Managing multiple projects means managing stakeholders, customers, team members, products, timelines, roadmaps etc. At times, it does feel like herding cats, but it also brings a sense of achievement once you deliver outcomes.
Things don’t always go as planned, but that’s part of the game. It is about learning, practicing and adapting. You want to create visibility for yourself and others so that things do not fall through the cracks.
Secondly, your relationship with people will pay you more than behaving like a tyrant. For that, communication and respect an important role. Don’t be a jerk!
Here are ten effective tips to help you handle timelines on multiple projects simultaneously:
|Identify and rank projects based on importance to your organization’s goals. Allocate resources accordingly.
|Use a prioritization matrix or a simple ranking system. Business value based prioritisation is often useful.
|Create a Master Schedule
|Develop a comprehensive schedule with all project timelines and milestones.
|Utilize project management software or a spreadsheet. A visual representation will help you stay on top of things.
|Break Down Tasks
|Divide projects into smaller, manageable tasks or phases (batches) for better tracking and resource allocation.
|Create a breakdown structure for each project.
|Set Realistic Deadlines
|Establish achievable deadlines for tasks and projects, considering potential delays and unforeseen issues.
|Estimation is almost always wrong, but it can be useful if used as a guideline. Secondly, estimation done by people who will do the work is more reliable.
|Use a Project Management Tool
|Employ software like Asana, Trello, or Microsoft Project for task and resource tracking, and collaboration.
Train your team on the chosen tool for effective use.
Drive the tool, and don’t let the tool drive you.
|Assign specific responsibilities to team members and communicate expectations and deadlines clearly.
|Implement a responsibility assignment matrix (RAM). Again, use that to guide the delivery, and not to performance manage people.
|Regularly Review and Adjust
|Hold regular project meetings to review progress, identify issues, and make necessary timeline adjustments. But don’t create a meeting tsunami.
|Create a meeting schedule and stick to it. Have a clear agenda to keep the meetings short and on topic.
|Monitor and allocate resources, including personnel, budget, and equipment, based on project priorities.
|Use tools that work for you.
|Dedicate specific blocks of time in your calendar for each project to improve focus and reduce multitasking.
|Use calendar or time management apps to schedule blocks.
|Identify potential project risks and develop contingency plans to mitigate their impact on timelines.
|Conduct risk assessments and document mitigation strategies.
Remember that effective communication and collaboration with your team are crucial for successful delivery/project management. Keep stakeholders informed of progress, challenges, and changes to timelines. Make things visible as much as you can. Additionally, flexibility and adaptability are key as project priorities and requirements may unfold and evolve over time.