For many people, the simultaneous management of multiple projects causes stress. It turns out to be less productive than expected. Switching attention from one task to another takes time reduces concentration and takes a lot of energy. What to do to stay at stake and succeed in design project management? Let’s check it out.
Common Challenges Managers Face When Managing Multiple Projects
In the process of managing multiple projects in product design, the challenges are as natural as breathing. So, wise PMs should take their time to face them and minimize the risks. Among the most common you may find the following ones:
1. Wrong project estimation
Almost all customers want a fix-cost. No wonder, fixed cost is easy to understand and they decide to launch or not to launch the project based on that. In reality, each project is unique and the price should be defined after careful and precise estimation which is a more complex procedure.
2. Customer requirements misunderstanding
All requirements seem to be agreed upon and systematized, but the tasks come from/to different departments and people. People may change, and by the time there is a result, other people with different views may already be at the place of implementation. If no one keeps track of who changes, what, and how, and there is no procedure to cause initiative changes in requirements on the part of the Customer, then there’ll be trouble.
3. Changes are not documented
Reports for changes on the project and documentation of features are a must. The implementation of changes may come with agreed deviations from production, and this is normal. But when the project is already up and running, no one is involved in documenting these deviations and features, there will be another trouble.
4. Insufficient provision
It goes without saying that the project should be supplied with all the needful resources. Even if it’s not happening, it’s the PM who is in charge of kindly reminding all the participants that some things lacking.
5. No delegation
When you organize multiple projects, no delegation is a wrong strategy and the risk of burnout. There are people on the project who know what to do and do, and those who do it only if they are delegated particular tasks. Responsible and competent people do not always use delegation, or the professionalism of the team may not quite demand it. However, this is still a skill to promote in multiple project management.
6. Lack of the project iteration
The customer needs to be shown and allowed to evaluate intermediate results in order to understand that we all have not lost our way. And the customer does not always have time to test and evaluate. Nevertheless, to offer them that is always a good idea. At least they are well-informed about what’s going on with the product.
7. Not using the previous experience
The poor use of the past development experience and lack of conditions for its accumulation and use in the future or not using it at all may result in making the same mistakes over and over again.
Best Practices When Managing Multiple Projects
Multiple project management can be identified as a very serious challenge. You have to take into account all the risks, improve processes and solve multiple problems. That’s why some best practices on how to manage multiple projects will be in handy. And here they are:
Being responsible for managing several projects, you should definitely have a clear and up-to-date plan for each of them. Otherwise, you may run across the risk of mixing projects into one, and as a result, face a huge unstructured bunch of unrelated tasks, deadlines, and questions from the customers, on the one hand, and members of different teams, stakeholders on the other, questions that you have no idea about.
Often, you agree upon your suggestions, and the plan refinement becomes almost a daily routine for the project manager and the performers. They must conduct a detailed analysis of each task to align. Depending on the methodologies you and your design or development team apply, this analysis must include dividing tasks into subtasks, setting priorities, and identifying interdependencies regarding the project’s ultimate goal.
The team leaders make decisions within their area of expertise so they can help you lead the project. After you have formed and agreed on it with the stakeholders, the team proceeds with implementation.
3. Manage resources wisely
It is essential to separate should from want, would like to, or would be nice to have in terms of the projects you manage simultaneously. In any business and in project management, planning and keeping to a budget, client requirements, and schedule is the key. The resources, including humans, must be managed wisely and carefully. Your resources are:
- The people.
- The tools and equipment they use to perform their functions.
- The available budget.
- The time allotted to achieve the project’s goals.
So, keep them.
Fast and effective communication is the engine of agile technology. To raise the level of motivation and increase efficiency, experts advise uniting with the team on sync-ups and meetups as often as it’s needed: present your vision and the steps that are necessary for the successful implementation of the project. Let everyone speak up, and justify their expert opinion, for example, a separate view from a designer, owner, or software developer.
Delegation of specific issues is essential when you have several projects to deal with. However, many functions cannot be completely transferred. To stay on top, you need to see projects from different angles at the same time – not only from the standpoint of customers or project sponsors but also from the point of view of the team, because without their dedication, understanding, and patience their respect and loyalty will be hard to gain.
6. Use tools
Setting deadlines and meeting them, like overall time management, is an integral part of successful project management. Within each project, a separate task management system must be involved to automate your workflow. So each team member feels updated on what’s going on and can inform the manager or other process participant if everything’s on the plan or not, whether there is a delay or the task has already been completed, etc.
How to Manage Multiple Projects with Software
The complexity of managing several projects at the same time only increases with the rejection of using special programs. Therefore, there is a list of effective services that will make the work of a project manager more efficient. Here’s the list of the most favorite tools the PMs usually prefer to use in their work:
Basecamp is one of the best ways to manage multiple projects, a real-time communication tool that helps teams stay on the same page; it’s less for traditional project management tasks (e.g., resource planning and long-term scheduling). It provides a dashboard to manage all messaging, document collaboration, scheduling, and task management together in one place.
ClickUp positions itself as a platform that allows freelancers to send and receive mail while managing their work in one place. The platform allows you to compose and reply directly without going to your email app. For freelancers working as a team, you can add attachments to various tasks and tag your team members to keep the communication flowing. It is ideally jam-packed with lots of team and resource management features for any project type. It supports all the platforms and well integrates.
It supports the following platforms: Web, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac. The product is perfect if you manage several small projects at the same time. With a nice Kanban board interface and easy sign-up, Trello is a favorite among employees. Conveniently, tasks are displayed as cards that can be dragged between columns. You can assign a person responsible for a task and share it with the team in just a few clicks.
It supports the following platforms: Web, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux. It is convenient to work in this task manager due to the presence of task lists, the presence of subtasks; Gantt charts and Kanban boards; calendars. Built-in chat, time tracker, and document collaboration tools increase productivity.
Also, feel free to discover the top tools we’ve worked with here.
Responsible for managing several projects, you should definitely have a clear and up-to-date plan and schedule for each of them. Otherwise, you run the risk of mixing projects into one, and as a result, faced with a huge unstructured bunch of unrelated tasks, deadlines, and questions from customers and your net programmers for hire, on the one hand, and members of different teams, on the other, questions that you have no idea about, where to look for answers, etc. feel free to apply your ideal tools to manage multiple projects and optimize your work flaw to the utmost.