We talk at some length about why flexible project management is so important. This isn’t to say your projects can be managed on a whim—you need to provide the right degree of flexibility. Too little and things begin to spiral out of control—too much and you risk wasting valuable resources and going over budget.
What we talk less about is how project managers and project management offices (PMOs) need the flexibility to oversee simultaneous projects—and what the challenges of that might include.
Running multiple projects has many benefits—including, co-ordinating strategies, balancing resources, effective configuration, and risk management. But the more you take on the more difficult it can seem to effectively manage each one successfully. Fortunately, the level of technology and specifically resource management tools available can help your PMO get the job done optimally.
Why flexible project management is important
Flexibility in project management allows managers to more consistently organize workloads and resources. They can evenly spread out the peaks and troughs in demand and stagger the start dates of different projects. This makes their cashflow and schedule more consistent and their lives less stressful.
PMOs also find themselves managing multiple simultaneous projects—though is by design rather than convenience. The benefits of this are clear—the more projects a business can run, the more revenue they can accrue, the faster they can grow.
Unfortunately, managing simultaneous projects can come with profound challenges as well – for both individual managers and PMOs.
The difficulty of project management flexibility
Running simultaneous projects requires allocating the right amount of time and resources to every project in turn. Again, that’s not an easy job. Assign too little time and money to one project and you’re in danger of losing all control at the sign of the first surprise. Damage control always takes longer than the time it would take to plan for the contingency in the first place.
Conversely, if you dedicate too much time to one project, you risk wastage and taking valuable resources from another. The more projects you manage simultaneously, the more of a problem this becomes.
The risks of project management
Imagine a scenario in which you’re running a range of simultaneous construction projects. A leak occurs on one of the building sites, damaging existing infrastructure and halting progress.
There’s plenty that needs to happen before the project can get back up and running—none of which you’d originally planned for. The time you dedicate to solving this problem has to be taken from somewhere, and chances are it comes from other projects.
This kind of problem regularly faces PMOs and project managers. Finding that perfect balance of finite resources to allocate to each individual task isn’t easy but it’s a vital part of successful project management. That’s why the best PMOs and managers constantly seek new ways to get closer to that elusive perfection.
Analyse the contingencies
The key to successful flexible project management is the ability to keep a constant handle on each project, make fast, efficient decisions, and accurately allocate resources.
Take the previous example of an on-site leakage. Hiccoughs like this are inevitable in almost any project. The skill of a successful project manager isn’t in preventing them from happening; it’s in being able to respond quickly and effectively to changing circumstances, preventing any further fallout and getting the project back on its feet as quickly as possible.
Tempus Resource is quickly becoming a popular tool to help project managers effectively contain the unpredictable moving parts of multiple projects at the same time. An intelligent resource management tool, Tempus Resource can achieve a detailed analysis of contingencies, allowing managers to quickly assess the risk factor of each constituent facet of their multiple projects. From there, they easily allocate the available resources according to risk and need.
The right software for efficient decisions
Tempus Resource works by pulling in a range of external variables about your projects, like the amount of people, time and budget you have, and using this to create a comprehensive analysis of the individual moving parts your project includes.
It presents easy to analyse summaries of complex data letting you make quick and effective decisions about your project at every stage of the process.
Get in touch with ProSymmetry and discover how to make your project management more effective and efficient today.