Tips to Managing Multiple Projects

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Tips to Managing Multiple Projects

How many of us have stood in the privacy of our office space, meeting room or personal environment and become anxious about the number of projects that we are asked to manage. Thinking to yourself, all along, that this throughput is not sustainable for your health and then we walk away thinking, ‘why did I ever say yes to project management’? At any one time, the average statistic is that you can be managing up to eight concurrent projects. This is certainly a high number and compounded by the fact that over 60% of these projects can be large and high-profile initiatives.

The reality of today’s market is that it is not realistic to expect project managers to manage one project at a time. Naturally, this is the ideal scenario and the advantage of being able to give the project full attention is very evident. However, the rate of change in projects, shows that project managers should be happy to run concurrent projects and get the job done. This to me is the reality that, in business today, project managers have to manage several projects at one time.

So accepting this, ask yourself the question, ‘how many projects can you manage’? Three, four, fifteen? This is our own personal choice (or directed by the business) and is dependant by the environment, capability and the project scale. It’s not an easy question to answer but the more a project manager multi-tasks between projects, the more likely we are to forget where we are and what we are doing.

So what are some of the tips to managing multiple projects? This is simple stuff and not associated with the complexity of governance or culture but more associated with the mind-set of the project manager:

– Tip 1:- Be pragmatic to understand what you can and cannot do. Learn to say no and recognise when enough is enough. It is important to stand your ground and focus on the need of the project and what you can contribute.

– Tip 2:- Every project needs to be managed and sometime shortcuts can be taken when time is limited Avoid taking shortcuts to take on more projects.

– Tip 3:- Be open to delegating part of your projects to others. You may not always agree with how they do it but better to get it done rather than be a perfectionist

– Tip 4:- Don’t forget the roadmap that shows the delivery date and dependencies. Without this, focus may not be maintained and clutter can be built up

– Tip 5:- Take time out and destress. Take up yoga, go for a jog or do whatever it is to remove the clutter from your mind.

So be careful not to become overloaded, overwhelmed and under-achieve. It can happen very easily, as project managers we have to react to the business priorities but at the same time we have to understand what is realistic and not.

Submitted by our expert Project Management Tutor, Liam Dillon
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