In today’s world, things can get thrown at you in a New York minute – often having deadlines of yesterday. To get ahead, you often have to make tough decisions under an immense amount of pressure. When it comes to managing multiple projects, how do you know when to turn left or right? We’ve discovered the secrets to setting priorities while working on multiple projects.
Senior management is responsible for setting priorities
The first tip: if senior management makes a decision, stick with it. You may have a perspective of what is important in your projects, but company leadership has a much larger scope to understand what is best for the company. This is particularly difficult when you know first hand that a client has a different perspective. Being prepared for change management is essential to keep on track. In these cases, follow the guidance of your superiors to protect yourself from any consequences if deadlines aren’t met.
Build a strong team you trust
The purpose of having a team is to have an array of skills at your project's disposal. And knowing who to delegate tasks to is critical to have a functional team. When it comes to project prioritization, if you have to micro-manage, you are taking time away from other tasks. An effective manager should be able to inform their team about what needs to be done and have confidence they’ll do it correctly. The same goes to students. If you’re having a tough time on a subject, reach out to a professional in the subject area and ask them to write my essay so you can better apply your skills to the courses you excel at.
The best managers are able to assess the capabilities of their resources and apply them in an efficient manner for optimal results. When tasked with multiple projects, a skilled manager will immediately be able to spot problem areas and potential bottlenecks, so knowing who is who in your org structure becomes essential. Create a governance model with a RACI matrix to determine roles and responsibilities in a project to smooth out a lot of contingencies you face. This will provide a clear direction of whom to inform and where to operate best for problem resolution. With this practice, you’ll get less run around and ignored emails by simply adding structure into your work.
How to manage priorities with meetings and tools
To meet or not to meet? Honestly ask yourself if your meetings are productive. So much time is lost due to inefficient meetings that don’t accomplish their goals. Standups that last over an hour, progress meetings that become social gatherings, and not being prepared are all culprits that get on the way of you and your priorities. Wasted time means deadlines are put at risk and thus creates a domino effect on priorities management. Here is a quick list to optimize the productivity of your working time.
- Meetings should always start on time. Remember, the people you invite are planning around a scheduled meeting. If you find you are often putting them off or canceling the last minute, this is valuable time lost. Team members interrupt their work only to restart a process, and if people are late, they miss valuable information.
- Always have an agenda. Even if it’s a quick 15 minute conference call to review changes in a product’s design, make a plan. Focus your time on the issues at hand. Set your agenda with time frames for each item. If certain topics are much more involved, take some notes of the issue, plan a future focus group for it and move on.
- Skip the pleasantries. So many meetings start with small talk and before you know it, you’re having a hangout session instead of using the time productively.
- Get feedback. Meetings aren’t lectures. If the main goal is to give an informative presentation, make sure the invitees are clear on the priorities you set and don’t have any obstacles reaching them.
Use your tools
No matter your project tracking software, you are likely to have a set of analytical tools that come with it. Be sure to use them to the fullest benefit. Burndown charts and velocity graphs are excellent for identifying problems. If you see a few priorities hanging in limbo, reach out to the responsible person and determine any bottlenecks. Many managers use a risk assessment matrix to determine where problem areas are likely to occur and monitor them closely. Often check up with those working on the issues and get status updates to ensure the progress is on course.
Managing multiple projects will certainly keep you busy, but being attentive to your resources and using the right amount of structure will allow you to better manage the process. Always be on the lookout for potential obstacles and plan ahead so you can deal with them efficiently.