To manage one project is not very different than managing multiple projects. The process remains the same:
1. Identify each Project:
Begin the process by getting a clear idea of what each project entails; the scope and what has to be delivered and the timeframes. If you have not been given independent detailed Charters, start creating them. Remember to get these signed off before you proceed to the kick-off stage.
2. Develop a workable Plan:
Ensure that your Plan lists all of the phases, activities and tasks for each project. Your plan should show all the dependencies between projects and reflect all of the milestones necessary for each individual project. Develop an Organogram that shows all the individual subprojects of each project as well as a Milestone Schedule. Incorporate all the information from both charts into a Gantt Chart to assist you to maintain control of each project on a daily basis. To assist in decision-making and Change Management create a PERT Chart. These schedules will help you to compare your progress against your overall Plan to see where you're slipping and where you're ahead.
3. Control Staff-effort:
If one person is required to perform several tasks on multiple projects, plan very carefully that you don't assign tasks that may overlap. To prevent this, check your resource allocations, so you can monitor daily the total number of hours that each person is working. Keep a track record of this on a daily basis. Teams can only work more effectively if their tasks are evenly assigned.
4. Keep your eye on the ball:
You must be in control of what's happening in your projects at all times. Keep monitoring that every task is on time, that your Milestones are adhered to, they fall within budget and check your resources are balanced. Check that parts, equipment and materials are readily available when the time arises. Keep control of any risks that may arise and that any requested changes are monitored on a daily basis in order for you to be proactive if a slip occurs.
5. Communicate, Communicate:
The art of managing multiple projects is communication. Ensure that everybody on the team and anyone connected with the projects are communicated with and that they know exactly what is happening at any given time. When a slip occurs, this needs to be communicated with those concerned. When a deliverable is completed earlier than planned, check with the Pert Chart to see if other deliverables can be brought forward. The kingpin of these multiple projects is you, the Project Manager, who is responsible for holding everything together. The best way of achieving this is by communication. So have a plan on how you are going to communicate with everyone.