Upgrade your project management skills – use a one-stop software for managing across multiple projects
Have you recently been put in charge of a new project at work?
Oftentimes when we’re asked to manage a new project, we’re actually being asked to juggle an additional project alongside our existing responsibilities and tasks.
If that sounds familiar, then you’re in the right place.
Today, we’re going to be talking about how to manage across multiple projects.
Because, in reality, we’re not always going to have the luxury of focusing on one project at a time.
But, don’t fret.
Project juggling is eminently possible with the right approach.
Here at Project Central, we operate our projects under three key phases.
- Plan a project
- Manage a project
- Manage across multiple projects
Today, we’re homing in on number three. Think of this article as your instruction to multi-project management.
We’ve already laid the foundations (check out the previous articles in this series on planning and managing a project).
Now, it’s time to talk Advanced Project Management
And we’ve even got a free downloadable template to help you get started!
Manage across multiple projects with our Project Central three step process
There are three key steps when managing across projects.
- Manage across tasks
- Manage across projects
- Manage across programs
We’ll be walking you through each, one-by-one.
By the end, you’ll be well on your way to acing your project management skills across multiple projects.
Step 1: Manage across tasks
Before even attempting to manage across entire projects (not to mention multiple projects), it’s important to get used to managing across multiple tasks.
Regardless of your professional role, you will have a range of tasks to complete in the short, mid, and long term.
And being able to organize and manage these effectively is the first step towards being a good multi-project manager.
It’s worth thinking of workload balancing as the core skill needed for project management success.
Managing tasks is the essential foundation for everything to come. So, without further ado, we’d like to share with you our Project Central task management top tips and tricks.
We have 3 Tips to help you
Tip # 1: Prioritize – Every task is relative. Nobody can do everything at once.
So, you’re going to have to prioritize tasks on your to-do list. What’s essential right now and what can wait?
Tip # 2: Schedule – Winging it is out. Scheduling is your new life motto.
Task management is all about organization. Scheduling limits distractions and helps you keep on track.
Tip # 3: Be flexible – Organization is essential, but rigidity is not.
Change is inevitable. Sometimes your milestones and deadlines will need to be moved around. And that’s okay.
Having the right task management tool will help you manage across tasks without the headaches.
The right tool will help you manage and track your tasks in an intuitive and time-saving manner.
And that’s exactly what Project Central is all about.
Project Management Software
Our simple project management software is designed with occasional project managers in mind.
It’s easy to navigate without scrimping on all those useful features.
You’ll be able to set, manage, and track your tasks with ease.
My Tasks allows you to view all of your open and closed tasks across all your projects making it so much easier to manage tasks and make adjustments as and when necessary.
You’ll be able to…
- Create task lists
- Group related tasks into sections
- Sort tasks
- Create task checklists
- Apply task comments
- Add start and due dates
- Assign team members
- Track task progress
- Drag and drop tasks
- Flag a task
- Upload files from Office 365
Step 2: Manage across projects
Once you can confidently manage across tasks, you’re ready to expand your project management repertoire.
If you’re about to embark on a multi-project management spree then make sure you read this. We’re going to let you in to our cross-project management tips and tricks.
Juggling multiple projects can easily collapse into disorganized chaos.
And that’s exactly what we want to avoid.
Learning to juggle projects with ease is a mega-skill. And it’s definitely possible. All you need is the right strategy and the right tools.
So, without further ado, it’s time we let you into out multi-management top tips.
We have five Tips to help you
Tip # 1: Prioritize – Just like with your task management, you’re going to have to prioritize various aspects of each project too. There’s no use trying to do everything at once. Cutting corners is not the answer. Prioritize your projects (and tasks) within so that you can dedicate your full attention to the task at hand before moving on to the next.
Tip # 2: Block your time – When your workload is complex, blocking out your time can make things feel more manageable. On your calendar tool you’ll want to literally block sections of your day for certain tasks. Avoid any overlaps (that’s a clear sign you’re not engaging in effective prioritization).
Tip # 3: Streamline workloads – there’s only so much one person can do at any one given moment. So, make sure that you’re streamlining your workloads to avoid burnout. Streamlining could mean anything from reviewing those critical tasks, delegating low-priority jobs, or even just managing your time in the most efficient and intuitive way possible.
Important to consider
Tip # 4: Overlay project planning – When managing more than one project it’s important to consider how the milestones of one project will impact those of another project. When prioritizing and scheduling, keep this in mind. If one project has a major deadline on June 15th, make sure your other projects aren’t in a mission critical state at the same time.
Tip # 5: Track your progress – Always track and monitor your progress. You need to assess the overall health of your projects regularly. This way you’ll be able to identify what is working well and what isn’t. Then you’ll be able to make any necessary adjustments in a timely, calm manner.
If all of this is starting to make your mind spin, it’s okay.
It’s completely normal
There is a limit to how much one person can multitask without crumbling into insanity.
And that’s why project management tools exist. Your project management tool is there to simplify your cross-project responsibilities and provide you with an intuitive portal to refer back to where you can manage and assess the health of your projects.
With tools like Project Central, dealing with cross-project responsibilities is made so much more intuitive.
You won’t have to store all of that information in your already tired brain. Everything you need will be there waiting for you in your project templates and timelines.
Let’s take a look at what you can do…
Free Project Plan Template in Excel
View related projects
In Project Central you can use Project Cards to get an overview and quick access to all of your projects.
The Project Card display includes your project name, status, and end date.
Each project card will contain a brief summary of the project itself and a percentage completion tracker.
When you click on a card, you’ll be able to view the project in more detail or delete the project.
And if cards aren’t your thing, then you can switch to a list view instead
Did you know? In Project Central, you can even export your project list view via Excel or PDF.
Search and sort projects
In Project Central you can search and order your projects in the order that you wish to see them.
Users can quickly search for and assign ‘Project Tags’ to their projects using the project tag search bar filter.
That way, if you need to pull up something quickly, it’s only ever a tag away.
Project filtering is a super simple way to help you sort and find your projects in your account.
You can even save your project filters for the next time, should you wish, or simple start from scratch.
You’ll be able to filter out your personal projects, projects according to due date, status, and many other search criteria.
Track and report on projects
We’ve already stressed the importance of regular project tracking.
Especially when you’ve got multiple projects on the go.
The Project Tracking tool in Project Central is designed for exactly this.
Here you’ll be able to access real-time information, problem identifiers, team motivation stats and super easy, accurate reporting features. The best way to keep on track.
Step 3: Manage across programs
We’ve made it to step three!
Give yourself a pat on the back.
It’s time to talk all about program management. But what exactly is the difference between project and program management?
Program management is a strategic management approach, designed specifically for managing multiple related projects.
Program management is all about sharing resources effectively between projects for maximum benefit.
Projects in Synergy
When all of your projects are in synergy, its much easier to manage effectively.
Instead of managing two or three projects in isolation, a program manager focuses on managing an entire cohesive program of projects.
The simple definition is this.
Project management means managing one project.
Program management means managing a group of related projects.
If you’re taking on the role of a program manager, you’ll need to assess your projects and find a way to manage them collectively.
Time to think
You’ll need to think in terms of efficiency and streamlining.
Needless to say, program management is a complex job.
And you’ll need some tools under your belt to help you out.
Project management tools, Gantt charts, and effective scheduling are key.
Your project management tool will help you plan, organize, and manage your resources across projects from one go-to platform.
Project Central can help you manage your project programs with a simple, functional interface.
You’ll be able to manage all of your accounts, set up notifications, manage templates, users, and tags with ease.
In Project Central, you can set up numerous different accounts.
Each account can contain multiple projects.
It’s up to you whether you want to separate projects into separate accounts or culminate projects under one account.
This will depend largely on the interrelatedness of your projects.
Manage notifications and tags
Set up notifications to help you and your team stay on track and up-to-date.
Notifications include account invitations, project invitations, task assignments, and task deadline reminders.
In Project Central, you’ll also be able to add, rename, change, or delete project tags to help keep track of program progress.
In Project Central, you’ll also be able to manage templates.
Within the templates section users can create new templates, modify, rename, or delete existing templates.
If one of your templates has already proven a success, simple save it for next time.
Any project can be converted into a template so that you don’t have to spend time recreating all those individual tasks and assignments every time.
As a program manager, you’re responsible for organizing your teams.
So, it helps to have a tool to help you manage your people.
In Project Central you can manage team activity, project statuses, and comments with ease.
You’ll also be able to filter through six primary filter options to sort through your project’s activity feed and remove any user as and when necessary.
Multitask with ease
Cross-project management comes with its fair share of stressors.
After all, juggling all those tasks, projects, people, and responsibilities is mindboggling.
But with a well laid-out strategy and the right tools at the helm, you’ll have no trouble staying afloat.
Now you know how to plan and manage your projects, it’s time to go out there and shine.
Still feeling a bit nervous?
Why not check out our free downloadable template to help you get started?
Get Started With Project Central
Sign-up for your free 14-day trial and see how Project Central can help your teams to plan, manage, and collaborate with Microsoft 365.