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How to manage multiple projects at the same time?
If you are in a management role then at some point in your career (if not already) you will invariably have to take on the responsibility of multiple projects; as well as the subsequent work-load.
To manage multiple projects effectively means being able to perform on multiple levels whilst splitting your attention from one project to the next. These are essential skills that become easier when practiced and developed over time. Another developed skill for successfully managing multiple projects is your ability to multi-task; whether meeting project goals, objectives, or deadlines.
Successfully conquering multiple projects at once is somewhat of a fine art and a balancing act, but in truth project management can make or break your career. It goes without saying then that learning how to successfully manage multiple projects at the same time is one developed skill that every manager should have.
As mentioned in the recent article How to manage a team through a project; communicate the scope and the deadlines involved in the various projects to hand during your initial meetings. During these initial meetings on projection identification discuss the appropriate courses of action regarding how to achieve individual and team goals on your various projects.
- List the individual/team project goals and any additional expectations whilst discussing each of the steps included in the totality of the work.
- This is also the time to group your projects into their various categories and delegate roles and responsibilities accordingly.
- Let your employees bring up their questions or concerns regarding the projects and once these topics have been considered in the group meetings; you should take time to compile the various sources of information into separate workflow charts. These charts will help keep the many interrelated components and time constraints of different projects organised; they also pose as a visual aid for allowing you and your team to see where everybody is currently at within the projects that they are working on.
While managing multiple projects it is important to have a clear plan for each phase of the project. You can use weekly reports as a reminder of what tasks on which projects are still outstanding. An ideal weekly report would cover what work needed to be completed that week; as well as highlighting work due for completion over the upcoming weeks. Furthermore, it is advisable that along with your workflow charts you create a separate action log for each project. The action log will become your ‘go to’ place to manage tasks and activities that need to take place before being actioned off by yourself, or members of your teams.
Resource allocation is vital in project management. It is also imperative to identify your essential key resources and keep track of their delegation and allocation on an ongoing basis. Key resources include: employees and the tools that they need to work to the best of their abilities, the projects overall budget; and of course time. Modern scheduling apps can make delegating tasks easier as built in filters allow you to focus on specific resources, such as a persons skill set, or the location of a physical item.
Track the Progress
After the initial planning stage it is highly advisable to set time aside for regular meetings between you and your different teams; to touch base and to track progress. In adopting this approach you allow team members to understand with greater clarity how their individual ongoing contributions form part of a bigger picture. As you continue to manage multiple projects through efficient collaboration with your teams you will not only be able to successfully keep yourself on track, but greatly help those around you too.
Ultimately, managing any project can be tricky and your role as the project manager is to ensure that each part of the process is working towards one common goal. It is also vital to try and reduce, and ultimately eliminate, unnecessary processes that waste resources. Delegation of tasks is a key necessity, but to be an effective manager you first need to understand the project from different perspectives; including the perspective of your team. Effective understanding of “how to manage multiple projects at the same time” requires the implementation of a definitive action plan, as well as continuous progress tracking, resource management, task delegation and time-deadline enforcement.
Written by Laura Tomlinson, Marketing Assistant at GoToJobBoard
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