Three tips for managing multiple projects

Managers and program directors are commonly asked to wear many hats at once, and manage work on multiple projects simultaneously. In these situations, it is easy for important details to slip through the cracks. To avoid some of the most common errors in multi-project management, follow the tips outlined below.

  • Get priorities in order. Successful project management begins with listing all deadlines on a shared calendar, and prioritizing tasks. While every project may seem to be the favorite of one executive or sponsor, some projects will have greater potential benefit than others. Lacking clear instructions on which project is the most important, you may have to use your best judgment to decide the order they will receive your attention. 
  • Delegate effectively. Experienced professionals recognize their own strengths, and make sure that their expertise and guidance is deployed effectively. However, when managing multiple projects, it is important to refrain from getting "caught up" in the details of a single project. It is best to avoid showing clear preference for task or project team, as this can discourage other teams and make them hesitate before coming to you for assistance. 
  • Keep channels of communication open. Make sure every team member knows the best way to reach you for comments, concerns or emergencies, and when is appropriate to do so. It is important to ensure that you are checking in with all teams regularly, not only to assure appropriate progress, but to motivate the teams and show that you are invested in their success. 

While having a single employee or executive manage multiple projects can become necessary in lean times, strategic business consulting can lead to improved outcomes in many cases. Especially for certain organizations, such as oil drilling companies, where attention to detail is critical, having an experienced leader provides the oversight necessary to bring projects to a satisfactory completion within original scope.