Wondering how to organize and manage multiple projects at once? Start by applying the right deadline management techniques.
Deadline management is a process where project managers organize, prioritize, and plan their workload within a limited timeframe. Ensuring quality in a product or service for clients means juggling competing priorities, monitoring the consistency of project activities, and efficiently managing your available resources.
Learn how to do all this and more with the following deadline management tips and tricks.
Top reasons for deadline management failure
In an ideal world, deadlines would never be missed. But when they are, it’s important to take a closer look at how employees’ and teams’ job responsibilities or deadlines are structured. Some of the top reasons for deadline management failure can include:
- Unclear deadlines
- Lack of clarity about what exactly needs to be done
- Communication barriers with relevant stakeholders
- Lack of accountability
- Not receiving necessary information from other departments
What is the best way to manage multiple projects and deadlines?
The best way to manage multiple projects is by learning to prioritize overlapping or competing deadlines. Also, take a closer look at how you allocate resources for competing projects. Using a work management platform to plan and schedule your teams’ tasks and responsibilities can be a help.
With Wrike, you can manage multiple deadlines with task tracking, custom workflows, and dashboards that show all active project and team member priorities, at a glance. Tasks and their dependencies are also easy to follow with Wrike’s Gantt Chart view.
How to prioritize which project to work on when multiple projects exist
Prioritize which project to work on with a simple assessment that determines two key values: urgency and importance. Known as the Eisenhower Matrix, this simple solution for prioritization has four distinct categories that all projects and tasks fall under. Consider which of these areas each of your assignments fit under and rank them accordingly:
- Urgent and important: These projects have strict, short-term deadlines. They often come with larger revenue estimates and help your firm get closer to achieving major business goals.
- Urgent and less important: These projects have strict, short-term deadlines for assignments with smaller revenue potential, such as one-off projects or discounted services.
- Less urgent and important: These projects have medium to long-term deadlines. They absolutely must get done but they offer much more flexibility and freedom.
- Less urgent and less important: Without a clear deadline and no direct impact on final outcomes, projects, and tasks under this category are considered wants and not needs. Eliminate them where possible or put them on hold until all other list items are complete. Chances are the only projects that end up under this header will be in-house activities.
How to prioritize multiple projects with the same deadline
Prioritize multiple projects with the same deadline by first looking at which project generates the most revenue. Then, consider which project has the most steps or requires special consideration for tasks that are more complex or time-consuming.
Discover the best way to manage multiple projects and create a project management delivery plan with one of these effective methods:
- Begin at the end
Work backward from the last project task to the first one. Start from the due date and give each task its own individual timeline so you can properly assess how long it will all take.
- Use a visual tool
Adopt a project management tool like Wrike that offers custom workflows, individual task updates, and dashboards that give you big picture updates in real-time.
- Get approval
Share project schedule drafts with clients and key team members within your project management tool. Clients can tell you if they agree with the plan before you begin. Team members can help spot possible stumbling blocks or assess how realistic the client’s requests are given the rest of their workload.
- Add individual task timelines
Include how much time each task will take when you assign it to team members. Remember to eliminate any tasks that are less urgent and less important.
- Have a buffer
Overcome planning fallacy by learning how to estimate time more accurately. Use time estimate ranges that add 1/4th to four times your anticipated project or task effort. Rely on historical data to compare estimates versus realized effort for similar projects and tasks in the past.
Is there such a thing as deadline management software?
It’s likely that you and your team work on a ton of tasks each day of the week. Sure, using outdated methods like a pen and paper and excel sheets is an option. But if you want to assign tasks, have a clear 360-degree view of project work, and never miss another deadline, you need a dedicated deadline management software.
The right software will allow you to utilize the time management approach that works best for your team, such as timebox in Agile teams.
Fear missing a deadline due to unexpected technical issues or a mistake that requires rework? With a work management platform like Wrike, you can monitor task progress, assign tasks to the right team members, and streamline your team’s workflow. Avoid losing track of tasks or missing deadlines when you enable true team collaboration that keeps your team aligned and moving forward together.
Share client history notes teamwide with a work management platform everyone can access. Quickly reference details from phone calls and other communication to double-check deadlines and get a sense of the client’s sense of urgency.
View all active project timelines on a single dashboard. Look for possible roadblocks such as overlapping tasks, overstretched or underutilized employees, and individual task delays. Get ahead of these issues before they even happen.
How Wrike can help improve deadline management at work
Now you know exactly how to juggle multiple deadlines, prioritize projects using the Eisenhower Matrix, and schedule projects that have competing timelines. Combine your newfound deadline management knowledge with Wrike.
Try a free two-week trial to test out the advice above and organize all of your project timelines, no matter how complex they may be!