deliverables are inconsistent as tasks aren’t always clearly defined or expected, time is wasted unnecessarily setting up new processes for each new project, and work is more likely to fall through the cracks because accountability isn’t clear. It’s not a secret that one of the biggest frustrations in managing multiple projects is the lack of clarity in terms of roles and responsibilities. It’s hard to follow up with team members when there’s no clarity on who is responsible for what part of the project, or if a task is really completed.
Controlling your time and resources requires that you have a standard and reliable process in place to manage and track multiple projects. As your business grows from year to year, your processes will also grow and change; however, you don’t want your project management process to change for each project. It is more effective to have a single workflow that you implement for every new project assigned.
2. Prioritize the work
The ability to prioritize the projects and tasks in our day-to-day lives is a huge skill that separates those who excel from those who merely get by. While there are plenty of ways to go about prioritizing your work, it’s important to consider what will have the greatest impact on your company. Simply put, you should always focus on activities with the largest potential positive outcome.
In the midst of an overwhelming workload, it can be challenging to prioritize the work and focus on what’s most important. But learning to prioritize your tasks can save you hours of time by eliminating what doesn’t matter. Plus, prioritizing your workdays in advance allows you to tackle the important tasks more confidently every morning when you come into the office.
All tasks seem urgent. The only real way to sort them out: prioritize and time box your tasks. First decide what is absolutely, positively the most important thing you could work on today. Then imagine yourself working on that thing for a day or two. Now ask yourself if you feel reasonably confident you could get it done. Before you get to work on any project, remember that it is important to first list out what’s most important and why. This will go a long way in helping you decide where to spend your time. Choosing the right things to work on requires balancing a whole range of factors, including deadlines, skills, and personal motivation.
Here are a few ways you can prioritize your workload. Assign projects to different levels of urgency. Some projects or tasks will have an immediate deadline, while others do not. Allocate a certain amount of time to complete the urgent work and decide how much time you can dedicate to less urgent work.
3. Delegate part of the work
Great teams don’t rely on one member to get things done. Even startup companies with millions of dollars in funding sometimes don’t have the resources to employ all the people they need. This can lead to one-man, or sometimes one-woman, development shops to complete the tasks at hand.
Delegating work has always been a challenge for anyone in a managerial role. Especially for those of you running a virtual team. At times we have all been faced with projects which we keep pushing to the back of the To-Do list. They seem not urgent, but still need doing. This week I am focusing on how to delegate and some strategies to make it easier. I will also run through some simple steps to get them started. A lot of us struggle with too much to do. Then guilt about delegating because we feel we’re missing key elements of the projects. Let’s try to overcome this hurdle.
There is no “special way” to manage projects. There never was a single “correct” project management methodology, although many would like to think so. Regardless, it’s still possible to manage projects successfully, every time. The secret lies in executing each of these steps properly in order to realize successful project management.