Juggling multiple projects at a time –and not failing at it!
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Though project management is the key to succeeding in such situations, time management and organizational skills play an equally important role in the success of these projects. Various projects compete for the project manager's attention and often fail due to a lack of adequate attention. Though juggling multiple projects at the same time is hard, it is not impossible to do so.
Three key focus areas for project managers are:
- Managing time effectively
- Leveraging people management skills
- Individual project management skills for successful delivery of the project
- User Involvement
- Executive Management Support
- Clear Statement of Requirements
- Proper Planning
- Realistic Expectations
- Smaller Project Milestones
- Competent Staff
- Clear Vision & Objectives
- Hard-working, Focused Staff
Time-sharing instead of Multitasking Strategy
If the study suggests using time-sharing instead of multi-tasking, integrating project schedules can help us achieve our goals. By integrating project schedules, different phases of various projects can be executed at the same time. The first step in project scheduling is to create a master file of all of the projects in hand. Creating standard reporting and communication templates will save time.
There may be occasions when the projects that you are working on may be put on the back burner because the organization doesn't consider it necessary to focus upon these. In such situations, you will have to automatically take up the next project in line as the higher priority. However, apart from organizational priorities, if two projects are competing for your time and attention, evaluate your projects on two key factors:
ROI: Compare the project costs and benefits. This will give you a clear picture of the projects that are high on ROI.
Budget: The project budget needs to be a major factor for deciding the priority. Factors such as risk exposure and margin for error need to be considered while taking the decision. Also, it is important to keep in mind whether the project is funded internally or externally. If the project is externally funded, the client’s interests should also be considered.
Monitor your Work
- First, evaluate whether you are overloaded. If yes, then it is likely that any new project that you will take up will fail!
- Make it a habit to periodically prioritize tasks.
- Analyze whether you have allotted enough time to each task.
- Create a project calendar sheet that will include all the project milestones along with their dates.
- Delegate work to your team and have a tracker in place to monitor task progress.
- Maintain a standard reporting format for all the projects that you handle. Have an integrated project reporting tool that will capture data and present it in the standard reporting format.
- Conduct regular review meetings and feedback sessions with your team members. This will help in eliminating any current or projected roadblocks, and will maintain the pace of project progress.
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