5 Most Common Mistakes in Managing Multiple Projects: Learn to Avoid Them (Part 5)

Andrew Filev , Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mistake #5: Poor interactions within your team and with clients

The last, but not least, most common mistake project managers make when managing multiple projects is inefficient communications. Poor communications within a team lead to misunderstandings and therefore to mistakes in project work. If your project lacks communication with clients, you and your client might end up with two different project visions as a result.  In any case, miscommunication will result in loss of time and money, as well as in increasing your stress.

Winning strategy #5: Enhance project communications

You can facilitate a common understanding for your projects by analyzing and addressing communication constraints. Remember that when your team and clients or stakeholders are separated by distance, there is a need to put a surplus effort into communication. Leverage your communication tools. Listen to your clients, stakeholders and team members.

Your clients and stakeholders ultimately determine the success of the project, but they are often not in the same office and cannot collaborate face-to-face. Still, you need to involve your clients in your project work. Make your project information and workflow transparent to them. Pay attention to their feedback. It will prevent you from redoing things and will let you meet the client’s expectations.

Communication with your team is everything. Monitoring progress, receiving early warnings of danger, promoting cooperation, motivating through team involvement -- all of these rely upon communication. Try to integrate your project communications into your planning process to make keeping schedules up-to-date easier. Here you can go back to winning strategy #4 again: find the right technology that will help you merge communications with project planning and make your project work transparent to your clients.

Now, when you’ve discovered the 5 winning strategies of managing multiple projects and have found out how to avoid the 5 most common mistakes, let’s summarize your knowledge.

Lessons learned:

1.    Don’t do everything yourself. Delegate to your team members, but don’t forget to coordinate their actions. Find the right balance for it.

2.    Don’t let your plans sit on the shelf. Keep all the project information in one place and the project schedules up-to-date.

3.    Don’t keep your multiple project plans disconnected. Create a master plan for all of your projects.

4.    Don’t let the project management job become a project secretary job. Leverage technology and make sure to find the right tool that will perform your routine operations for you.

5.    Don’t neglect flaws in communication with your clients and within your team. Integrate your communications with project planning to ensure your project plans are up-to-date.

Managing multiple projects can be successful if approached correctly. Now you have the 5 powerful winning strategies to become a great project manager who can easily manage several projects at a time. Try not to miss any of those tips, if you don’t wish to compromise on your project management success. I’d also like to encourage you to share your experience and project management war stories with me and this blog readers, so that next time I can provide even better tips for becoming a super-productive project manager.

Comments (7)

  • Luis Robson, Tuesday, 18 May, 2010
    Well done, Andrew! Loved the series, love the lessons learned.
  • Hercules Consulting LLC, Monday, 24 May, 2010
    I absolutely agree with your conclusion concerning communication and would only add that this applies to every project. The technical knowledge and experience has to be there in any case. What can make or break a project is how well the communications work.
  • Prakash Nagarik, Saturday, 29 May, 2010
    Very important in project success is the communication amongst all team members. You have to increase the speed, & clarity in communications , both.
    This will certainly reduce time, cost & make project successful.
    "5 Don'ts" are very useful.Thanks to Andrew.
  • Prakash Nagarik, Wednesday, 16 June, 2010
    Lessons Learned give a good insight to the Project Team .Successful Implementation of these lessons will result in Successful Project Delivery .Thanks , Prakash
  • Perry, Saturday, 19 June, 2010
    Great list of tips. I have managed multiple projects a number of times and I would add 1 more to the list.

    Triage your time.

    Multiple projects will act in the same way as single projects. there will be days you feel in control and days when everything hits the fan. Plan how you will deal with the days you have 5 project teams trying to resolve hot issues all at the same time.

    Delegation is a huge help, but it doesn't solve this problem completely.

    Thanks for the post.
  • Andrew Filev, Thursday, 05 August, 2010
    Thanks for encouraging comments! I've been slow on my blog lately for many (mostly good) reasons like writing for a coming up book and such. On the positive side, that gave me time to collect my thoughts about upcoming posts. I have a couple of ideas that I feel very important to cover in more depth, like the importance of feedback loop.
  • John Hayes, Thursday, 13 October, 2011
    Hi Andrew

    Managing multiple projects is a subject close to my own heart. One way or another it can be a tall order and a major challenge both for the individual project manager as well as at the business level.
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Andrew Filev

Andrew Filev is an experienced project manager and a successful entrepreneur. He has been managing software teams since 2001 with the help of new-generation collaboration and management applications. The Project Management 2.0 blog reflects his views on changes going on in contemporary project management, thanks to the influence of collaborative web-based technologies. More >>

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