Some popular searches say “How do I manage projects well?”. But this review goes further than that, it’s about “How to manage multiple projects simultaneously well?”
In some business needs or personal needs, project managers are often faced with managing several projects simultaneously at one time or close together. Unfortunately, humans cannot manage multiple projects at the same time and ensure that all of them run optimally. Why?
There is neither a simple answer nor a completely suitable methodology for answering this question. The only methodology that can serve as a guide is the project management methodology itself. Project Management Trainer, Mike Clayton, says, “Multitasking works if all of the things you are trying to do require very low amounts of cognitive load mental processing. If one of those things you need to do requires a high cognitive load, you can still do that and carry on with another simple task”.
Even so, there are some tips on how to manage multiple projects simultaneously that you can try below.
The first thing you have to make sure is: there is a clear workload that the whole team understands. Describe the scope, objectives, work timeline, and the person in charge (PIC) for each work unit. If your entire team understands the responsibilities and goals to be achieved, this will certainly minimize inconsistencies with the original plan. This is even more important when you are managing multiple projects simultaneously.
Naturally, humans are not created to do various jobs with the same cognitive weight. Multitasking with the same cognitive weight is something that is impossible. Therefore, instead of forcing yourself to follow the popular terminology of multitasking, you can apply the principle of serial monotasking.
The concept of serial monotasking directs you to do one task or activity with full attention at a time and complete another work afterward. In a metaphorical sense, this concept depicts you using different colors of hats, where the color of each hat represents the identity of your project. When you are focused on managing project A, then use hat A. If project A has been completed and you want to change your focus to project B, then use hat B.
This approach encourages the project manager to bring together all divisional responsibilities to tell them about project goals, deliverables, and the underlying principles so that everyone has the same picture. This was done because the project manager realized that they might not be able to stay connected to the project all the time. Thus, they then give instructions on what each person in charge must achieve in order to achieve the goals. For example, “I want the day after tomorrow the stages I and II have been completed at least 70%, please A as the head of the technical division to continue to monitor progress in the field”.
If you have to manage multiple projects concurrently, another thing you should at least do is try to avoid all of them hitting the critical path at the same time. Create a detailed Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and make sure the critical path between one project and your project is not close together. This will help a more dynamic mindset with a balanced weight of attention.
Imagine if you might be very busy managing different project activities, but still have to deal with difficult and time-consuming access to project documents. It will waste time unnecessarily, right?
Therefore, make sure you manage various projects with a project management system that is integrated with the various needs of your project activities. Use a project management system that can help you schedule, delegate tasks, monitor the status of the latest projects, to access various project reports quickly and accurately. The good news, Tomps project management application has provided various features to help your project mobility. Click here to find out more!
When we have too much work to do, we tend to do it from the easiest and neglect to plan real priorities. Instead of starting with the tasks that are judged to be “the easiest”, start by prioritizing your work based on which one has the greatest impact on the project or company goals. Prioritize work strategically at the macro-level (i.e. pushing low-impact projects into the next quarter) and the micro-level (organizing daily to-do lists by weight).
Communication is vital to a project. One of the problems that often have a large uncontrolled impact is also often sourced from the quality of communication. Within this scope, make sure you, your team, project owner, sponsor, and other stakeholders work with clear and mutually agreed goals. You certainly don’t want to work on a project and waste all your energy on an outcome that your client doesn’t want, right?
This communication problem becomes increasingly critical if you are faced with several projects simultaneously. Therefore, start using an integrated project management system that can increase the visibility of your project to make you can also have peace of mind. It is because the schedule, task list, and overall project timeline can be clearly accessed by the entire team in the field.
If you have trusted team members that ready to help, take the positive benefit of them. This can be a way out of your confusion when dealing with piling up to-do lists and competing deadlines. But, delegating tasks does not mean freeing yourself from everything related to the tasks that are your responsibility. You still have to supervise them to ensure the work is carried out effectively and according to the required standards.
There are some pitfalls to planning each project in a different location where you often struggle to see all the work one person is doing across all of your different projects. Managing all your projects on the same workload platform is a way that can bring a lot of convenience to you. With this, you can see all the tasks in each project, who is responsible for each task, deadlines, to reports on issues that occur. You no longer need to check every email, message in various chat groups, to various separate applications to manage all your projects. Not all platform workloads have all of these features, so be sure to choose the system that best suits your needs.
Overwhelm comes when you don’t feel in control. Becoming a project manager means learning not to let large and complex projects overwhelm you. Despite the reality, there are times when you feel that the burden of the project you are carrying is many times heavier than it should be.
To overcome this, you can try to optimize the ability of team members to accept the roles and responsibilities given. Apart from that, you can also break down tasks with large weights into smaller parts which make it easier to complete. You can also set aside sufficient relaxation time each day or every week so that you can return to work feeling positive.
Those are 10 tips for managing multiple projects at the same time. Hope it helps you to maintain the effectiveness, efficiency, and quality of all your current projects.
10 January 2023
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