If you’re in charge of a marketing team, a business, or any other department, you may find yourself working on different things simultaneously. Knowing how to manage multiple projects then becomes a crucial skill.
You’ll need to have organizational, communication, and time management skills. Managing a team, prioritizing tasks, and keeping track of different workflows will also require focus. This can all get difficult and overwhelming for one person.
You’ll need the right tools and resources to let things flow. More importantly, you’ll need to implement the right strategies.
This next section discusses project management tips that will make it easier for you to manage multiple projects efficiently.
10 Tips to Manage Multiple Projects Simultaneously
It’s possible to work on and complete multiple projects simultaneously with the right project management strategies. Here are a few you can try out.
1. Learn How to Manage a Single Project First
First things first, how fast and efficient are you at managing a single project?
Knowing how to manage one project swiftly before you can accommodate more makes things easier. It’s one of those “learn to walk before you run” situations, especially for those who are new to project management.
Given how overwhelming managing multiple projects can be, here are some skill sets you should master beforehand:
- Knowing how to turn your project requirements into specific, time-bound goals
- Defining your project scope, deliverables, and timeline accurately
- Creating optimized project workflows and tracking your progress
- Managing your project and ensuring it is carried out within set timelines
- Reviewing your project and completing reports
If you master the above practices and can apply them to one project, then learninghow to manage multiple projects should be easy.
2. Create a Project Plan
Another way to manage multiple projects is by creating a plan for each project on your list. This way, you’ll be able to divide responsibilities among your team members and outline their roles clearly to avoid any confusion later.
The project planning process also ensures that your team’s deliverables are consistent.
Develop a schedule for each project and estimate how long it will take to complete each task. Break the project down into smaller bits to make it easier for your team to stick to set timelines.
You’ll also need to set up regular meetings with your team members to address any inconsistencies and challenges.
Create templates for each project, so your team will have some direction on what’s required of them. Additionally, you’ll be able to reuse these templates or tweak them for future projects, which saves you time.
For instance, if you’re overseeing a content marketing team, you may have template guides on how to write blog posts, content writing tools to use, landing page outlines, etc.
Having a clear project plan helps keep your team grounded, sharpens their focus, and makes it easier for you to switch between tasks. This makes managing multiple projects easier.
Here’s an example of how such a plan would look like.
Image via Asana
3. Know Which Tasks To Prioritize
If you’re managing multiple tasks, chances are that they differ in length, scope, importance, requirements, urgency, etc. For that reason, you’ll need to work on them in their order of priority.
This can be tricky since sometimes a project manager’s idea of priority may differ from an organization’s. Here’s how to determine which project to prioritize.
- Consider your project goals: Your long-term goal will help you determine how important each project is. So if you find yourself at a crossroads, ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish with the projects. That should shed some light on which one to complete first.
- Is it urgent or important?: Most people complete time-sensitive projects first regardless of whether they’re important or not. Here’s the right order of priority, based on urgency and importance:
- Important and urgent
- Important but not urgent
- Urgent but not important
- Not important and not urgent
This is according to the Eisenhower matrix’s productivity framework.
Image via Eisenhower
- Hold priority meetings: You can also hold meetings with your team members to determine which tasks to prioritize.
Prioritizing helps better allocate time and resources to specific projects. Once you’ve ranked your projects by priority, be sure to number them as well.
4. Adjust Project Schedules for Team Productivity
To manage all the tasks, you may need to change project schedules.
When assigning timelines at the beginning, most of it is based on estimations. However, as your projects start, their full scope unfolds and sometimes they may need more time than estimated.
Most project management tools let you edit your project schedule, so use one to efficiently manage multiple projects. Here’s an example.
Image via Monday
To avoid overwhelming your team and derailing their productivity, you may need to reschedule some projects. Here is how you can make sure you do this right.
- Identify duplicate tasks on different projects and consolidate them.
- Look out for dependent projects and be sure to schedule them appropriately.
- If a single team is responsible for multiple projects, adjust the start and completion dates as per order of priority.
Good time-management is one important skill to master when learning how to manage multiple projects at once.
5. Learn to Delegate
Knowing how to delegate tasks effectively can be a lifesaver when your projects become overwhelming. However, when assigning some of your responsibilities to other members of your team, you’ll need to retain oversight.
You’ll still be responsible for the results of the tasks you delegate. Also, while overseeing the tasks you delegate, you should be careful not to micromanage team members as this can have negative effects on their productivity.
One way to do this is by making projects accessible to the whole team from a centralized location. This way, you can check your team’s project updates without directly getting involved.
Try to find a person who has the skill set that matches the task you want to delegate so it can be done efficiently. If you are delegating to a team member, you’ll need to refer to their schedule and ensure that they have the time to do it well.
6. Utilize Project Management Tools and Resources
Another tip on how to manage multiple projects is using project management tools. These let you manage your projects from a single location.
Tools like Trello, for example, can help you manage your team’s projects, especially for small businesses. However, if your team is bigger, you can explore other Trello alternatives like Monday and ClickUp and see which one fits your project needs.
You can create a project calendar and clearly outline deadlines for each task. This will not only act as a reminder, but it’ll also help you determine how far your team is and check the status of their projects.
It also makes it easier to manage international teams, if any. For instance, if some of your team members are in a different time zone, or have different holidays, you can communicate your availability easily.
You can use your existing company calendar as a reference to create your project calendar.
7. Manage Expectations
Managing your expectations and those of your team members and clients is crucial when handling multiple projects. Every project manager needs to communicate any changes promptly to the relevant stakeholders to avoid any misalignment.
Being in charge of multiple projects at once means that things will get out of hand sometimes, no matter how much effort you put in. Sometimes you may not be able to deliver work within set deadlines.
Therefore, when you communicate frequently during projects, youcan update everyone on the progress of your work.
This requires that you have insight into everything that is happening with the projects, so you’re not blindsided either.
Holding regular meetings with team members to get updates and reports helps with this. You’ll also need a project management tool that lets your team share progress and updates in real-time.
It could be something as simple as a Kanban board or something more complex depending on your project needs. Here is an example.
Image via Trello
8. Be Flexible to Change
Sometimes priorities can change, either for projects or the organization. Knowing how to be flexible to such changes is key to mastering how to manage multiple projects.
If you’re working with a project team, you’ll need to empower them to be flexible as well. They should be able to realign with the new priorities when needed.
However, putting some projects on hold may have consequences that you may not be aware of. For instance, your team’s schedule may not align with the new project and they may need to change it. For this reason, you’ll need a change control process.
This way, when a stakeholder requests a change to your project, you can track these requests and prepare yourself as well as your team for them.
9. Balance Workload Across Your Projects
Another aspect of managing multiple projects is knowing how to distribute workload among team members.
While you may monitor the progress of your projects, you’ll not know the exact tasks your team members perform. You can’t see every single task each project team member performs across all your projects, and only rely on their constant updates.
This way, problems like missed deadlines, or projects not being performed right can catch you off guard. Breaking down your projects into small tasks and having oversight of each task helps with this, like so.
Image via Asana
This way, you not only identify when an employee is overbooked but also identify underutilized talent. Then, you can reassign, remove, re-delegate, or defer tasks, and readjust timelines accordingly.
10. Track Your Progress and Save Your Workflows
When you manage multiple projects at once, you’ll need to track the progress of your projects constantly. This will help you find out if you’re achieving your set objectives and goals, and help you determine your shortcomings.
Say you were running a marketing campaign and missed out on some lead-generation strategies and that affected your results. You’ll know what to do differently in the next campaign.
Similarly, you can save your workflows as a reference for what you did right. Instead of building a whole new project plan from scratch in your next set of projects, you’ll have a headstart.
Saving your workflows also ensures that you don't miss any important steps in your future projects. You can make it into a customizable template that you can then update regularly with new insight you gather from your future asks.
This makes it all simpler moving forward, not only for you but also for your team members.
This next section talks about some challenges you’re likely to face while implementing the above strategies.
Challenges Associated with Managing Multiple Projects Simultaneously
That said, juggling multiple projects is still not an easy task. Besides keeping track of projects you’ll still have to handle your administrative tasks, and sometimes, manage a few teams.
Here are some challenges of tracking multiple projects.
- Conflicting or unclear priorities: Sometimes, even with a solid project plan prioritizing tasks can still be challenging. Things can happen that are beyond your control and cause delays.
- Information overload: Handling multiple projects means handling loads of information. You’ll need to plan, schedule, process, oversee and report. This all could get overwhelming.
- Overlapping resources: Your different projects will take up your resources such as time, talent, and capital. Your team may have a hard time with effective resource management.
- Competing deadlines: You’ll have clashing deadlines on projects and it gets difficult to allocate resources and plan for each of them.
With the right strategies, resources, and project management tools, you can learn how to mitigate these challenges effectively.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What is the best method for managing multiple tasks at once?
A. Here are some tips that will help you manage multiple tasks effectively:
- Learning how to manage a single task first
- Creating a project plan
- Adjusting g project schedules for team productivity
- Delegating tasks when needed
- Utilizing project management resources
- Managing expectations
Q2. What are the 4 levels of prioritizing tasks?
A. According to the Eisenhower matrix, here are the 4 levels of prioritizing tasks.
- Important and urgent: Do first
- Important but not urgent: Schedule
- Urgent but not important: Delegate
- Not important and not urgent: Don’t do
Q3. How do you handle multiple projects with competing deadlines?
A. Here are some tips you can apply when you have multiple projects with competing deadlines.
- Prioritize each of your projects up front and number them
- Assign timelines to each of your tasks
- Allow some room for flexibility or change in schedule
- Keep all your stakeholders in the loop about your progress
Q4. What is the 80/20 rule in project management?
A. This refers to the Pareto Principle which states that 20% of inputs give rise to 80% of outputs. It helps project managers know which tasks to prioritize for maximum impact.
Q5. What are the three 3 main challenges in project management?
A. Some of the main challenges you may face when managing multiple projects include:
- Having conflicting or unclear priorities
- Trouble allocating resources
- Handling too much information
Manage Your Workflows and Get Your Work Done On Time
Working on multiple tasks can be tedious and challenging even for experienced project managers. That’s why it’s important to learn how to manage multiple tasks at once.
This involves multitasking, dividing your attention between projects and teams, and communicating your progress every so often with stakeholders.
Hopefully, these strategies help make that easier for you. With the right planning, project management software, and when needed, delegation, you should be good to go.
All the best in getting your projects to completion.
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