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How can you manage multiple projects simultaneously? This is the question I answer in my book, Managing Multiple Projects.
It is important to understand how each part of your workload fits together so that you can manage them efficiently. Don’t worry, I have a 5-step framework to help you.
The image below shows the Managing Multiple Projects framework. It’s not linear, as not much in project management can be. It is not always possible to get work done in a linear fashion. This is because most methods require reflection and review. The’step by step to a specific goal’ approach to managing modern work environments is rarely the best. There are too many complexities and divergences that can get in the way.
Instead, think of the framework instead as the five concepts that will help you manage the chaos of multiple projects. This will give you more confidence that your progress is being made.
They don’t need to be viewed in the same order. It is helpful to understand your personal work portfolio before planning your activities for the next few weeks. However, if you are looking to get into personal productivity, you can do so first.
The components of the framework are:
Let’s take a look at each one.
This is where you can gain a comprehensive understanding of your current workload. It will help you to see patterns and groupings in all the things that you do.
You will be able to discuss your workload in a new way using portfolio management principles. Additionally, you will have tools to prioritize what needs to be done.
This is where you combine all your project schedules into one big picture plan. This will help you make better decisions about how to approach task scheduling. It will also help you avoid wasting time planning work that will change by the time it is done.
This overview will help you decide if you are able to take on additional work, and when. It will also improve visibility of what you have already committed to for the next weeks and months.
This section of the framework will teach you how to engage with and work with the most important stakeholders – those who are interested and impacted by your projects and those who need to contribute to it.
You will learn how to keep track and prioritize your time with all your coworkers. Just as project schedules overlap, so too do people’s interests.
Understanding how stakeholders interact with your projects will help you to use their time more effectively.
If you feel disorganized and struggling to be productive, even the best processes in this world, it won’t help. Although productivity is different for everyone, there are common elements that many people find challenging.
This section teaches you how to manage your work and create focus time for the tasks that matter to you.
It is important to remember that success comes from a supportive environment.
Many project managers aren’t the top leaders of their organizations and are unable to influence strategies, tools, or the number of projects the company promises clients. This section focuses on how you can make your life easier and support colleagues by creating processes and checklists that make work more consistent and standard.
This removes some of the mental overload that comes with trying to remember what to do at all times. Instead, you can use your brainpower to perform more value-added tasks.
It’s time to put it into practice