Running multiple projects at once can be a daunting task. You’ll need to manage deliverables, people, and deadlines all at once. To be effective, you’ll need the right tools and techniques. Here are eight awesome ways to keep track of multiple projects.
Tracking multiple projects in an Excel spreadsheet is a recipe for disaster. It’s not scalable and does not provide an efficient means for collaboration in the event you need to share project details with others. As such, you should opt for the best project management software your or the company’s budget will allow for.
There are thousands of project management products on the market. Many come bundled within CRM (customer relationship management) software. The advantage of using a bundled software over a dedicated project management one is that you will gain a ton of other useful features.
All in one business management platforms like Super Easy CRM contain project management features as well as task, ticket, contact, and lead management.
It’s vital that you track what went wrong in your project so that you can prevent those issues from happening in the future. Thus, it’s important to have ticket management or some form of issue logging within the project management software.
Reporting is also an important feature. Your project tracker should allow you to export reports or easily view them on the user interface.
You want something that will show you immediately, exactly where you are in completing your projects.
Before promising a deliverable at a certain date, consider all factors that might impede your timely delivery. Factor in shipping, development time, necessary approvals, and above all else, your current workload. If your day is filled to brim with tasks, so much so that you struggle to find time for lunch, don’t promise quick turnarounds!
Now, customers and colleagues probably won’t want to hear that developing a new feature will take two to three months. However, they will certainly appreciate you providing them with an honest ETA over an unrealistic delivery date that doesn’t materialize as promised.
Realistic deadlines are not only good for your customers, but they are helpful to you as well. You won’t burn yourself out trying to meet crazy deadlines if you don’t set them in the first place. Remember, your mental health and well-being is more important than any salary or job will ever be.
There is nothing worse than needing something done and having no idea when it will be done. Leaving customers in the dark causes unnecessary frustration and diminishes your reputation. Even if you are not delivering good news to a customer, they will appreciate being made aware of the progress.
Sending a quick note to a client, informing them of the progress of a deliverable goes a long way in fostering a healthy relationship. It also helps to bolster your professional reputation. Never allow the customer to think that you have forgotten about them.
If you utilize a project management like the one found in Super Easy CRM, you can configure notifications to automatically trigger whenever statuses change. This way, you won’t have to remember to send updates to customers.
4. Ask for help!
Our egos are our greatest enemies at times. Everyone needs help from someone at some point in their lives. Truly successful people know when to ask for help and refuse to let their pride get in the way of doing so.
If you are overallocated, reach out to another department for help. Even if the department or individual you are asking for help does not have the same skillset, they still could be of some assistance.
Maybe you can push off some data entry tasks to free up your time for client meetings. Or you could pawn off the analysis you need to do on someone in the IT department who has a few hours to spare.
Simply put, a person does not need the same skillset as you to be able to help you. They just need to be willing to help.
Big tasks are projects within a project. So, you should manage them as such. If a task is composed of multiple steps, take some time to list each one out.
An example of a large task might be, adding an upload function to the HR web portal to track timesheets.
A task like this could consist of the following.
Now that you have decomposed this large task into 5 smaller components, your workload becomes much more manageable. This also offers supervisors and company owners a more granular view of your workflow.
You should go through each task, assess a level of effort, and come up with a realistic delivery date for the client.
If you are managing multiple projects, then you are likely receiving hundreds of emails daily. Just getting through emails can feel like a full-time job in and of itself. To keep messages from getting lost, you can set up rules within Microsoft Outlook to place emails pertaining to a project within that project’s folder.
You’ll first need to create a folder for your project. To do that, right-click on your inbox and select the NEW FOLDER option.
Next go over the ribbon located near the top of Outlook and select the RULES option.
Here, you’ll find everything you need to create rules that will move your project emails to their own special inboxes. I go through setting up Outlook rules in more detail in my article here.
It might seem counterintuitive to take more breaks when trying to be productive, but rested minds and body perform exceedingly better that worn out ones. Staring at a screen for hours on end causes strain on your eyes, back, and mind.
You need to take breaks in between tasks to give your mind a chance to refresh and replenish its strength. Just as strength training requires rest between sets to be effective, your mind must rest in between strenuous tasks.
Try to take about 5 or 10 minutes every hour to walk or do some push ups and watch your productivity soar.
The Project Management Institute provides a set of practices for project management in their PMPBOK (project management body of knowledge). These tried-and-true methods of management have guided many project managers to success for decades.
In addition, earning the PMP certification helps boost your salary prospects.
With the right tech, attitude, and support you can manage any number of projects thrown your way. Just be sure not to burn out, and if you feel yourself stressing too much, ask for help and take a break!
Subscribe to my blog!