As you multiply the success of your business and it gets bigger, you face the challenge of managing more than 1 project at a time. The more projects you have, the more complicated the process is. The ability to control all the projects in the company is called multi-project management.
Multi-Project Management Core
The essence of multi-project management is a multi-tasking environment. Every task should be tackled as a part of a certain project to make it completed. But when you have to finish several independent projects by the deadline, there’s a question: what task of what project should you solve first, second, and so on? Often tasks within a project are interrelated, which means that you can’t resolve one project’s issue, then leave it and deal with another project’s challenge because inactivity will destroy the first project. This fact gives us an idea of multi-project management complexity.
Multi-Project Management Complexity
When you have many projects consisting of hundreds or thousands of tasks to manage at a time, there’re a number of challenges, such as:
- Adequate communication
- Proper resource allocation
- Efficient tasks prioritization
- Appropriate scheduling
- Rational predicting
- Reasonable risk management
Along with that, you may have the following problems when working in a multi-project environment:
- Inadequate communication
- Time limitations
- Budget issues
- Human-factor aspects
These problems are rather difficult to resolve if you have no clean-cut scheme of how to do it.
And besides, even if you address all these challenges successfully, unpredicted things can also happen: either global economic transformations or a human factor issue.
The Wellingtone survey on the state of project management in 2019 has shown that
- 34.5% of the respondents complain that projects are hardly finished on time,
- 40% of the surveyed note that projects are never completed on budget,
- 37% of the respondents state that the expected level of revenue is never received.
According to PMI research, when there’s a lack of proper project management, companies lose $122 million for every $1 billion invested.
So what can you do to avoid or resolve all these challenges and threats? There must be some tips to make the management process in the multi-project environment easier and more effective. What are they?
Multi-Project Management Tips
The first thing you should do when starting to work with multi-project management is to choose a methodology. The methodology is a set of methods and rules to be guided by in a particular kind of activity.
The most popular PM methodologies re as follows:
- Critical Chain
- Critical Path
- Six Sigma
Consider the description of the most famous project management methodologies and learn how to choose the best one for your business.
To be more flexible and have more opportunities for development in the multi-project environment, you can combine methodologies distinguishing the best practices to create a new more effective approach. For example, when using Agile, apply Scrum or Kanban principles.
You as a project manager should also take care of your personal responsibility for projects and the company’s success. The above mentioned Wellingtone’s investigation for their annual report has also shown that according to 53% of the respondents, project managers are poorly trained, which also affects the performance of the whole team. It means that project managers should update their knowledge from time to time as the PM sphere is rapidly changing. So, to stay competent consider a project management online course or books for digital project managers to improve your PM skills. Besides, specialized groups in social networks can also help you boost your PM knowledge, where you can take part in discussions and become familiar with PM trends and innovations.
Having chosen a methodology, you should select multi-project management software to ease your work by automatization.
Multi-Project Management Tools
According to the 2019 State of Project Management Report, 53% of the surveyed are unsatisfied with their organizations’ project management maturity level. It shows a rather unsatisfactory level of current MPM which is why some steps must be taken to improve the situation.
Managing projects without using technologies is like trying to eat soup without a spoon and a plate. We don’t say it’s impossible but it’s difficult, uncomfortable, and irrational.
So, to simplify your job and reach your goals quicker, you should use specially designed software. Multi-project management tools are your right hand in your work as they can help you
- save time
- keep energy
- be more effective
Let’s consider these three points.
If a company works in a multi-project environment, it has many people engaged and they, in turn, have a lot of tasks to do within a number of projects. You as a project manager have to communicate with the team and check their actions to control the workflow and ensure progress. Use technologies to keep and structure project documentation. It saves your team’s and your time as you won’t have to search for the necessary information. The tools for multi-project management are designed to let you easily see your team’s real-time progress, current tasks, milestones, and in general resolve the multi-tasking issue by prioritization. Find out why manual prioritization can be dangerous.
With their help, you can do the same amount of work but in a shorter period of time and with less stress. Besides, they can put an end to intuitive decision-making, which means that you can check out the decision consequences and change a strategy if needed without any harm to your projects.
Wellingtone’s research shows that 24% of project management workers need more than 2 days every month to analogize their project information.
People spend too much time doing work that can be automated. It’s the irrational use of both: time and resources. To prevent this and have better results use the technology and let your people and yourself do a creative job that cannot be done by a computer.
Let’s consider the key requirements for multi-project management software. As a rule, MPM software, as well as PM solutions, use Gantt charts for the workflow demonstration enriched with a number of other tools to accomplish the tasks listed above.
Check out the list of project management tools based on Gantt charts and choose one for your business.
When searching for software pay attention to the features needed for the multi-tasking environment:
- Instruments for tracking the real-time workflow
- Instruments for allocating resources
- Instruments for prioritizing tasks
- Instruments for testing hypotheses
Working in a multi-project environment is not that complicated as it seems. Select a reliable ‘assistant’ to ease your work and increase productivity!