Multi-project management - for many companies a curse and a blessing at the same time. Yet it can so easily transform into the biggest blessing for your company! How? Find out here!
(Multi-) Project Management Myths BustedLinh Tran, Tuesday 18 January 2022 | Reading time: 7 min.
Multi-project management is nothing new for many organizations. Nevertheless, there are enormous challenges in the simultaneous management of several projects, which have still not been adequately solved - at least that's what many people think. There are also many myths surrounding the topic that make effective and efficient multi-project management difficult. In this post, we debunk these myths and show you how to overcome these obstacles with InLoox.
Myth 1: Multitasking increases efficiency
Who hasn't experienced this? You're concentrating hard on a task and suddenly you're interrupted by an incoming call. Or your coworker knocks on the door with a very urgent task. So you leave your original task and occupy yourself with task B. Task B leads to task C. And suddenly you have forgotten your original task. Two days later, your boss knocks on the door and demands results for task A from you. Now what?
Multitasking may be useful and even quite productive in some cases, especially if the gap between tasks is quite large. But for project managers, it's the exact opposite. Projects take longer and become more expensive than originally planned.
Although it means a change for many and may seem a bit cumbersome at first, there is only one stopwatch in InLoox. This means that you are more or less forced to concentrate on one single task and always return to this one task even after a temporary interruption. What is important for this approach is a correct prioritization of your projects, as suggested below.
Myth 2: You should focus only on your own project
It is clear that every project manager prioritizes their own project and always makes decisions in favor of that project. After all, their performance is evaluated based on the success of their project. However, it is often overlooked that almost every decision within the project simultaneously impacts other projects and the rest of the organization, especially when it comes to decisions regarding budgets and resources. Thus, multi-project management often hurts its own bottom line with this approach.
It is best to create a master project in which you publish the most important milestones and activities of the individual projects and give your respective project managers reading rights. This allows the project managers to keep themselves up to date and to quickly find the information they need and to intervene in time if something gets out of hand. Arrange weekly status meetings with the project managers, where everyone briefly discusses the status of their project (maximum 5 minutes). As a result, not only you as a multi-project manager, but also all your project managers get an overview and can immediately see what impact their project decisions have on other projects.
Myth 3: There are multiple #1 priorities
Prioritizing projects is THE issue in multi-project management. Which projects are important? Which ones are perhaps even more important? The most diverse factors must seemingly be weighed against each other, which in turn are themselves of varying importance. Methods such as the ABC analysis can help you prioritize more easily, but they are often time-consuming. In many organizations, the prioritization of projects costs a lot of time. Time, which one could invest in the actual completion of the project tasks. So the question is: Why complicate matters when they can be so simple?
Prioritize according to only one criteria - the deadline. Then you can be sure that you always have only ONE #1 priority: The project whose completion date is the earliest. Having an overarching project plan with all your projects and deadlines will help you stay on top of things. Be sure to keep in mind, however, that this will automatically push back the completion of other projects, which in turn could conflict with other important deadlines! Prudent planning (see point Individual projects) is crucial! In InLoox, the project groups help you as they display the dependencies between the projects.
Myth 4: The more reports the better
It is the task of multi-project managers to keep track of all projects and their progress. Therefore, it is their right to demand progress reports from the respective project teams. Unfortunately, there are often misunderstandings about the comprehensiveness or formality of the reports. In addition, employees often simply lack the time to prepare such reports or reports are glossed over in order to avoid coming under the scrutiny of management. Time or budget overruns are then often only noticed when it is already too late. This in turn leads to mistrust on the part of management, who then demand more and more detailed reports - a vicious circle.
"Highly effective multi-project organizations do not need reports to focus and prioritize projects, but can access their information at any time from a simple monitoring system" (Capterra). This is exactly what InLoox provides. Through dashboards and the creation of report templates, you always keep track of your projects and the respective planning KPIs. Information is always up to date and easy to read. With the help of the new notification features, all important stakeholders can be informed by mail about changes to the project. If you still need to create additional reports, you can do so automatically with just a few clicks in InLoox. This provides you with standardized reports containing exactly the information you need.
Yes, multi-project management is difficult. There are thousands of factors to consider. But there is also help. With small tweaks, you can overcome most of the challenges. For more information on InLoox products, click here.
(Original German text by Madeleine Gritzbach; English translation by Linh Tran)