A project manager must be good at many things since the scope of skills required to manage a project efficiently is extremely wide. But the one talent or skill that every PM should have is multitasking.
Every project manager is expected to manage multiple projects since we live in a fast-paced world where working with the traditional speed might push you down in the neck-wrenching race of competition. Even while hiring, firms expect their project managers to juggle a mixture of both giant and small-scale projects if required. This is the main reason why project managers are also known as multitaskers.
Juggling multiple projects might sound fascinating, but the truth is that it is a challenging task even for project managers. The only way a project manager can work on more than one project without losing efficiency is to come up with a system that works impeccably without making them become overwhelmed.
The challenges of multiple project management
You need to put in a lot of time, effort, and energy for managing multiple projects, even if they all belong to the small-scale project category. It is easy for project managers to lose efficiency, fall behind the deadline, and not match the expectation while managing multiple projects.
The biggest challenge is to move from one project to another, as in most cases, the transition is not that smooth. Even a long list of important details can go unnoticed in such a situation, affecting the project’s outcome. In the worst-case scenario, the project managers might have to re-work the entire project.
Best tips to manage multiple projects without compromising on anything
Get rid of multitasking.
It doesn’t matter whether you have worked on an agile project management approach or not; you must have heard about making the tasks related to your project visible instead of just noting them down. This helps improve the effectiveness. You can use the Kanban methodology to visualize the different tasks related to your project.
Kanban is a visual project management framework in which cards are used on a visual board, and these cards contain details about every task involved in the project. The Kanban board even has a work-in-progress or WIP limit. This limit helps project managers handle tasks according to their capability instead of just increasing the backlogs.
The WIP limit has been included in the Kanban method because multitasking is always counterproductive. With the WIP limit, new tasks enter the lane only when the existing tasks leave.
Planning the project
If you want to begin on the right foot, then start with a plan first. You can never manage multiple projects at once without a proper plan. So, before you start taking on more than one project at a time, you should define your goals, including approvals and feedback from stakeholders, while deciding the timeline and getting used to one project schedule to keep the entire team effective.
If you are working on project milestones, you must have significant milestones that should co-occur. You should never expect your team to coordinate more than one project at a time.
Communication is the essential ingredient to ensure success in project management. And the importance of communication increases by many folds when you have been asked to manage multiple projects.
One of the biggest misconceptions regarding effective communication is maintaining continuity. If you keep on bombarding your team members with emails, messages, and calls, then vital project information will get lost in the data stream.
Set expectations and try to match them
If you, your team members, and the other stakeholders of the project are not on the same track, running the project smoothly is hard. You must let the stakeholders know what they should expect at every stage of the project and better understand what outcomes they are looking for.
It is also crucial for you to stay in touch with all the stakeholders, providing updates regarding the project’s progress and answering all the questions while trying to match the level of expectation.
If you plan to become a successful project manager, then get ready to manage more than one project at a time. But instead of relying on your existing skills and instincts, you must develop tactical strategies like the Kanban methodology to manage multiple projects while meeting expectations and maintaining quality.
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