Life Hack: How To Manage Several Projects Simultaneously
Today, most of the projects are dynamic and complex. If you control several projects in the same time, as many companies do, then you should have tools and capabilities to track the overall progress. In order to manage all these projects, you, as a leader for the project execution – should be able to keep track on all issues. You can perform these tracking using e-mails, formal and informal meetings, status reports, and sometimes – a combination of these, based on the practices and the habits in your organization.
If you are in situation to effectively manage several ongoing projects simultaneously, you have to apply different tracking tools – and not to dig in the old emails, or meeting notices. Project managers and the stakeholders should build trustful relationship – in order to fully facilitate the successful project execution (tasks accomplishment).
1. Delegate the leadership
At the start – good practice is to delegate the leadership among teams and to define roles they will have in the global management of the projects and programs. By assigning the responsible persons and by giving them the significant roles in the project, you, as a project manager will have clear view of what is happening during project execution. Project manager should also get the information prior to the project inception, and when the work is finished. He should be able to work with the leading teams constantly – no matter the scope and the duration of their engagement – part time, or full time.
2. Small updates vs. large updates
If you make a large update of the project – you should monitor and update the schedule together with the risk, the budget and the scope plans. You will need to provide information about changes to the upper management levels, and to hold a formal meeting with the stakeholders. Such a large update can happen on a monthly basis, and is a kind of challenge for you, as the project manager.
Small updates to the project, on the other hand, can happen on a weekly or daily basis. These updates could be a simple e-mail notification with some related information. It could be a small paragraph about the project – sent via your messaging application. It can be announced differently, but it will be a minor change. It will not affect the global condition of the project. For you, as in charge with the tracking of several projects, this information can be very helpful. Small updates can also be produced by the team members working directly on the project tasks.
3. Project notifications
You should provide some tool for status notifications to all team members. This could be a simple whiteboard in the office, or it could be a virtual message board (or some other groupware tool). Senior managers and stakeholders are interested to observe the overall project status, while the team members will need more detailed information.
The notification tool should indicate the newest milestones and the current status of specific tasks, together with the personnel assigned to them, and the timeline for completion. This virtual status board should be open to all users, so that all team members can post useful information. You, as a project manager should collect and analyze the posted information and react on the tasks, if needed.
4. Keep the pace
When you keep track of several projects simultaneously – that means you’re thinking ahead of time. With this approach – you will identify problems before they could negatively affect the project. You can apply different tools to keep track on the projects, and that will enable the organization’s senior management to realize where they should put extra efforts to help the project team succeed – and that will be a winning combination for you and your projects.