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 4 (of 5) in a series called the 5 Most Common Mistakes in Managing Multiple Projects. Check these links for the first, second, and third parts of the series.

Mistake #4: Copying Info Back and Forth

Do you often find yourself running around from meeting to meeting, calling people and sending dozens of emails to request status updates or shoot off reminders about upcoming deadlines?

As project manager, your project secretarial duties can be overwhelming and even... robotic. It may seem like the essence of the project manager role is simply collecting information and updating your plans since most of your working hours are spent gathering data and updating project schedules.

But don’t forget that you still need time to lead your team members. And not just lead, you also need to motivate them. The problem is: who has the time for that?

Winning Strategy #4: Use the Right Technology

Instead of struggling to get all that busywork done, the better approach would be to use the right software and technology to help with the deluge of information you need to deal with.

Integrate Your Data

When you start a project and then take on several more, you’ll need a reliable tool that will help you sync your data. Find a tool that will let you manage an entire project portfolio without overloading you with unnecessary busywork — those low-value routine activities that don't actually move the project forward. Tools should make your life easier, not create even more work for you.

Integrate Project Schedules

While choosing a project management tool, make sure it truly integrates project schedules for you and that the schedules are easy to update. Many of the traditional tools make it really hard for you to revise your initial project plan. And don’t choose project management software that forces you to create a separate workspace for each project. Remember that separating project data and schedules is common mistake number 3.


Keep It Flexible

Choose a flexible application that will let you easily update your plans. Some web-based applications (Wrike is one of them) allow team members to update tasks assigned to them directly in the plan. This saves you a lot of time, as you need not collect all the updates and apply them manually into your schedules. Such tools will also help you accelerate your delegation skills, as you follow winning strategy #1.

The final post in the series is here.