Author: PMCompanion

Achieving Business Goals with Project and Portfolio Management

Project and Portfolio Management

Organization goals can be achieved with the input of Project and portfolio management (PPM). Designed to also assist with optimizing performance and become more adaptive in a constantly changing business environment. IT teams deliver value to the business, become strategically aligned with goals of the organization, and most importantly, show that value through data and reporting.

One of the values of a Project Management Office is when it provides tools to optimize project and portfolio management. By focusing on four key areas, the IT PPM can be the biggest influences in the overall strategy and an extension of the business, rather than just a function of business.

IT helps PMOs manage projects, portfolios and investments collectively by harnessing vast amounts of data, resources and deliverables under one umbrella, then providing tools that support the distillation of that information into meaningful reporting that drives all sort of decision-making.

The four key ways to leverage IT PPM for business advancement is as follows;

In order to realize the benefits of PPM in the business, organization needs to have a single, integrated prioritization system that takes into account all facets of operation across all types and sources of work. IT PPM empowers the Project Management Office (PMO) and other stakeholders with the ability to make informed decisions based on capability, capacity, change readiness and other important business drivers.

This is because IT PPM provides broad visibility into all areas of a portfolio, from deadlines and deliverables, to resources and historic results. In short, process and technology helps determine what is possible. It is important to recognize that IT implementation is a partnership with a singular goal: the long-term success of the business. While technology determines what is possible, business provides needed context for these prioritized goals, such as;

  • Top down alignment
  • Strategically focused
  • Based on optimized Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Balances all sources and types of work
  • Balances innovation and time to solution
  • Eliminates gaps and inefficiencies.


Managing resources while ensuring the right people are deployed to the right projects is the tricky part of project management, which is why PPM can be so helpful in enhancing overall strategy. Too often, PMOs get stuck in a rut that makes distributing resources more about urgency than accuracy. They can only see the crisis in their immediate vicinity and solving it quickly becomes a singular goal.

Resourcing should be strategic and future-focused — it must consider the current and future needs, as well as time to prepare. In the midst of change and uncertainty, it is difficult to maintain a long term strategy, but it actually becomes more important to do so. Ensuring resources align to the projects deemed important for the business to ensure that promises are actually being delivered. Furthermore, a solid resourcing strategy must also recognize that skills can be just as important as availability when it comes to distribution.

IT PPM helps PMOs balance the distribution of work across all projects and portfolios with a dedicated, single resource pool that includes an exhaustive list of the skills, certificates and capabilities of each team member so no resource is over-utilized or double booked.

Business must go on and IT PPM supports the PMO to curate data on every resource at their disposal and find them quickly and easily when it comes time to assign work. When backed by the prioritization benefit listed above, the PMO can optimize utilization by providing the right resource for the job with zero waste or overlap.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that flexibility is the key to survival and that IT is imperative to that flexibility. Many PMO leaders and project managers have learned and lived the power of being flexible, agile or knowing how to pivot and the importance it plays on business today. But the truth is, pivots and change happen all the time and the IT PPM strategy needs to allow for that. Embracing a change culture and instilling measures to support change – rather than reject it – will provide business returns from project investments.

Technology can be credited with saving thousands of businesses and helping them to pivot during recent shutdowns and dramatic shifts to the way we all do business. In the realm of PPM, technology helps PMOs anticipate, plan for, and quickly adapt to change. IT can be leveraged to monitor changes in needs, goals and in alignment to make sure it is conducted at the right time in the right way. 

A common theme of the past three elements is visibility. By providing the PMO’s ability to see and understand what is going on in all areas of operation, they are being provided with one of their greatest assets in supporting business goals, that is control. IT PPM is automation-driven and results-oriented. Instead of analyzing stacks and stacks of spreadsheets, personnel files and creative briefs, information is gathered digitally and then sorted effectively.

There is no substitute for the power of technology when it comes to compiling thousands of bits of information, not only making it easily accessible, but contextualizing it into meaningful reports. In short, the PMO can provide effective management that is driven by contextualized insight.

PPM is an excellent way to improve business and maximize its effectiveness, profitability and positive outcomes. By adding in the benefits of IT PPM, the organization can achieve next-level performance that will help ensure rock solid footing, even in uncertain times. Let us know your interaction with the PMO and how it benefits the organization when delivering projects.

All the very best on your project management journey.

Impact of a good vision statement

Vision Statements

Don’t underestimate the impact of a good vision statement, in order to write a powerful vision statement, every word must count. This can seem like a challenge, but it’s a skill which can be mastered just like any other.  A vision statement is a foundational business document. As project managers, from time to time, when an idea is considered, a vision statement is required.

There is a lot of paperwork that clutters the office any organization, but the vision statement is unique from the rest. Often confused with a mission statement, the vision statement has a different purpose.  A vision statement looks towards the future, but a mission statement talks about what the company is doing in the present.

Because the vision statement is a foundational document that will guide the company’s direction for years to come, consider using project planning tools and brainstorming techniques to get input from everyone on the team. That way, greater buy-in from the company may be achieved and widen the net for collecting ideas.

A vision statement is a document that states the current and future objectives of an organization. The vision statement is intended as a guide to help the organization make decisions that align with its philosophy and declared set of goals. It can be thought of as a road-map to where the company wants to be within a certain time-frame. A vision statement is not only used in business, as non-profits and governmental offices also use them to set goals.

Vision statements are not necessarily set in stone. They can be returned to, reviewed and revised as necessary. Any changes should be minimal, however, because a vision statement should have been given a great deal of thought before being finalized.

A vision statement doesn’t have any length. It can be as short as an aspirational sentence or pages long; it depends on how much detail it should be given to get the point across. However long it is, the vision statement is formally written and is used as reference in company documents to serve as a guide for actions now and in the future.

A vision statement isn’t a pie-in-the-sky document that collects the shared fantasies of the organization and then is filed away. Like a mission statement, it’s a living document that is referred to as a lodestar to lead a company to its next innovation.

Some might think a vision statement is a waste of time, but it fills a vital need for the company. For instance, it sets a broader strategic plan for the organization. It’s very easy to get bogged down on the day-to-day details of running an organization. The vision statement helps plan long-term.

Whatever goals are set, without motivating employees to achieve that goal, chances are it won’t go anywhere. A motivational vision statement will both motivate existing employees and drive talent to the company.

A strong vision statement also works to help differentiate the company from others. All companies want to become profitable, but a company that can set an agenda to achieve that goal is going to set itself apart and inspire others. Use a vision statement to focus the efforts of the organization on the core competencies it needs to achieve its goals.

There is no template to writing a vision statement, however a common structure for successful ones includes these traits:

  • Be Concise:  It should be simple, easy to read and cut to the essentials, so that it can be set to memory and be repeated accurately.
  • Be Clear: Focus on one primary goal, rather than trying to fill the document with a scattering of ideas. One clear objective is also easier to focus on and achieve.
  • Have a Time Horizon: A time horizon is simply a fixed point in the future when the vision statement can be achieved and evaluated.
  • Make it Future-Oriented: The vision statement is not what the company is presently engaged in but rather a future objective where the company plans to be.
  • Be Stable: The vision statement is a long-term goal that should, ideally, not be affected by the market or technological changes.
  • Be Challenging: The objective shouldn’t be too easy to achieve, but also it shouldn’t be so unrealistic as to be discarded.
  • Be Abstract: The vision statement should be general enough to capture the organization’s interests and strategic direction.
  • Be Inspiring: Create something that will rally the troops and be desirable as a goal for all those involved in the organization.

Once the vision statement has been composed the real work begins. To achieve that vision, surround yourself with the necessary tools. Cloud-based project management software with tools like online Gantt charts, task lists and Kanban boards help to complete projects which assist with realizing a vision. Let us know your thoughts on vision statements and if they have assisted you achieve your goals.

All the very best on your project management journey.

Critical Path Method Essentials

Critical Path Method Essentials

In project management, the critical path is the longest sequence of tasks that must be completed to successfully conclude a project, from start to finish. The tasks on the critical path are known as critical activities because if they’re delayed, the whole project will be delayed. By identifying the critical path, determining the total duration of a project can be made.

Calculating the critical path is key during the planning phase because the critical path identifies important deadlines and the activities which must be completed on time. Once a critical path is determined, a clear picture of the schedule becomes evident.

To find this, project managers use the critical path method (CPM) algorithm to define the least amount of time necessary to complete each task with the least amount of slack.

Once a manual task, but with the availability of project scheduling software the critical path can be calculated automatically.

The critical path method (CPM), also known as critical path analysis (CPA), is a scheduling procedure that uses a network diagram to depict a project and the sequences of tasks required to complete it, which are known as paths. Once the paths are defined, the duration of each path is calculated by an algorithm to identify the critical path, which determines the total duration of the project.

The critical path method (CPM) is used in project management to create project schedules and helps project managers create a timeline for the project. The critical path method includes:

  • Identifying every task necessary to complete the project and the dependencies between them
  • Estimating the duration of the project tasks
  • Calculating the critical path based on the tasks’ duration and dependencies to identify the critical activities
  • Focusing on planning, scheduling and controlling critical activities
  • Setting project milestones and deliverables
  • Setting stakeholder expectations related to deadlines

After making these considerations, insight is gained into which activities must be prioritized. Then it becomes evident of which resources need to be allocated to get these important tasks done. Tasks discovered that aren’t on the critical path are of a lesser priority in the project plan and can be delayed if they’re causing the project team to become over-allocated.

Projects are made up of tasks that must adhere to a schedule in order to meet a deadline. It sounds simple, but without mapping the work it can quickly get out of hand and project can get off track.

When analyzing the critical path, pay particular attention closely at the time it will take to complete each task, taking into account the task dependencies and how they’ll impact the schedule. It’s a technique to find the most realistic project deadline. It can also help during the project as a metric to track progress.

Therefore, when  doing critical path analysis, finding the sequence of tasks that are both important and dependent on a previous task. Less important tasks aren’t ignored and are part of the analysis; however, they’re the ones which can be jettisoned if time and money won’t permit.

To properly understand the concept of critical path, it is best to understand the various terms used in this method.

Earliest start time (ES): This is simply the earliest time that a task can be started in the project. This cannot be determined without first knowing if there are any preceding tasks, or figuring out other constraints that might impact the start of this task.

Latest start time (LS): This is the very last minute in which to start a task before it threatens to upset the project schedule. Calculate what the latest finish time is for the same reason. By having a clear picture of this timeframe, better scheduling of the project can be covered to meet its deadline.

Earliest finish time (EF): The earliest an activity can be completed, based on its duration and its earliest start time.

Latest finish time (LF): The latest an activity can be completed, based on its duration and its latest start time.

Float. Also known as slack, float is a term that describes how long to delay a task before it impacts the planned schedule and threatens the project’s deadline. The tasks on the critical path have zero float. Either calculate the float using the steps above, or by using project management software. If an activity has a float greater than zero, it means it can be delayed without affecting the project completion time.

Crash duration. This describes the shortest amount of time that a task can be scheduled. This can be achieved by moving around resources, adding more towards the end of the task, to decrease the time needed to complete the task. This often means a reduction in quality but is based on a relationship between cost and time.

Critical path drag. If time is added to the project because of a constraint, that is called a critical path drag, which is how much longer a project will take because of constraints on tasks in the critical path.

Once the key definitions of CPM are known, here are the steps to calculate the critical path in project management:

  1. Collect Activities: Use a work breakdown structure to collect all the project activities that lead to the final deliverable.
  2. Identify Dependencies: Figure out which tasks are dependent on other tasks before they can begin.
  3. Create a Network Diagram: A critical path analysis chart, or network diagram, depicts the order of activities.
  4. Estimate Timeline: Determine the duration of each activity.
  5. Use the Critical Path Algorithm: The algorithm has two parts; a forward pass and a backwards pass.
  6. Forward Pass: Use the network diagram and the duration of each activity to determine their earliest start (ES) and earliest finish (EF). The ES of an activity is equal to the EF of its predecessor, and its EF is determined by the formula EF = ES + t (t is the activity duration). The EF of the last activity identifies the expected time required to complete the entire project.
  7. Backward Pass: Begins by assigning the last activity’s earliest finish as its latest finish. Then the formula to find the LS is LS = LF – t (t is the activity duration). For the previous activities, the LF is the smallest of the start times for the activity that immediately follows.
  8. Identify the Float of Each Activity: The float is the length of time an activity can be delayed without increasing the total project completion time. Since the critical path has no float, the float formula reveals the critical path: Float = LS – ES
  9. Identify the Critical Path: The activities with 0 float make up the critical path.
  10. Revise During Execution: Continue to update the critical path network diagram through to the execution phase.

These steps determine what tasks are critical and which can float, meaning they can be delayed without negatively impacting the project by making it longer. The availability of this information needed to plan the schedule more accurately and have more of a guarantee that the project deadline will be met.

Also, considerations of other constraints that might change the project schedule need to be understood. The more these issues can be accounted, the more accurate the critical path method will be. If time is added to the project because of these constraints, that is called a critical path drag, which is how much longer a project will take because of the task and constraint.

Critical path software is used to automatically calculate the critical path in the project schedule. Without using software, managers would have to manually calculate the time-consuming and complicated equation.

Time is one of the triple constraints of a project, so it’s understandable why critical path software has become popular in project management. Any opportunity to gain efficiencies steers the project closer to meeting its goals and objectives.

Since critical path is a very specific technique, critical path software is usually associated with a larger project planning tool that organizes tasks, prioritizes the sequence of activities and other features that go into creating the schedule. One of the most used project management software to identify the critical path is Microsoft Project, although there are many others as well.

Knowing the critical path and having a tool to recalculate it as the schedule evolves over the course of the project is key to getting back on track when behind schedule. More benefits to using critical path software include the following.

  • Quick Calculations Save Time and Effort
  • Track Progress to Know If You’re Behind
  • Recalculate as Project Schedule Changes
  • Keep Track of Task Dependencies
  • Set Milestones and Save Important Dates
  • Get Insightful Data When Planning Tasks
  • Create Schedule Baseline for Project Variance

 

The Critical Path Method (CPM) and the Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) are both visual representations of a project schedule, but it’s important to know the differences.

The main difference between PERT and CPM is that PERT was designed to plan projects with uncertain activity times. Therefore PERT uses three time estimates for each task: optimistic, most likely and pessimistic. On the other hand, CPM was designed for projects where activity times are certain.

CPM uses a single time estimate for each task and focuses on the analysis of task sequences to estimate the total duration of a project. Another important difference is that the CPM is used to identify critical activities that must be completed on time to avoid affecting the project’s deadline, which is something that PERT can’t do.

PERT can be used alongside the critical path to help estimate the duration of activities.

The Critical Path Method is one of the many tools that project managers use when creating their project plan and schedule. It informs them on the length of time, the amount of resources and costs associated with each task and the overall project. Once they have this mapped out they can start plotting the timeline in their scheduling software and start the process of managing their project.

Critical path plays an important role in developing a schedule in project management. It is used in conjunction with PERT (program evaluation and review technique) to figure out the longest amount of time that it would take to complete a project by looking at the dependencies and duration of each task involved.

Simply put, using the critical path is a way to order the seeming chaotic complexity of any project. If deadlines are important to getting a project to deliver on time, then the duration of each task must be understood in order to better estimate where those deadlines will land on the project timeline.

Critical path analysis is charting the dependent tasks, which are those that cannot start or finish until another has started or finished. This creates a great deal of complexity, but the analysis is crucial in order to have a realistic schedule. If the project isn’t as complicated, however, it might not require critical path analysis.

The critical path is important when managing a project because it identifies all the tasks needed to complete the project—then determines the tasks that must be done on time, those that can be delayed if needed (due to the triple constraint of time, cost and scope) and how much float there is.

The reason for understanding the critical path in project management is that the more accurate and reliable the data, the better the project timeline, schedule, plan and so forth. The critical path of a project shows not only how long tasks are likely to take but prioritizes them.

When in the middle of a project and it’s running behind schedule, the critical path will show which tasks must be completed and those that can be left undone without negatively impacting deliverables. This could mean the difference between a successful project, and a failed one.

Critical path is also helpful within the project as a measurement of schedule variance. That is, it can help determine which stage of the project compared to where the plan indicated at that time. This information will quickly advise if the project is on target or lagging behind.

Another benefit of using the critical path in project management is that it helps identify and map task dependencies. Not all tasks can be done at the same time. There is an order and often that structure means that some tasks can’t start or stop until another has started or stopped. It can help avoid bottlenecks by map parallel tasks and keep the project moving.

Finding the critical path is a useful tool that project managers use to make better time estimates. It lends itself to complex and larger projects, but it can be a helpful tool no matter the size of the project.

Time is always weighing heavy on a project, and a critical path identifies which of the project tasks are not necessary to end with a quality deliverable. Completing every task is important, but sometimes that’s not possible. Critical path helps determine which are not needed.

Once the critical path is determined, keep returning to the analysis and continuing to crunch those numbers as things change when executing the project. That’s a lot of work, but when used in conjunction with a robust project management software, the first steps towards success have been taken. Let us know your thoughts on the Critical path Method, and how it has assisted you in your projects. All the very best on your project management journey.

Creating and Maintaining Project budgets

Project Budgets

A project is deemed successful based on many criteria, in particular cost, scope and time, staying within budget is paramount. There are six steps which can help create the budget and establish a dependable system to track project expenses. All projects cost money, being able to manage and track expenses is what keeps the project within a budget. Stakeholders are not likely to consider the project a success if it costs them too much.

To avoid expenses from getting away, there must be a system in place to monitor and track it. That’s the only way to control expenses and in so doing stay on budget. Have a system in place to deal with project expenses and have the capacity to track them. This can be via a robust project management software with dynamic functionality or something more static like an Excel spreadsheet.

Regardless of which mechanism is chosen, data must be collected and identify who is spending what and when. This is the bare minimum and a good place to start. Without a system in place there’s no way to know where money is going.

The next logical step is to have a system that is online. Being able to gain access to tracking system anywhere and at any time is more than just a luxury. It has become an essential part of any project management plan. Team members may not be in the office every day, hence an online tool provides access to the system.

A system is important, but it’s useless until items have been identified in the budget. Understanding where the costs are going. To create a budget, estimate the cost of all the tasks that make up the project, including all the resources needed to execute them.

For example, money on resources will be spent, such as equipment and the team; their might be real-estate costs, legal and travel expenses. All these items must be identified and listed in order for expenses to be tracked.

It’s all part and parcel to creating a budget, identify fixed and variable costs and expenses figured out before tracking them. The budget will be the umbrella under which all the project expenses will be covered.

Once the budget is created, it must be approved. This will allow parameters for expenses and help tracking and determining the permissible spend and when those costs are going beyond what has been earmarked for the project.

A system, budget and everything related to managing the project costs are all for nil if there is not a person in charge of overseeing this process. Assign someone from the team who is tasked with operating the system devised to track expenses. This person will become invaluable. They’ll be on the front lines of the actual budget and can raise concerns when costs are exceeding what has been approved for the budget expenses.

To streamline this process and make it more effective, use an online tool. In this respect online project management software has an advantage over Excel, in that it’s constantly updated and reflects actual spending on expenses. Therefore, if a spike in spending is noticed, not only has it been identified quickly but can be addressed before overspending occurs.

The six steps mentioned are critical to ensure there is a handle to a budget, and avoid expense overrun. It doesn’t have to be hard, but it should be maintained, to avoid headaches during the delivery of the project. Use templates if they are available and pay attention to details.

If you have tips and tricks on maintaining a project budget, we would like to hear from you. All the very best on your project management journey.

Project Tracking Essentials

Project Tracking Essentials

Project tracking is an essential part of staying on schedule and within budget. A project management method used to track the progress of tasks in a project. By tracking projects, it is possible to compare actual planned progress, and identify issues that may prevent the project from staying on schedule and within budget.

Project tracking helps project managers and stakeholders know what work has been done, the resources that have been used to execute those tasks, and helps them create an earned value analysis by measuring project variance and tracking milestones.

Key to project tracking is the use of project tracking tools and project management techniques. For example, status reports allow managers to track project progress by providing an overview of tasks, risks and milestones at any point of the project life cycle. Other types of project reports like progress reports can gather extra details that provide further insight into deliverables and performance. This data can then be distributed to the project team and stakeholders to keep them updated.

A project tracker is a tool that lets managers measure the progress of their team as they execute tasks and use resources. It’s an essential tool to keeping projects on schedule and within their budgets.

The use of project management software to track projects is recommended. Online tools are updated in real time, and that data is shared throughout the software. It can then create reports with live data to help make better decisions.

Tracking the progress of projects can seem like a daunting task, but by laying out the process and planning ahead, is a pathway to success. The following are a few ways to get on the right track;

  • Start with a project outline
  • Create deliverables and milestones
  • Set realistic, clear and measurable goals
  • Use a project tracker template or a project tracking software to keep track of time, costs and tasks
  • Meet regularly with team and stakeholders
  • Have clear deadlines
  • Support transparency

These suggestions are structural and should be set up for every project. They can work with project tracking software to give project managers the details they need to hold their teams to the planned schedule and budget.

Additionally, with project tracking, it’s important to remember the triple constraint, which are time, cost and scope. The key to managing these interrelated variables is proper estimation and control. First estimate costs to create a project budget, the time that tasks will take to create a project timeline and the project scope to create the project schedule. Then control them during the execution phase by using a project tracker that allows for tracking of time, costs and tasks.

Project tracking software is the best way to keep track of projects because it monitors all the tasks associated with project and helps to stay on schedule. Most project tracker software is not used only for tasks; it can also keep track of budget and resource management.

A project tracker is useful even before the execution phase of a project. During planning, it can help manage the resources needed to complete the tasks. When in the monitoring and control stage of the project, the software can be of real assistance, providing visibility of actual progress.

Using a project tracking software is essential to manage any project. It provides a tool to control the triple constraint of time, cost and scope. Managers know when tasks are completed and that they’re not sucking up more than the allocated costs and resources.

As the execution phase progresses, it’s important to report on project progress so the schedule doesn’t go astray. Comprehensive project reports include six elements:

Start with the basics. What is the project’s name? Who will be managing the project? What are the available resources? Effective time, cost and task tracking requires detailed information. Provide the information which is needed, even if it seems like overkill. This helps things run smoothly, and also sets groundwork for the project to be referenced as a precedent when future projects are being planned.

Report dates are the most important project status information. Also, data separating status reports from other reports crossing stakeholders’ desks should be visible to grab attention.

Milestones are major touch-points for the project. They play an essential role when it comes to time tracking because they serve as a guidepost for remaining work, and the timeline for it to get done. Conducting a milestone review lets stakeholders see actual progress versus what was estimated in the project proposal.

The project summary includes a projected completion date, as well as resources and costs expended. Inclusion of issues causing delays is an important summary component. There should be a clear explanation of how these issues could affect budget and timeline, and work being done to ensure things are corrected to get the project back on track.

List issues and risks encountered, note how these are being resolved. Finally, outline how resolutions are positively impacting project execution. Risk assessment and risk management processes must be implemented throughout the project life cycle.

Back up statements with hard numbers and data points. Project planning details should have outlined these metrics. Show how data illustrates the success of the project to date, or, highlight needs for immediate improvement. Determining metrics to measure project progress is essential for tracking tasks, time, costs and managing teams.

There are some project reporting best practices to consider:

  • Communication is the cornerstone: Status reports are a key element of communications plan. However, these reports don’t have to cover everything, and be all things to all people. Writing reports in a way that delivers the right information to the right people, at the right time, should be the overarching goal. Weekly status reports are the most common to keep track of project progress.
  • Be consistent: Consistency is key. Find a format and distribution method that works for stakeholders, and stick with it. They’ll appreciate the predictability of the information they receive.
  • Set targets and measure against them: Establishing metrics is an important part of project reporting and monitoring. Accordingly, these metrics should be how project progress is measured against goals throughout its life-cycle.
  • Keep things simple: Keep reports simple to ensure effectiveness. Don’t pull in details unrelated to the issue on which you’re reporting.
  • Always verify what you’re reporting: It’s a bad idea to assume information is correct without doing due diligence to ensure it is.
  • Have some standards: Reporting simplification is made easier through creation of standards defining report structure, and how information is presented. Given this, building templates to make the work easier is a great first step.

Throughout any project, it’s important to evaluate reporting to avoid scope creep. As project teams start to work, and silos of activity develop, it’s vital to keep everyone aligned. This ensures project scope doesn’t creep.

Defining the project scope and keeping track of it must be a priority for every project manager. There are five ways to avoid scope creep:

  1. Document all project requirements: We’ve covered this at length, above.
  2. Establish change control processes: If scope creep happens, it’s important to have change control processes in place to bring things back on track.
  3. Create a clear project schedule: A thorough project schedule outlines project goals. It outlines tasks to be done to reach those goals. This schedule is referenced against the project plan’s requirements document to make sure everything is moving forward. If not, the schedule sets the course for tweaks or changes.
  4. Verify scope with stakeholders: It’s worthwhile during a project’s lifecycle to review scope with all stakeholders. Reviewing the schedule together, and making sure all tasks stakeholders are expecting to be done on a given timeline is also a good idea.
  5. Engage the project team: Make sure your project team is happy with how things are going throughout the project. As the change control process starts to take hold, let the team know how it will affect them. Weekly 1:1 meetings or team meetings to review tasks, and also overall project progress is a great way to keep your team engaged.

Project reporting can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Taking things step-by-step can help ease anxieties among everyone involved, and ensure a winning result. Make sure you use project management software, or at least a project tracking template, to facilitate the creation of reports.

Project reporting can be tough, but also efficient with the right tools. Tool can make collaboration and development of project reports less time-consuming and more intuitive. Let us know your thoughts and methods on project tracking. All the very best on your project management journey.

Managing multiple projects simultaneously

Managing multiple projects

For project managers who need to juggle multiple projects simultaneously it could seem like a daunting task, stuff of nightmares. Especially if you have been assigned many small projects to complete, each has their own governance, budgets, stakeholders to appease and more. Only because the projects are small doesn’t mean you should cut corners. As they still need to be kept on track, ensuring the right processes and strategies are still being maintained, stay within deadline, keep employees motivated, and be mindful of expenses.

Data even shows that on average, 88% of remote workers experience miscommunications and inconsistent leadership with team members, highlighting the importance of proper program and project management. For those experienced project managers who have been there before, there are five core tactics to best handle delivering multiple projects concurrently.

Regardless of how carefully a project is planned, everything can easily go off track if a schedule is not established that includes the team’s work for the month, quarter, or year.

For instance, without a clear schedule, team members might fail to prioritize tasks, overlook critical jobs, and miss deadlines, which can seriously hinder the project’s delivery and even impact the result’s quality.  

Use reliable work scheduling software to ensure every project team member is on the same page, keep workflows moving seamlessly, and keep everything on track.

A robust scheduling tool helps ensure lines are no crossed, work gets done, and project deadlines met. This helps keep multiple projects on track and team members more productive. Project schedules will also be maximized for optimum efficiency, avoiding potential delays.

The ability to prioritise is a major skill; priority should be based on tasks that will have the most significant impact on the project and program goals. This helps the management of several priorities while working on multiple projects effectively.

Doing so allows the team to work strategically on both micro (i.e., organizing daily to-dos based on importance) and macro (i.e., moving low-impact projects to the following quarter) levels.   For instance, if the project is working on four products launches simultaneously, and the overarching goal is to increase customer revenue.

While the four projects require about the same amount of time, effort, and resources to complete and roll out, assess which one has the potential to generate a bigger impact on the customer revenue than the other three.

Prioritize the project (or projects) that have the most significant contribution to achieving the goals.

This helps with managing resources and allocates time better while ensuring efforts align with project goals and deliver desired results.   

Without establishing a standard project planning process or workflow, then each project is likely to be managed differently.

This can lead to issues down the line, such as inconsistencies in deliverables and precious time wasted on setting up new processes for each project. 

Having a solid plan is a must, establish standard processes, and identify responsibilities from the start.

Outline everything from goals, each step, and task necessary for project completion, schedules and deadlines, and the persons and teams responsible for specific jobs at the project level.

At the program level, develop plans, processes, and clarify responsibilities. Establish team-level goals and communicate the projects crucial to achieving those objectives.

A sound start is by outlining goals using a Specific, Measurable, Accurate, Realistic, and Timely (SMART) approach.

Optimize project management processes by setting team-wide standards. For instance, request project team leads to submit a brief before outlining a project plan for big projects.

Creating templates for projects saves precious time; this will also ensure consistency across projects for the team

Clear goals, plans, and responsibilities help teams avoid inconsistencies in processes and deliverables.

Tracking status and progress updates in a multi-project environment are critical to keeping stakeholders and key project players in the loop.

Establish smart, systematic status updates so that stakeholder expectations can be managed efficiently.

Some tips for doing strategic and systematic project status updates are;

  •     Define expectations. Layout the specific steps task owners or the team members in-charge of particular tasks are expected to follow. Identify a time frame for updating relevant stakeholders, whether every three days, weekly, monthly, etc.
  •     Include a high-level overview of key areas in the project. Add several bullet points that provide an update on the accomplishments, progress, and upcoming work for each key area of the project’s status. This ensures essential points are covered, and stakeholders get all the necessary updates they need.
  •     Schedule accountability. Have third-parties, such as staff in another department, the project sponsor, or other stakeholders, conduct reviews to ensure the resource person or task owner follows protocol and the specified updating time frame.

Implement a systematic status updating process to keep the project team motivated, ensure they understand the project plan, why it’s crucial to stay up to date, and clearly see the multiple demands the team must meet.

Exercise effective delegation in resource management by adopting clarity, authority, and accountability.

For instance, empowering the graphic designer to create a landing page for a new project means making sure he/she is absolutely clear about the task by providing a work breakdown structure.

A work breakdown structure outlines the phases of the project process clearly.

Additionally, to ensure the project process and phases are when delegating, be sure to:

  •     Clearly communicate the work breakdown structure
  •     Set a project deadline
  •     Relay specific client expectations
  •     List down the available resources the task owner has
  •     Describe the workload
  •     Provide him/her the authority to make and carry out decisions

Clarity ensures the team is clear on the direction. Team members avoid any guesswork and prioritize critical tasks and projects. 

A clear work breakdown structure and project scope will also empower teamwork that boosts productivity while giving members a sense of fulfillment for meeting multiple demands.  Leverage a reliable project management tool that can streamline the work breakdown structure’s workflows and processes. 

Data can back up the effectiveness of using the right project management tool with 77% of high-performing projects using project management software.

Being able to handle multiple projects at the same time is inevitable in project management, while the tips mentioned here are in no way guaranteed formulas for success, they are good building blocks to help develop strategies for effective and strategic multiple project management. Try and leverage the tactics shared to stay on top of projects’ moving pieces, meet deadlines, and achieve goals. Let us know the tactics you use to keep delivering multiple projects simultaneously. All the very best on your project management journey.