Managing a single project is a tough enough task. There are a number of complex tasks to take on, jobs to distribute to employees, and timelines to be sorted.
Project management consists of a lot of trial and error to ensure that a project is completed on time, within budget, and to the required standards.
But what happens when you have more than one project to manage? This can become an even bigger headache, as there are now multiple moving parts to keep track of.
It’s no surprise that many project managers feel overwhelmed when they have more than one project on their plate.
With a few tips and tricks, however, you can learn how to manage multiple projects successfully. By being organized and efficient, you can make sure that all your projects are completed successfully and without too many complications arising.
In this article, we will discuss the best ways to manage multiple projects simultaneously, and some handy tips that can make project management an easy task — regardless of how many projects you are working on.
Let’s get going!
3 Steps to Plan Projects Effectively
The key to successfully managing multiple projects is to have a clear and concise plan of action. This plan should consist of the following steps:
The first step to managing multiple projects is to create a schedule. This schedule should include start and end dates for each project, as well as deadlines for tasks within each project.
Having a schedule will help you to keep track of each project and ensure that they are completed on time.
To create a schedule, you can use a variety of tools, such as Excel or Google Sheets.
There are also many project management software programs that offer scheduling features, such as Asana or Trello. Find the tool that works best for you and your team, and start creating your own before the project starts.
Once you have a schedule in place, you can start assigning tasks to employees.
When assigning tasks, be sure to consider the skills and experience of each employee. You should also consider which employees are working on which projects, as you don’t want to overburden any one employee with too many tasks.
It can be helpful to look at the projects from a holistic point of view, and create a task list for each project. This list should include all the tasks that need to be completed for each project separately, as well as the deadline for each task.
By having a task list, you can easily see which tasks need to be completed and by when. This will help you to keep track of each project and ensure that they are on track.
Once tasks have been assigned, it’s important to track the progress of each project. This can be done by creating a project dashboard.
A project dashboard is a central location where you can see the status of each project, as well as the tasks that have been completed and the ones that are still outstanding.
There are many ways to create a project dashboard. You can use spreadsheet software that is available freely across the internet, or you can use a project management software program.
Whichever method you choose, be sure to update the dashboard regularly so that you can see the progress of each project.
To lift your progress tracking up a notch, use forms of visual project management like graphs, charts and other forms of imagery to make progress easily understandable from a layman’s point of view.
3 Keys To Communication When Managing Multiple Projects
Another important aspect of managing multiple projects is communication. When working on multiple projects, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open.
This way, you can easily update others on the status of each project, and get help when needed.
Let’s have a browse at a few of the main ways to improve communication:
1. Have Regular Meetings
This is an obvious but vital point to reiterate for any firm. Having regular meetings can be used to update others on the progress of each project, as well as discuss any challenges that have arisen.
It can help your firm further by keeping everyone on the same page and ensuring that everyone is aware of what’s going on.
2. Use Project Management Software
Technology has become a vital part of project management, and there is no reason we shouldn’t use it to communicate better as a team. This is why using project management software is a great way to improve communication within and across projects.
This software can be used to create and assign tasks, as well as track the progress of each project, and keep everyone up-to-date with the latest available information.
3. Use a Communication Tool
Another way to improve communication is to use a communication tool.
There are a number of different communication tools available, such as Slack, HipChat, and Google Hangouts.
These tools can be used to send messages, files, and updates between team members. Using a communication tool will help to keep everyone updated on the status of each project, and will make it easy to get help when needed.
Staying Organized When Managing Multiple Projects
Without being organized, there is no way any manager will be able to successfully manage multiple projects. You need to measured with every action you take, and be borderline paranoid with how meticulous you are in your planning and organization.
Hence when working on multiple projects, it’s important to keep all of the project files, documents, and tasks organized. This way, you can easily find what you need when you need it.
One way to stay organized is to create a project management system. This system can be used to store all of the project files, documents, and tasks. By using a project management system, it’s easy to have a good idea of everything going on within a certain project.
Another way to stay organized is to use project management software. This software can be used to store all of the project files, documents, and tasks. Not only is project management software for aiding communication, but it ensures the project itself is organized as a whole.
How Can You Manage Your Time Effectively?
It’s easy to get a number of projects put onto your desk, and to feel overwhelmed as you may think there isn’t enough time in the world to get everything done in time.
That is precisely why — in addition to having a clear plan in place — it’s also important to manage your time effectively when working on multiple projects.
This can be a challenge, as there are now more tasks and deadlines to keep track of. However, there are a few tips that can help you to manage your time effectively:
When you have multiple projects on your plate, it’s important to set priorities. You should start by identifying the most important tasks and deadlines, and then work on these first. By setting priorities, you can ensure that the most important tasks are completed on time.
This avoids situations where employees work on easy tasks first, and leave the hardest tasks for last.
This disastrous outcome leads to employees already being exhausted by the time they come to completing these difficult tasks. It also leads to the tasks being rushed and often poor-quality work — due to the lack of time dedicated to these difficult tasks.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be tempting to just work non-stop until all the tasks are done. However, this is not a sustainable or effective way to work. It’s important to take breaks, as this will help you to stay focused and avoid burnout.
Whenever possible, take a few minutes to step away from your work and clear your head. Go for a walk, get some fresh air, or just take a few deep breaths.
These breaks will help you to stay refreshed and focused, and will ultimately help you to be more productive.
If you’re finding it difficult to manage all the tasks on your own, delegate some of the work to others. This can be a great way to lighten your load and get some help from others.
When delegating tasks, be sure to choose employees who are capable of completing the task, and be clear about what needs to be done.
The Bottom Line
It’s true that managing multiple projects is no easy task. You are taking care of a significantly larger number of tasks, and have to ensure each project and sub-project is running smoothly. This can be a very stressful task for even the most stoic of managers.
By taking a look at some of the time management, organisation, planning and communication tips detailed above, you should hopefully have a much better idea on how to make this difficult task significantly easier.
It may be hectic at times, but the important piece of advice we can give is to take a breather, and give yourself a break. It isn’t easy and patience is required to succeed. Happy managing!