Managing Multiple Projects

As organizations mature in project management, there is a tendency toward having one person manage multiple projects. The initial impetus may come either from the company sponsoring the projects or from project managers themselves. There are several factors supporting the managing of multiple projects. First, the cost of maintaining a full-time project manager on all projects may be prohibitive. The magnitude and risks of each individual project dictate whether a full-time or part-time assignment is necessary. Assigning a project manager full-time on an activity that does not require it is an overmanagement cost. Overmanagement of projects was considered an acceptable practice in the early days of project management because we had little knowledge on how to handle risk management. Today, methods for risk management exist.

Second, line managers are now sharing accountability with project managers for the successful completion of the project. Project managers are now managing at the template levels of the WBS with the line managers accepting accountability for the work packages at the detailed WBS levels. Project managers now spend more of their time integrating work rather than planning and scheduling functional activities. With the line manager accepting more accountability, time may be available for the project manager to manage multiple projects.

Third, senior management has come to the realization that they must provide high-quality training for their project managers if they are to reap the benefits of managing multiple projects. Senior managers must also change the way that they function as sponsors. There are six major areas where the corporation as a whole may have to change in order for the managing of multiple projects to succeed.

• Prioritization: If a project prioritization system is in effect, it must be used correctly such that employee credibility in the system is realized. One risk is that the project manager, having multiple projects to manage, may favor those projects having the highest priorities. It is possible that no prioritization system may be the best solution. Not every project needs to be prioritized, and prioritization can be a time-consuming effort.

• Scope Changes: Managing multiple projects is almost impossible if the sponsors/ customers are allowed to make continuous scope changes. When using multiple projects management, it must be understood that the majority of the scope changes may have to be performed through enhancement projects rather than through a continuous scope change effort. A major scope change on one project could limit the project manager's available time to service other projects. Also, continuous scope changes will almost always be accompanied by reprioritization of projects, a further detriment to the management of multiple projects.

• Capacity Planning: Organizations that support the management of multiple projects generally have a tight control on resource scheduling. As a result, the organization must have knowledge of capacity planning, theory of constraints, resource leveling, and resource limited planning.

• Project Methodology: Methodologies for project management range from rigid policies and procedures to more informal guidelines and checklists. When manag-

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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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