How to Manage Multiple Projects
When things get busy in the office, it can be a real challenge figuring out how to manage multiple projects. There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get it all done.
Handling multiple projects can quickly get out of control, and taking your eye off the ball can quickly lead to extra work, mistakes or even failure. So how do you manage several different projects at the same time? And what is the secret to effective multi-tasking?
Get a strategy
There are many strategies for facing the challenges of multiple projects. But the first thing to think about is training. There are project management training courses out there which teach you all the basics of how to run successful projects concurrently. PRINCE2 courses teach the strategy behind effective management and help you fully integrate this approach into everything you do at work.
In essence, there are several key principals behind effective project management that you need to know. These are:
This is fundamental knowledge that is absolutely key to being a successful project manager. If you are not able to identify which areas are the most important and pressing, then you can spend all day wasting time flitting between one area and another, never really achieving or moving anything forward. This is especially important if you are working in a team and can delegate certain tasks. Using your time wisely to do the most important jobs first is always a good idea.
To help you prioritise, you need to be able to block your time to focus on one area without being distracted by the long list of other things you have to do. If you aren’t constantly switching between jobs, you can get into a flow state. That means you can achieve work goals much more rapidly.
You need to able to accurately assess how you are getting on with your workload. So take time out to look over what you have done and think about what you need to do next. Set aside a specific time each week, either on Friday afternoon or Monday morning and go over where you are in each project. This will inform where you are overall and help identify areas that need more work.
Sometimes projects run into problems because people are expecting too much too quickly. As the manager, it is your job to make sure all stakeholders have a realistic view of what is involved and how long things take. Of course, your job is to deliver, but it is always better to deliver quality than rushed work. You need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively if you need more time or assistance to bring projects in to brief. As the manager, this is a key part of what you do.