We talk at some length about why flexible planning in 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.
We talk less about how project managers and project management offices (PMOs) need the flexibility to oversee simultaneous projects—and the challenges that might include.
Running multiple projects has many benefits—including, coordinating 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 resource management tools available can help your PMO get the job done optimally.
Why flexible planning is important in project management
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 cash flow and schedules more consistent and their lives less stressful.
PMOs also find themselves managing multiple simultaneous projects—though it 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 – for both individual managers and PMOs.
The difficulty of flexibility planning
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.
Analyze the contingencies
The key to successful flexible planning in project management is keeping a constant handle on each project, making fast, efficient decisions, and accurately allocate resources.
The flexible goal definition states the importance of adapting to circumstances. 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. You should be able to set flexible goals geared towards preventing any further fallout and getting the project back on its feet as quickly as possible. A flexible plan will allow every manager to work successfully under changing circumstances.
Tempus Resource is quickly becoming a popular tool to help project managers create flexible plans and effectively contain the unpredictable moving parts of multiple projects simultaneously. 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 to support efficient decision-making
Tempus Resource works by pulling in a range of external variables about your projects, like the number of people, time, and budget you have. Use this to create a comprehensive analysis of the individual moving parts your project includes.
It provides access to easy-to-analyze summaries of complex data letting you make quick and effective decisions about your project at every stage of the process. This approach allows you to plan for both the present and future.
Anyone who’s on a search for an effective solution that allows you to include all necessary content and variables for flexible planning has come to the right place. Please Get in touch with ProSymmetry, and we’ll share the right strategies for discovering how to make your project management more effective and efficient.