Are you battling to manage Multiple Projects?
So you’ve been handed a suite of new projects to manage. What’s next? As a Project Manager, you would know the reality of managing one project, but when it comes to managing numerous projects simultaneously, it needn’t be a challenge.
Follow these 5 steps to make sure you don’t end up working around the clock and pulling your hair out while you’re at it…
1. Identify each Project:
Begin the process by getting a clear idea of what each project entails; the scope and what has to be delivered and the timeframes. If you have not been given independent detailed Charters, start creating them. Remember to get these signed off before you proceed to the kick-off stage.
2. Develop a workable Plan:
Ensure that your Plan lists all of the phases, activities and tasks for each project. Your plan should show all the dependencies between projects and reflect all of the milestones necessary for each individual project. Develop an Organogram that shows all the individual subprojects for each project as well as a Milestone Schedule. Incorporate all the information from both charts into a Gantt Chart to assist you to maintain control of each project on a daily basis. To assist you in your decision-making and Change Management, create a PERT Chart. These schedules will help you to compare your progress against your overall Plan to see where you’re slipping and where you’re ahead.
3. Control Staff-effort:
If one person is required to do several tasks on multiple projects, plan very carefully that you don’t assign tasks that may overlap. To avoid this, check your resource allocations, so you can see for every day in the week the total number of hours that each person is working. Keep track of this on a daily basis. Teams can only work effectively if they are assigned work evenly.
4. Keep your eye on the ball:
You must be on top of what’s happening in your projects at all times. Keep monitoring that every task is on time, that the Milestones are adhered to and resources are balanced. Check that parts, equipment and materials are readily available when the time arises. Keep control of any risks that may arise and that any requested changes are monitored. These should be monitored on a daily basis so that you can be proactive if a slip occurs.
5. Communicate, Communicate:
The art of managing multiple projects is communication. Ensure that everybody on the team and anyone connected with the projects are communicated with and that they know exactly what is happening at any given time. When a slip occurs, this needs to be communicated with those concerned. When a deliverable is completed earlier than planned, check with the Pert Chart to see if other deliverables can be brought forward. The kingpin of these multiple projects is you, the Project Manager who is responsible for holding everything together. The best way of achieving this is by communication. So have a plan on how you are going to communicate with everyone.
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