In A Multiple Project Environment

It is important that all key stakeholders, especially project managers, sponsors, and functional/resource managers, understand their individual roles and responsibilities and are fully committed to corporate, portfolio, and project objectives. If roles and responsibilities are not aligned, each stakeholder could allow personal agendas to interfere with project decisions and negatively impact project success due to potential infighting and competition for scarce resources.

Project managers must be diligent and proactive in order to identify problems and take appropriate action. Project and functional managers need to work together so that project team members and the project managers themselves are not overloaded. Both have the responsibility to provide skills necessary for project success and, when possible, to put team members in positions that will encourage and enhance professional and personal development. Project managers have the responsibility to coordinate resources among their projects and provide team building for team members. Functional managers have the responsibility to ensure that resources are available when the project manager needs them. With shared responsibility, conflict and confusion can be created for team members if they are unclear about their roles and whose authority to follow and trust. This conflict can be reduced if levels of authority with respect to resource allocation, decision-making, reporting requirement, corrective actions, and baseline management are clearly defined. This is especially true when managing more than one project or in a matrixed organization.

Senior and executive management need to be actively involved with project decisions and the balancing of resources among active and potential projects. However, management involvement should be at an appropriate level and should not be trying to assume the role of the project manager through micro-management. Senior management's role is primarily to ensure that projects are linked to long-term business strategy. This role includes ensuring that projects are properly prioritized, project teams are adequately staffed, obstacles to success are removed, cross-project conflicts are resolved, etc. Senior management also has the responsibility to ensure that methods and tools are available for sharing project information among all the project managers, team members, and other key stakeholders.

As stated earlier, effectively managing more than one project is only possible if project managers and team members can stay focused. The challenge is in how to separate their individual responsibilities for each assigned project, as well as non-project work. In a single project situation, the project manager is often the technical or subject matter expert. In a multiple project environment, it is even more unlikely that the project manager will be a technical expert in all elements of all projects. Since all projects are done for business reasons, it is not necessary for the project manager to be the technical expert, but the project manager does need to understand the technical elements of the project.

Project team members also are assigned to projects because of their knowledge and expertise. Team members may include full-time staff members, part-time employees, or subcontractors. The more specific the skills and knowledge required and the more projects involved, the more important and difficult the allocation process. Because the number of team members is generally limited, there is a tendency to over-commit these resources for the sake of keeping them fully engaged. Team members may have assigned responsibilities that are outside their areas of expertise, creating additional pressure and stress.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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