How To Manage Multiple Projects

Managing multiple projects at once can seem overwhelming, but it is often a necessary part of the job. As time-consuming as it may appear, several strategies can be implemented to make managing multiple projects smoother.

Keeping track of all the moving pieces can be a challenge, and not every strategy we recommend is a big game-changer, but it is often that small changes can lead to great results. To streamline your projects, our advice its to use a combination of these strategies at one time.

We know that every workplace is unique, with its own challenges, goals, and processes. However, there are overarching strategies that can be employed – no matter what the project. We break down our favorite ways you can manage multiple projects to avoid becoming overwhelmed, burnt-out, and mistake-prone.

How to Manage Multiple Projects Simultaneously

Here are our tried and tested ways to manage multiple projects at once to ensure success, and avoid an overwhelming workload:

  1. Dare To Say No
  2. Fix Your Deadlines And Your Costs
  3. Know How To Compromise
  4. Find A Strong Team That You Can Rely On
  5. Use The Right Tools
  6. Communicate!
  7. Learn From Your Mistakes

1. Dare To Say No

No is a full sentence. When managing multiple projects, you'll often find yourself pulled in several directions at once, and you might not always be sure how to set boundaries. As a project manager, you might be answerable to multiple people, however, this doesn't mean that you can't tell people politely – and firmly – that you aren't able to get to a task as quickly as they may want you to.

Don't be afraid to be clear about your priorities, first to yourself and then to others. If you find it hard to say ‘no', you'll soon find that your workload will become an impossibility. Saying ‘no' will give you more control over your schedule so that you can accurately work on each project.

Once you've identified your priorities, you can confidently say ‘no' because you know where you do and don't have the resources and time to take on extra tasks. Ensure that when you do say ‘no', you communicate professionally. Setting boundaries doesn't mean being hostile or aggressively shutting someone down. Instead, you could explain what you have on, or give a timeframe for when you can complete the task. This will ensure that both parties have clear expectations.

2. Fix Your Deadlines And Your Costs

In Agile project management, time and costs allocated to the project are fixed at the beginning of the project. This can't be changed once set so it ensures that you only use the right amount of resources and no more.

Projects can certainly get out of hand and there can often be a waste of time and resources. Setting these up before a project starts ensures that everyone on board knows the limit on resources and prevents wastage.

Fixing these keeps the project on track and as it can't be changed once set, it helps keep the whole project on track.

3. Know How To Compromise

As deadlines and resources are fixed, you want to find other areas where you can make compromises. It might seem that it makes more sense to be flexible around time and resources, however, these can easily go off track and cause major issues down the line.

What you can compromise on are features within the project. For example, does your app need to be translated into five languages for its launch date? Or, do you need a barcode scanning function right now, or can be this added later?

Asking these questions, and figuring out where some compromises can be made depending on the project's overall aims and goals, can help keep each project manageable and doable.

4. Find A Strong Team You Can Rely On

This is one of the key strategies to a successful project. A reliable team provides a strong foundation for a project to work smoothly and on time.

As a manager, you must delegate tasks based on your team's strengths and weaknesses, so you must know this about your team. This way you can ensure that each team member can complete their delegated tasks, avoiding delays and big mistakes.

When starting a project, your team should know what's expected from them so everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.

5. Use The Right Tools

Project management tools and templates, such as monday.com, with charts like GANNT or RACI, help you manage several projects. RACI charts help you to establish a hierarchy for each step of the project management process. RACI charts are easy to set up and an important step to ensure projects are approached in an effective and organized way.

monday.com offers a great RACI chart as its interface is easy to use and see. You're able to organize the chart by person, task, or column. Another great RACI chart is offered by Smartsheet, providing a notes column where users can go in-depth on the tasks and individuals connected to them.

Our independent research team has compared 14 different project management software to find the cream of the crop. This is why we can confidently recommend monday.com and Smartsheet as both appear in our top three best project management software. monday.com scores a 4.6/5 overall and Smartsheet a 4.5/5.

While project management software typically exists for individual projects, it can be used to manage granular day-to-day tasks. When managing multiple projects, features, such as collaborative to-do lists and message boards, will help individuals track tasks and deadlines. The comments feature also provides an easy way to ensure that everyone involved in each project is on track. These features are especially helpful where individuals are involved across multiple projects.

6. Communicate!

Communication is key to any successful collaboration. When collaborating across multiple projects, keeping the lines of communication open helps everyone involved keep on track, face any challenges or obstacles head-on, and prevent any confusion.

Project management software typically includes a live chat or messaging functionality because this helps ensure that team members can stay in contact with each other throughout the project.

7. Learn from your mistakes

Mistakes, in some form or another, are inevitable and, as long as you're learning from them, they can often show you the quickest paths to productivity and success. Jira offers the capability to run a feedback session, so project members can discuss mistakes and lessons learned.

Trello also has a similar capability, however, this is fairly limited. If you want to use forms/surveys to collect feedback this will need to be done via a third-party because Trello is suited to a whiteboard approach.

Once you've collected feedback, analyzed any mistakes, and worked out how to avoid them going forward, you will have even more tools and knowledge to smoothly manage multiple projects at once.

How can Project Management Software Help me Manage Several Projects Simultaneously with Competing Deadlines?

Project management software, such as monday.com or Clickup, offer features to manage multiple projects with competing deadlines. Both of these offer the ability to view all of your current projects in a calendar, allowing you to see multiple deadlines. You can allocate the right resources to different projects based on their schedules, as well as create visual dashboards to compare projects side by side.

monday.com offers the ability to update information as the project progresses because almost anything can be edited with a click. This makes it easy to ensure that the project data is always up to date. Accurate delegation is the key to making multiple projects manageable, and monday.com offers you a dedicated resource management chart that will make it easy to locate which team member has available resources.

When finding the best project management software, it's important that you do your due diligence so you can make an informed decision. Not all software is equal and some will be a better fit over others however not having one will make it incredibly difficult to manage even just one project, let alone multiple.

monday.com calendar

We especially like Clickup's dashboard. Its dashboard includes a Burndown chart creator so that you can visualize project progress vs time. However, you aren't able to pull data from custom fields.

ClickUp Burndown Chart
Verdict

We recommend implementing several strategies, such as learning to set boundaries, communicating effectively, choosing a reliable team, and setting your time and resource limit up front, to simultaneously manage multiple projects.

Choosing the right project management software will help you stay on track, communicate with your team, and prioritize effectively. We've put together a handy comparison chart so that you can evaluate which provider is best for your business. You can compare pricing, customer score, and what each provider is best for.

FAQs

How do you manage multiple projects without being overwhelmed?
One of the key ways to avoid becoming overwhelmed is to delegate effectively. If you don't know your team very well, you should do some investigating so that you can figure out the strengths and weaknesses of each individual. This will help you delegate accurately and ensure the project stays on track.
How do you manage resources for multiple projects?
One way you can manage resources for multiple projects is through a resource management chart, offered by monday.com. This chart makes it easy to see which member of the team has available resources. This way you can easily delegate effectively and ensure that resources are being used well.

Another way to manage resources is to set this up before the start of each project and, typically, once these have been set, they can't be changed. This ensures that resources aren't being overused and can be spread across multiple projects.

How do you handle dealing with multiple tasks at once?
Project management software is typically used for individual projects, however, it can also be used to stay on top of your day-to-day tasks. Project management software provides features, such as collaborative to-do lists and message boards, which can be used to track deadlines, updates, and comments.
Zara Chechi

Zara is a law grad with a penchant for wordsmithing. As Expert Market’s CRM and payroll expert, she relishes researching and writing expert content.