multiple projects

Managing Multiple Projects? You Might Be Making These 5 Mistakes

Every project is an opportunity to learn, to figure out problems and challenges, to invent and reinvent. – David Rockwell

P

roject management has become an integral part of modern business. Today all businesses, no matter how big or small, do project management as it allows them to be more efficient, stay competitive and increase their output. In larger organizations, project managers are often required to simultaneously manage multiple projects.
 
This means that they have a lot on their plate. When juggling multiple projects, managers no matter how experienced, tend to make mistakes that can damage their projects and the overall bottom line of the company they work for. This is a serious issue, and given the fact that project management is supposed to raise the bottom line, it is only normal that managers should work on reducing the possibility for these kinds of mistakes occurring.
 
If you are facing similar challenges on your job, then pay attention to these five mistakes that you might be making and learn how to avoid them.

1. Trying to do everything on your own

 
micromanagementMost project managers start off their careers by managing smaller and less important projects. As they progress, the scope of their job becomes larger and projects become more complex. At some point, they start managing multiple projects, but their approach doesn’t change. They are used to being in charge of everything and take care of all project-related work.
 
When it comes to managing multiple projects, it’s simply impossible to achieve this. In multi-project management, micromanagement is a sure shot recipe for failure. You cannot take the lead role in every process and task. It is important to let go of certain tasks and stop watching every employee’s move. There are a couple of reasons why micromanagement in multiple projects doesn’t reap any fruitful results:

  • It eats up a lot of the manager’s time.
  • It makes it difficult to keep track of all projects.
  • The amount of information is too exorbitant to be processed by a single person.
  • The chances of mixing up projects and tasks are greater.

 
The solution for this issue is to:

  • Delegate tasks to other team members and manage the most important ones.
  • Give detailed instructions for each task and review them when they are finished.

2. Not planning your projects

 
planningSmaller projects that are less complex give you the freedom to start and keep track without having a project plan. You can keep all the information in your head, set goals and chart out a roadmap to accomplish the end goals. But, this is not the case with large and complex projects. As your responsibilities grow, so does the information and scale of projects and it’s impossible to stay on course while relying solely on your experience and knowledge.
 
When multi-managing projects, make sure that you create a single plan for each and every one of them. This might seem strange, but having multiple plans means that you will have to jump from one to another constantly to check schedules and your next steps.
 
Learn how to create a master plan where all of your projects will be included. This is where all of your project’s timeliness and their schedules will be displayed. At a greater scale of things, you will always be able to see which projects are performing on time and which ones require more of your attention.




3. Not updating project plans

 
project plansAlthough your projects will start with a plan, it doesn’t mean that it will be foolproof. In fact, they rarely are, even for smaller projects. As much as a plan can keep you on track and schedule, it can also mislead you into thinking that you are doing well. If you fail to update the projects, you are most likely to end up with a failed project.
 
There are a couple of reasons why not updating project plans is a mistake, even concerning smaller updates:

  • Important project factors change.
  • New circumstances that weren’t anticipated can appear.
  • New task priorities might appear.
  • Clients change their requirements.

 
Even though the actual goal of your project plan doesn’t change, the steps you need to take towards achieving the goal always change. Make sure to be punctual and update all of your projects whenever necessary to ensure that you are always on top of each one of them.

4. Not using a project management software

 
softwareNot having a simple project management software for single projects is bad, not to mention when managing multiple projects. Even those simple project management tools can make a manager’s job much easier and help them keep track of everything, while always having all the required information.  A project management software can help you:

  • Create project overviews for each project separately.
  • Allow you to switch between projects very easily.
  • Help you notice project changes that need to be updated in your plan.
  • Help you communicate with people on different projects from one place.
  • Allow you to notice mistakes early on and fix them before they become large-scale issues.

A project management software can give you great help and, overall, make your job much easier. We’ve mentioned this already, but we can’t stress enough just how important it is to get all the help you can when multitasking.

5. Bad communication methods

 
communicationEveryone will tell you that communication methods and planning are some of the most critical components for planning and executing multiple projects. When you are running multiple projects at the same time, you will instantly add multiple communication channels that you have to take care of on a regular basis.
 
By missing just one message, an important piece of information, or leaving someone out of the loop can seriously delay your project and create execution problems. Additionally, you need to have the information stored somewhere in case you forget some of the important things that you’ve discussed. This can also create further delays and do-overs.
 
The solution is to implement a good communication platform. All comprehensive project management tools have communication channels that can be separated for different projects. Additionally, besides communicating with people working on projects, you can also quickly provide information to stakeholders through this kind of platform and update them on the progress you’ve made.
 


These are the biggest and most common mistakes people make when managing multiple projects. Make sure to avoid them and the whole process will be smoother for you, and you will be able to avoid failing your projects like a lot of people do.
 

David Miller is a technical writer currently associated with ProProfs Project. He enjoys writing about emerging project management products and its latest trends. He lives in Detroit, Michigan with his wife. In his spare time, David loves exploring the city, listening to Metal music and riding
  • Aaron John

    Project Management is surely a difficult job and yes the mistakes mentioned above have to be avoided. I think the level of difficulty is very much dependent upon the type of industry you are in. Industries dealing with oil and gas management or real estate asset management are the most difficult ones i believe. I wonder how companies like Catoico Resource Management LP (http://www.catoicoresource.com/) manage themselves.

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