How can you ensure the successful completion of all projects in your pipeline? To be sure that none of the initiatives will fail and your project management efforts will be crowned with the desired outcomes?
In the previous article, we reviewed the main factors that lead to project failure in a multi-project environment. In this post, we’re answering the question: how to prevent project management disasters when running multiple simultaneous projects? Read further and we’ll guide you through this topic.
Tips on Preventing Project Failure
Let’s review the recommendations that will help you improve the project and resource management processes and as a result will prevent project failure.
Select the right methodology
When managing multiple projects, it’s better to avoid applying deterministic approaches. A multi-project environment is highly uncertain, and you just cannot manage people and projects as if everything is known in advance. Also, when running concurrent projects, you should manage the whole multi-project environment as a single system, without managing initiatives one by one.
Don’t ignore planning
It may seem that in an uncertain multi-project environment, planning projects is a waste of time – what’s the point of creating a plan when a lot of things can change? But that’s not the case. Planning will make it possible to determine the scope of work, the resources required for its completion, the estimated budget, main milestones to achieve. Without these building blocks, the work on projects will turn into chaos, and won’t let you achieve the desired outcomes. At the same time, the plans should be flexible enough so that possible changes won’t ruin them.
It’s important to prioritize both tasks and projects. Task prioritization will help team members navigate the endless flow of assignments belonging to different projects. They won’t be trying to complete a little bit of everything but put all their effort into the most essential tasks. It increases the effectiveness and efficiency of project work and reduces the probability of delays. Project prioritization will make it possible to assign resources to those initiatives whose outcomes will have the most significant impact on a company’s business goals. Also, it will contribute to more intelligent utilization of shared resources – you won’t waste them on projects that are less significant for a company at the moment.
Make data-driven decisions
Decision-making can make or break the success of your projects. In a multi-project environment, bad management decisions or ad-hoc changes within one project can have negative consequences for other projects. So, it’s critically important for them to be based on data analysis, not someone’s assumptions or influenced by office politics. To make data-driven decisions, you’ll probably require specific tools that help you collect and analyze the data. For example, advanced project and/or resource management software can perform scenario analysis, or What-if analysis, which helps project and resource managers test their decisions and examine their impact on the project environment.
Bridge resources’ capacity with the demand in advance
To ensure smooth project work and prevent challenges when managing multiple projects, you shouldn’t start a project without ensuring that it will be staffed with the required people. If you see that there aren’t enough resources to fulfill the demand, you should find ways to bridge the gap between resource capacity and demand in advance or postpone this project for later. When you plan resources in advance, you can avoid unexpected resource shortages that in turn will result in bottlenecks, delays, the need for unplanned hiring, cost overruns, and project failure.
Plan for uncertainties and risks
Among other things, risks and uncertainties are essential factors that can lead to project disasters, especially in a multi-project environment with dependencies between projects and tasks. So, it’s critically important to be prepared for any possible situation and plan responses for them in advance, which will decrease the probability of unpleasant surprises in the workflow and project failure. But how can I prepare for uncertainty if it’s totally unpredictable, you might think?
This becomes possible if you add a time buffer to milestones and the project’s due date – this will help avoid project delay if some unexpected events occur and affect the project flow.
Keep track of resource performance
As we wrote in our previous article, when running multiple projects with a shared resource pool, the main focus should be shifted from tracking projects’ progress to monitoring the team members’ performance: do they cope well with their workload? Do they work at their maximum capacity? Do they need upskilling to improve the quality of their work? Controlling the state of the resource level makes it possible to timely detect potential bottlenecks so that they won’t turn into major problems for the whole company. If there’s a problem at the resource level, you should consider it as the highest priority and fix it first and foremost.
In addition to following the recommendations listed above, it’s no less important to leverage robust resource management software. Jump to the next section to find out how it helps prevent project management disasters and facilitates the successful delivery of every project.
How Resource Management Software Can Prevent Project Failure in a Multi-Project Environment
Resource management tools have become project and resource managers’ right hand these days. Their features contribute to the effective management of shared resources, which is the key to the successful delivery of multiple projects. We’ll illustrate how they work using the example of Epicflow, a resource management solution designed for complex multi-project environments with a shared resource pool. Let’s take a quick look at how its functionality helps ensure fruitful work when managing multiple concurrent projects and contributes to preventing project failure.
Automatic prioritization of project tasks
Epicflow provides every team member with a personal prioritized list of tasks so that they always know what they should work on. In addition, the system recalculates the priorities as the work on projects progresses and any project environment changes occur.
Facilitating effective resource allocation
When the right people are assigned to the right tasks, the productivity of project work increases, and the probability of resource-related challenges reduces. Epicflow provides all the data required for assigning resources effectively – each team member’s competencies, capacity, and availability. The system also has a resource allocation advisor that takes all the previously mentioned information into account and suggests a perfectly matching employee to assign a task to.
Providing the ability to detect and forecast bottlenecks
To reduce the risk of project disasters, you should timely detect and resolve bottlenecks. What is even more important is the ability to forecast them – in this case, the probability of negative scenarios reduces. With Epicflow, both options are available. Its Future Load Graph can forecast resources’ workload and capacity so that you can prevent possible roadblocks. Epicflow’s Historical Load Graph shows how resources performed over a certain period which will help you detect existing bottlenecks. As a result, you can take timely measures and not let bottlenecks ruin the workflow.
Making informed decisions
Epicflow’s AI-powered What-if Analysis allows you to try out different management decisions. For example, when you need to resolve a bottleneck, you can run simulations and see what will happen if you reassign resources, move milestones and the due date, hire extra employees, etc. Analyzing the consequences of all these changes will help you make the most reasonable one.
Finding out the best moment to start an extra project
When you’re planning to add a new project to the pipeline, Epiclow’s Project Staggering feature can help you find the best possible moment for that based on current resource capacity. This will help you reduce risks and bottlenecks as a result of starting an unfeasible project.
As we see, Epicflow provides project and resource managers with comprehensive support by ensuring the efficient orchestration of multiple projects and intelligent resource utilization. As a result, it helps prevent project failure, reduces projects’ lead time and costs, and thereby creates conditions for business success. Contact our experts to learn more about efficient multi-project resource management and the ways you can reach your business goals faster with our help.