Best of PMTimes: 5 Tactics To Successfully Handle Multiple Projects Simultaneously

PM Articles by Project Times. 

Managing multiple projects at the same time can be an absolute n-i-g-h-t-m-a-r-e.

You need to keep track of your projects’ moving parts, ensure you’re using the right processes and strategies, stay within deadline, keep your employees motivated, and be mindful of your expenses.
Data even shows that on average, 88% of remote workers experience miscommunications and inconsistent leadership with team members, highlighting the importance of proper program and project management.

Sadly, we just scratched the surface. So much more goes into project management than the things we pointed out.

The good news is, there are tips and tricks to help you manage multiple projects simultaneously.

Continue reading to learn five proven tactics that will help you run your projects efficiently.

1. Stay On Top Of Your Work Schedules

Regardless of how carefully you planned your projects, everything can easily go off track if you don’t establish a schedule that includes your team’s work for the month, quarter, or year.

For instance, without a clear schedule, team members might fail to prioritize tasks, overlook critical jobs, and miss deadlines, which can seriously hinder your project’s completion and even impact the result’s quality.

Use reliable work scheduling software to ensure every project team member is on the same page, keep your workflows moving seamlessly, and keep everything on track.

For instance, Deputy lets you build work schedules in minutes by using its easy-to-use interface to schedule the right team members at the right time across various locations and roles.

You can easily create shifts, assign them to staff members, drag and drop to change them, copy schedules, modify them accordingly, and export them to a CSV file, spreadsheet, or print them.

You can also send the schedule directly to your team through mobile or desktop. If you change the schedule, the assigned person gets a notification, and they can accept the confirmation request.

A robust scheduling tool helps ensure your lines don’t get crossed, work gets done, and your project deadlines are met.

This helps keep your multiple projects on track and your team members more productive. Your project schedules will also be maximized for optimum efficiency, avoiding potential delays.

2. Prioritize Tasks

With so much on your plate, it can be tempting to tackle the easiest projects first, but you must resist, or you could kill your team’s productivity and efficiency.

Prioritize based on tasks that will have the most significant impact on your project and program goals. This helps you manage several priorities while working on multiple projects effectively.

Doing so allows your team to work strategically on both micro (i.e., organizing daily to-dos based on importance) and macro (i.e., moving low-impact projects to the following quarter) levels.

Let’s say your team is working on four product launches simultaneously with the overarching goal of increasing customer revenue.

While the four projects require about the same amount of time, effort, and resources to complete and roll out, assess which one has the potential to generate a bigger impact on your new customer revenue than the other three.

Prioritize the project (or projects) that have the most significant contribution to achieving your goals.

This helps you manage your resources and allocate your time better while ensuring your efforts align with your project goals and deliver your desired results.

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3. Establish Goals And Plans

Without establishing a standard project planning process or workflow, you’ll likely manage each of your projects differently.

This can lead to issues down the line, such as inconsistencies in your deliverables and precious time wasted on setting up new processes for each project.

That is why you need to have a solid plan, establish standard processes, and identify responsibilities from the get-go.

Outline everything from your goals, each step, and task necessary for project completion, schedules and deadlines, and the persons and teams responsible for specific jobs at the project level.

At the program level, develop plans, processes, and clarify responsibilities. Establish team-level goals and communicate the projects crucial to achieving those objectives.

You can start outlining your goals using a Specific, Measurable, Accurate, Realistic, and Timely  (SMART) approach and this sample goal-setting template.

You can use other templates as references and build on those to develop your project and program objectives.

Optimize your project management processes by setting team-wide standards. For instance, you can require project team leads to submit a brief before outlining a project plan for big projects.

You can also create templates for projects your team often handles to ensure consistency across projects and save time and effort.

Clear goals, plans, and responsibilities help your teams avoid inconsistencies in processes and deliverables.

4. Conduct Systematic Progress Updates

Tracking status and progress updates in a multi-project environment are critical to keeping stakeholders and key project players in the loop.

After all, you wouldn’t want your clients, for instance, to be breathing down your neck because you didn’t give them any status reports, making it crucial to establish a systematic updating process.

Establish smart, systematic status updates so that you can manage stakeholder expectations efficiently.

Below are a few tips for doing strategic and systematic project status updates.

  •     Define expectations. Layout the specific steps task owners or the team members in-charge of particular tasks are expected to follow. Identify a time frame for updating relevant stakeholders, whether every three days, weekly, monthly, etc.
  •     Include a high-level overview of key areas in the project. Add several bullet points that provide an update on the accomplishments, progress, and upcoming work for each key area of your project’s status. This ensures essential points are covered, and stakeholders get all the necessary updates they need.
  •     Schedule accountability. Have third-parties, such as staff in another department, the project sponsor, or other stakeholders, conduct reviews to ensure the resource person or task owner follows protocol and the specified updating time frame to a tee.

Implement a systematic status updating process to keep your project team motivated, ensure they understand the project plan, why it’s crucial to stay up to date, and clearly see the multiple demands your team must meet.

5. Delegate And Empower Team Members

Exercise effective delegation in your resource management by adopting clarity, authority, and accountability.

For instance, empowering your graphic designer to create a landing page for a new project means making sure he/she is absolutely clear about the task by providing a work breakdown structure.

This work breakdown structure of building a landing page campaign for a new product from Kanbanize is a good example.

A work breakdown structure outlines the phases of the project process clearly.

Additionally, to ensure the project process and phases are when delegating, be sure to:

  •     Clearly communicate the work breakdown structure
  •     Set a project deadline
  •     Relay specific client expectations
  •     List down the available resources the task owner has
  •     Describe the workload
  •     Provide him/her the authority to make and carry out decisions

Clarity ensures your team is clear on the direction. Team members avoid any guesswork and prioritize critical tasks and projects.

A clear work breakdown structure and project scope will also empower teamwork that boosts productivity while giving members a sense of fulfillment for meeting multiple demands.
Leverage a reliable project management tool that can streamline your work breakdown structure’s workflows and processes.

Data can back up the effectiveness of using the right project management tool with 77% of high-performing projects using project management software.

What’s Next?

Handling multiple projects at the same time is inevitable in project management and any efforts you take on.

While the tips in this guide are in no way guaranteed formulas for success, these are good building blocks to help develop your strategies for effective and strategic multiple project management.

Leverage the tactics we shared to stay on top of your projects’ moving pieces, meet your deadlines, and achieve your goals.

How to Write Effective Project Management Emails

PM Articles by Project Times. 

There is a-l-o-t involved when running a successful project: the manager and team relationships, the myriad of tasks that need to be completed, the budget, the deliverables, etc.

With all the moving parts that ought to be handled effectively, project managers can’t afford to have poor communication skills, especially when sending emails.

When project managers send poorly crafted emails, misunderstandings can occur, delaying the project for days.

Of course, we’re just scratching the surface.

Poorly crafted emails can cause disunity, needless purchases, friction between managers and employees, etc.

To avoid these needless yet frustrating hassles, we’ll share reliable tips that will help you write effective project management emails.

1. Use a professional-looking email signature

To command respect, you need to act and “look” respectable.

In a virtual setting, the “looking” respectable bit can come down to something as simple and minute as having a professional-looking email signature.

Give the email signatures of the people working in your company a closer look, and you’ll notice that most executives have professional-looking email signatures. In contrast, those who don’t have managerial roles don’t bother with having one.

As a project manager, you need to look as professional as possible; therefore, you need to add a stunning email signature.

The good news is, it’s easy to bring your entire team on board with having a professional email signature. For example, there are Office 365 email signature management tools that let you centrally manage and sync your company’s email signature. With the email signature management tool, you can auto-sync your signature through API integration instead of instructing your teams to copy and paste an email signature template.

2. Add your most important point on the first line

Chances are, your teammates are uber busy with accomplishing their list of to-dos and making sure everything about their scope of responsibilities is squeaky clean. That’s not easy to do, considering the variables involved when working on a project.

That’s why when sending your emails, add your most crucial point/s at the first line of your email.

This makes your email punchy, and it ensures that your most important message is read and not ignored.

The last thing you should do is add the meat of your message in the middle of your email. Your team might read your first lines and decide to set your entire message aside, thinking your message isn’t urgent.

3. Write a call-to-action (CTA)

This bit is crucial. If you don’t add a clear call-to-action on your email, you leave your readers guessing what they should do next.

This is especially the case when you point out several gaps or problems in your email about the parts of the project that the email recipients are handling. It leaves them confused about what gap to deal with first.

Even if you pointed out opportunities and not problems, the readers still won’t know for sure which opportunity you’d like to take action on unless you tell them clearly what you want them to do.

Adding a CTA removes any kind of guesswork on the readers. This adds clarity and allows the team to move forward in the same direction.

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4. Include bullet points

Adding bullet points improves your email’s readability, organizes information, and works as an optical break. These points can make your email messages easily digestible.

Think of bullet points as a summary of sorts. It allows you to convey your crucial points piece by piece in a manner that’s easy to find and understand.

5. Include a timeline

Now that you have a professional-looking email message, one that’s well-organized, with bullet points, and have a clear CTA, you need to add a timeline to let the recipients know how urgent your needs are.

Imagine how problematic it could become for your project if one of your teammates thought they could delay your task for weeks when they should be doing it immediately.

Suppose you have permits or documents you need to obtain to start sections of your project. You email one of your managers to get the documents, yet he/she thought the task can wait and isn’t a high priority when the entire project is put on hold because the documents aren’t obtained yet.

Scenarios like these can delay projects for weeks, even months.

6. Use encouraging words

At the end of the day, you need to remember that you’re dealing with people when you’re sending email messages.

These people might have had a tough day. They might have experienced rejections upon rejections, or they might even be sick physically yet still opted to work to prevent needless project delays.

The last thing you want is to sound severe or cold towards these people.

Not only does that demotivate them., but it could very well cause them to resent or rebel against you.

On the other hand, if you speak life to them by including encouraging words in your emails, you will motivate them and cultivate your relationship to something more meaningful.

This breeds unity.

And the value of unity can’t be downplayed if you want to run a project effectively.

7. Use online tools to bolster your email’s quality

With the help of online apps, you can improve your email’s readability and spot grammatical mistakes (among other things) before sending it to your teams.

Grammarly, for example, is excellent for spotting grammatical errors, typos or improve how your ideas are worded.

The Hemingway Editor is perfect for simplifying complicated sentences, so it’s easier for your readers to understand your message. The app even grades the readability of your write-up, so you have a benchmark of sorts on how easy it is to read.

The best part is, several of these online tools are free.

Send effective project management emails.

Sending effective project management emails doesn’t have to be rocket science.

Just by using the tips shared in the guide, you can drastically improve how your emails are written.

This helps you become a better communicator, which is absolutely necessary to the success of your projects.