Whether you are a project manager of a large corporation or a work from a home freelancer with multiple projects, having the skills to effectively manage multiple projects can a valuable asset. The ability to handle multiple projects is a skill that can be improved with strategy and practice. Here are 6 tips to effectively multiple projects:
Preparation is the key to organization. The reason being organized is important is because it allows for easy transition and flow between projects. An organization set up should have clearly defined communication channels. The projects you are dealing with could include other team members, supervisors or employees. This means using dedicated channels for each project or team is a good idea.
One of the benefits of using task management software is that it will help in organizing multiple projects. The software can also be used to establish clear guidelines or standard operating procedures for worst-case scenarios. If there is a problem with one project, it should not derail the projects. This software will also able to highlight the highest priority items by project, deadline date or urgency. Software like this will have more features to help in managing multiple projects.
2) Focus on Sprints
Look to do small, focused and impactful springs in isolation. This strategy means rather than mixing tasks from different projects, it is better to focus your energy and efforts on a specific task or small set of tasks. If you have to manage a team, try to organize your team to perform high-intensity bursts of coordinated effort. This means there is no time or effort lost in switching context.
The team remains more focused and there is more certainty on the purpose of the task. Some people might even be amazing at how much can be done when all focus is given to a well-defined specific task.
3) Optimize Decision Making
The mind is designed to only make a limited number of decisions per day. This is the reason some of the high profile tech moguls such as Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste any time deciding what to wear. They wear the same style of clothes every day. For multiple projects, it is imperative to retain key information and make effective decisions throughout the day.
This strategy also includes that after every meeting or task related to the project, the mind is at its best right after the meeting to make notes or make decisions. Therefore is suggested to keep a short window between each meeting or task to allow for some reflection on the project. It might seem like a waste of time, but is going to have a positive impact on the performance of effectively manage multiple projects.
4) Set and Stick to Deadlines
This is one of the biggest traps when trying to manage multiple projects. To accommodate tasks from one project, the deadlines for other tasks or projects are pushed back. The prioritization of projects or tasks can make it more complicated.
The recommendation is to set due dates for every task and use software to keep tracking the task regularly. The software will help in providing visibility what project is being overloaded and when each task of different projects is due.
5) Perform Status Updates
You can fix something that you know needed fixing. This means you need to monitor your tasks systemically. You need to make sure the project or task updates are accurate and reliable. Once again, the software can help provide visibility that can be very efficient in managing regular updates. This becomes even more complex and crucial for larger team handling projects. In teams, it is the responsibility of each individual to keep other members of the team up to date on the tasks of the project.
Each team member must be assigned a task with clearly defined objectives and status update schedule. If for instance any task lagging, a quick assessment is needed to find the reason for the delay. Once the reason has been identified, extra time and effort must be given to this task to get on back on the original timeline.
This can be challenging. Ideally, the extra time and effort should not affect other tasks for other projects. The actual solution will depend on the specific issue but regular updates will make sure the delayed or incorrect task has not caused much damage to the overall project deadline.
6) Delegate Smartly
This is more applicable to team leaders. If you can delegate effectively, it could be a game-changer for your management of multiple projects. Delegation should be done with clarity and accountability. For example, if you delegate one of your team members to design something, you need to make sure they have all the proper instructions and tools needed. There needs to regular touchpoints to make sure the task is on-track.
With the combination of all these tips, you should be able to effectively manage multiple projects at the same time. Using software might help you do with better visibility, less chance of errors and easily scale up or scale down operations.