Leading a company that offers project management software, I’ve had the opportunity to hear many project war stories from customers, investors, and mentors. I thought this would be a great opportunity to share them with you in the hopes that they help you improve your own management skills.

This is part 3 in a series called the 5 Most Common Mistakes in Managing Multiple Projects. Check these links for the first and second parts of the series.

Mistake #3: Keeping Project Plans Separated From Each Other

When you manage multiple projects in separate places and use different tools for planning, you waste hours by bouncing from one schedule to another. Moreover, you never have a whole view of your projects, which inevitably results in conflicting due dates and personal schedule conflicts, thereby delaying your project delivery time.

Separated project schedules make it extremely hard for you to figure out task sequences and priorities across your multiple projects. For example: how do you reconcile the deadlines of three separate projects when they all fall on the same week? In this case, you quickly become a manager who runs from project to project, grasping at straws.

Stressed worker coping with deadlines

Winning strategy #3:  Integrate project schedules

An integrated project plan will give you a bird’s eye view of your work. Create a master project plan that will include a timeline for each project. This structure should be absolutely transparent, so that it’s possible to trace any project from a quarterly goal to a daily task of a team member.

Besides identifying the major project milestones and their dates, this plan should reflect all the tasks on all of your projects. You then will be able to determine the tasks’ priorities across projects and identify which project milestones to concentrate on.

To create a master plan, you may need an integrated project planning tool. This kind of tool will also help unify your reporting for each project and enforce one standard.

What’s more, the master plan will help you save lots of time, as you’ll have all the information in one place and at hand.

This series continues in Part 4 : Software & Technology.