Hey Managers and “WANA BE” managers.. 🙂
Am up with something that every manage would look around for.. and that is HOW TO MANAGE MULTIPLE IT PROJECTS at the same time..
I look after sales, admin and also make sure that all my projects go well and deliver the actual quality my client looked for.. and at the end of the day; i leave myself exhausted as things do go well, but then i leave my place with lots of loose ends which makes me incomplete.
Thus, I thought to make formula which can make me feel better, reduces my workload and also helps me achieve all my company goals, client objectives and on time project completions.
We all know that most project managers are able to evaluate and scope a single project, plan the implementation, communicate with team members, and manage the risks. But the moment you start managing multiple projects simultaneously, the PM’s job takes on a new dimension. Problems arise because of an increase in responsibility, coordination, and additional teamwork needed.
So let’s look at some of the key challenges you face when managing multiple projects (this is what i faced and sure you people are facing the same).
Managing multiple IT projects within the enterprise can be a daunting task. In fact, many project managers say that they would gladly stay back to only one or two projects vs. managing multiple projects (THE LOOSERS). The reason is simple, Managing multiple projects is not suited for all. Experience do counts however, you even need to be choosy with equal speed of smartness! When looking at the single-project concept, the roles and responsibilities prove themselves substantially simpler than for larger projects. However, the larger the project, the more coordination and tracking are needed to ensure that project deliverables are met. You’ll undoubtedly have on average three to five team members on each project. If you have five projects going at once, you will have to manage 15–25 team members. This doesn’t even include the interaction between you and the client. The challenges here include:
- Not enough visibility on the detail being performed by project teams (i.e., developers, testers, etc.).
- Not enough time to attend to meetings and still track tasks and milestones (i.e., tight deadlines).
- Managing multiple risks and resolving multiple issues.
- Lack of experience in juggling multiple tasks and meetings (e.g., gets too crazy).
- Limited resources within the resource pool.
- Conflicting priorities among projects. (trust me when your objective oriented, you want all the projects to be in priority :D.. it happens with me all the time :D)
- Integration of all projects and their target dates not always clear.
- Communications among too many people affecting performance.
So for now, let’s look at the best techniques we can use to manage all our projects:
- Managing time effectively
Mostly when manager are tied with multiple projects, they want to give their best quality output in every project and also they want to get the project done by the time given; however, they fail achieving it; reason behind the failure is the time management.
It’s an smart necessity for managers to delegate their time and plot it between the projects. but the question raises here is HOW to do that?
here is a simple formula we need to focus on:
- To manage your time, you need to manage all your tasks accordingly. remember, it’s the only key to achieve a project completion with excellence.
- it’s complex when you are not choosing the right resource for the right project (I know managers are chosen only when they know how to delegate the resources, but it’s a fact; they always fail in deligation). however, if you choose a right resource for a right task? it will always help you lower your burden, get a quality output with masters hands on the project.
- Leveraging group skills or dynamics
- Checklist for managing multiple projects: You should create a portfolio checklist for managing multiple projects. You could use a life-cycle checklist to help (e.g., Have I received all the specs? Have I involved QA on each project team?).
- Prioritization of projects: You need to determine which projects are more important than the others. When faced with multiple projects, it’s important to decide what to do and in which order it gets done. It’s no use simply selecting any project you like and paying attention to that project alone. Careful analysis is needed to ensure that each project meets your company’s strategic objectives and that you are aware of target dates.
- Categorize your work: This strategy reduces complexity. You have to make progress on all fronts when managing multiple projects. Don’t leave one until next week and expect results. Check the progress of each project on a daily basis.
- Sequence work tasks: Ensure that for every project the tasks have been properly sequenced and that they make sense. I have seen managers run from project to project, grabbing at straws. It’s imperative that each project be clearly broken down into manageable tasks and that they be correctly sequenced.
- Create a dashboard: ah. this is something that really helped me to workout with all my projects and also has given me the exact detail i needed quickly.
A recommended process
If you really want to make an impact when managing a portfolio of projects, you’ll need a method of prioritizing and categorizing all projects. Project Management Dashboard illustrates a process for managing multiple projects, and I’ve found that it works rather well. Based upon your available time and your current workload, prioritize each new project handed to you. This prioritization allows you to determine exactly when to start the project and how it affects your other project timelines. Assuming all is okay, you proceed to categorize the project tasks into categories (A, B, and C), which assist you in figuring out which tasks are more important than the others. Please note that other valuable techniques such as network diagrams or PERT charts could also be used, but I’ve found that a simpler way is most effective when managing multiple projects. These tasks are then captured into a centralized enterprise project tool such as these:
- Kidasa Milestones Professional
- Pacific Edge
- Project Arena
These are a few of the great tools to use for to use for tracking and coordination. After all, if a task does slip, you want it to be visible so you can inform the client about its impact to the project.
Project Management Dashboard
You should also:
- Prioritize your projects according to the client’s business and IT strategies.
- Rank all project tasks into A, B, and C categories.
- Spend enough time and effort on tasks A for each project, and then proceed to categories B and C as deemed necessary (e.g., technical meetings or workshops).
- Notify the client if you cannot meet a deadline or complete a task.
- Capture all issues and risks into a centralized project database for efficient reporting.
It does not end here, there is lot more for me to explore in project management and if you have any valuable input to enhance the system followed, please send me a detailed email at firstname.lastname@example.org, I would really appreciate it 🙂