As a project manager, you’re well-versed in simultaneously managing multiple projects. Juggling diverse task lists and communication with various stakeholders adds complexity. 

The intricacy heightens when managing numerous projects, particularly in resource allocation. Failing to implement effective strategies and meet deadlines compounds the challenge. 

This guide dives into proven techniques for managing multiple projects and ensuring satisfaction among stakeholders, your team, and yourself.

Try Hubstaff free for 14 days

Get started

12 strategies to manage multiple projects

While you’ll undoubtedly improve at keeping track of multiple projects at work, you can start using these strategies today to improve instantly.

Let’s go over these one by one. 

1. Utilize project management software

Invest in a reliable project management tool like Hubstaff. These platforms streamline task assignments, progress tracking, and team communication, providing a centralized hub for all project-related activities. 

You can enhance organization and collaboration across multiple projects with automated workflows and customizable checklists.

Why do we love project management software?

  • Automation and custom workflows: Leverage project management software to automate repetitive tasks and design custom workflows. This not only saves time but also ensures consistency across projects.
  • Centralized information hub: A centralized platform allows easy access to project details, timelines, and task assignments. It enhances collaboration by providing a common space for team members to share updates and files.
  • Visibility into progress: Team members and stakeholders gain visibility into the progress of each project. This transparency promotes accountability and allows for timely interventions if any aspect of a project requires attention.
  • Real-time updates: The platform provides real-time updates, ensuring everyone works with the latest information. This reduces confusion and enhances collaboration.

2. Set expectations

Setting expectations is crucial for managing multiple projects successfully.

You’ll want to ask stakeholders about their expectations for a project before you start working on it. Get everyone on the same page so that stakeholders have realistic expectations.

It’s up to you to determine and communicate what your team can get done and when they can deliver. You may need to push back on deadlines or scope to complete a project. If the deadline isn’t flexible, the deliverable should be renegotiated as needed, and vice versa.

Set expectations for your team, too. Your team should know the level of performance you need from them to get everything done on time and spec.

Once you do this, you’ll be ready to move on to the next phase: project planning for your tasks and activities.

3. Plan everything out

As cliche as it sounds, failing to plan means planning to fail. You’ll need to stay organized if you want to avoid missing project deadlines when managing multiple projects.

The best way to do this is to create a project plan to help you anticipate risks and potential bottlenecks. A good plan makes your project much more likely to be completed smoothly.

Start by identifying key project activities and estimating how long they will take. You need these estimates to create a realistic project timeline.

A group of people working together

Do this for every project you manage, and keep everything organized by putting together a list of all your projects, tasks, and milestones and keeping it in an easy-to-access location.

Having all this information in a single place will help you manage everything easier and stay on track to meet your deadlines.

Hubstaff Tasks makes it easy to see all your projects at a glance

Try Hubstaff now

4. ​​Implement Agile methodology 

Embrace Agile principles to enhance flexibility and responsiveness in managing multiple projects. Here’s a short guide on how to implement Agile principles across multiple projects:

  • Daily Stand-up meetings: Hold daily stand-up meetings for each project team. These brief, focused meetings provide a platform for team members to share progress, discuss challenges, and plan the day’s work. Ensure these meetings are time-boxed and effective.
  • Retrospectives: Conduct regular retrospectives at the end of each sprint. This is a crucial Agile practice where teams reflect on what went well, what could be improved, and how to implement those improvements in the next sprint. Apply insights gained from retrospectives across all projects.
  • Use Agile tools: Leverage Agile project management tools that facilitate collaboration, backlog management, and sprint planning. Tools like Jira, Trello, or Asana can help teams stay organized and aligned with Agile practices.
  • Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe): Consider adopting frameworks like SAFe for managing multiple Agile projects at an organizational level. SAFe guides coordinating and aligning Agile teams across larger enterprises.

By adopting Agile principles and tailoring them to suit the dynamics of managing multiple projects, teams can enhance their ability to respond to change, deliver value incrementally, and maintain high productivity.

5. Prioritize tasks effectively

Once you’ve planned out your tasks, take advantage of your organizational efforts by reviewing your workload at the start of every workday.

Simply review your to-do list, review essential tasks, and try to be realistic about how many things you and your team can accomplish within a given day. If you use software like Hubstaff, most of this process is automated and straightforward.

Set priorities and make sure that you’re focusing on those tasks that require your immediate attention.

When working on multiple projects, weighing priorities can be more complex. In addition to prioritizing individual tasks, you should also figure out which projects have priority over others. Focus on those with the tightest deadlines and the highest importance to stakeholders.

When multiple projects rely on the same resources, it’s easy to get sidetracked and spend a lot of time on tasks that don’t move the suitable projects forward. That’s why careful prioritization is so critical when you’re managing a lot of different projects.

Task prioritization helps you focus more effectively and makes it easier to meet deadlines. Completing the right tasks at the right time keeps all your projects on track.

A great way to start prioritizing tasks and projects is to use a prioritization strategy called the Eisenhower Matrix. The strategy itself is named after Dwight D. Eisenhower, who famously said he has “two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent”.

Eisenhower Matrix

Based on this principle, the Eisenhower Matrix states that you should assign all your tasks to four categories:

  1. Urgent and important – Tasks that require immediate attention are crucial for success. You should tend to these tasks immediately.
  2. Not urgent but important – These tasks don’t require immediate attention but are still important to move forward. You should schedule a time on your calendar to complete these tasks.
  3. Urgent but not important – Tasks that are time-sensitive but not very important should be delegated to a team member. You should focus your time on the first two categories.
  4. Neither urgent nor important – If you have tasks on your list that are neither urgent nor important, consider if you need to complete them at all. If possible, delete them from your to-do list.

Revisit it regularly once you create your priority matrix because your priorities might shift as projects progress or circumstances change.

Additionally, communicate with stakeholders regularly and keep them updated on the status of each project so that they know how things are moving forward.

Subscribe to the Hubstaff blog for more time management tips

6. Establish clear communication channels:

Effective communication is the backbone of successful project management, particularly when handling multiple projects simultaneously. Establishing clear communication channels involves defining protocols and utilizing collaborative platforms to ensure seamless information flow within the team.

  • Defined communication protocols: Establish clear guidelines for communication within the team. Clearly define how updates, issues, and progress should be communicated. This reduces the chances of miscommunication and ensures everyone is on the same page.
  • Collaborative platforms: Encourage using collaborative platforms for instant messaging, video conferencing, and document sharing. These tools facilitate real-time communication, making it easier for team members to stay connected regardless of physical location.

Establishing clear communication channels is integral to effective project management, especially when managing multiple projects concurrently. Prioritizing clear communication is a proactive step toward project success in complex and dynamic work environments.

7. Use time management techniques

To manage multiple projects as effectively as possible, you should also look into time blocking.

Time blocking is a productivity technique in which you dedicate blocks of time to specific tasks. For example, dedicate the first 15 minutes of your workday to replying to emails and not checking your inbox for the rest of the day.

Team calendar

By assigning a specific time block to a task, you’ll focus more efficiently and avoid switching between tasks without finishing anything.

When juggling many different tasks and projects, you may need to be a little more strict about your scheduled work times. Start and stop at your scheduled time. You might be tempted to keep going if you’re in the zone, but that cuts time for other projects.

There’s a real risk of losing time and focus while managing multiple projects. To mitigate this, timeboxing is an effective way to avoid being distracted by intruding tasks from different topics.

Switching gears from one problem to the next is time-consuming and drains your creative brain power. Do that as little as possible.

Spending too much time on a single task is counterproductive when you have many other priorities to manage.

Plan your week so you’re tuned into the suitable projects at the right time, and focus only on one for at least an hour to maximize output.

8. Delegate tasks

You can’t do everything yourself, especially when working on multiple projects simultaneously.

Don’t be afraid to delegate important tasks to your team members. Knowing when to step back and let others do their thing is a part of being a great project manager.

Delegating is necessary to complete projects on time and effectively utilize your team. It will save time, empower your team, and help you accomplish more.

In short, you should be looking to delegate as much as possible.

When delegating tasks, remember to give team members everything they need to complete whatever you assign them, including the authority to make any necessary decisions.

That brings us to the next tip:

9. Don’t micromanage your team members

Project managers who aren’t comfortable delegating often do so begrudgingly. Then, they try to micromanage team members to do things exactly their way.

Don’t do that. It defeats the purpose of delegating. Plus, micromanaging puts pressure on your team, reduces productivity, and damages their trust in you.

While micromanagement gives you more control over how the project is executed, it demoralizes your team and makes team members anxious. It can also lead to burnout for everyone involved.

If you’re a micromanager, you must accept that you can’t (and shouldn’t) control everything. Have faith in your team members and their skills. You hired them for a reason.

While you’re managing many different projects, trusting your team to do their job well is not negotiable. Only then will you be able to effectively delegate tasks to ensure that your team meets deadlines and completes projects successfully.

10. Track progress

Make sure to track your progress across all of your projects at the same time. It’s easy to focus on each project separately instead of looking at the big picture. However, you need to see how everything is moving so that you can coordinate and meet all of your different deadlines.

By tracking the progress of all of your projects, you’ll be able to identify bottlenecks and address them quickly. This is especially useful when you must share resources.

Start tracking progress by creating a project outline, including goals, milestones, and KPIs (key performance indicators). Ensure your team members are included when drafting project outlines to ensure project goals are realistic.

Using a project management tool like a Gantt chart to visualize projects progressing.

If you haven’t heard of the Gantt chart before, it’s a type of bar chart used to illustrate a project’s schedule and status at a glance. It usually has all the project activities and tasks listed on the left and a time scale at the top.

Gantt chart

Each task or activity is represented by a bar. Its length and position reflect the start date, end date, and duration.

A Gantt chart shows you all your project tasks and timelines to see if you’re on track immediately.

11. Check in with your team regularly

Check-in with your team regularly to understand how each project is progressing. Encourage complete honesty to identify bottlenecks and issues that might be in the way.

A great way to do this is to have a daily stand-up meeting.

Stand-ups originate from the Scrum framework. Your team meets daily for a very short time — no more than 15 minutes — and every member gives a quick update.

During those 15 minutes, each team member quickly goes over:

  • What they’ve completed since the last meeting
  • What do they plan on completing by the next meeting
  • Any blockers or things that are preventing progress
Kanban with sticky notes

Be mindful of that 15-minute time limit. It’s easy to take much longer, especially with larger teams and multiple projects. At Hubstaff, we use automated standups for daily updates so that our team members can focus their time on productive work.

Connecting with your team by checking in and holding Stand-ups is excellent, but you should also encourage communication. Your team shouldn’t hesitate to contact you with questions or concerns about the project.

If you manage a remote-only team and rely on online communication, ensure it’s centralized. Don’t make the mistake of using half a dozen different tools to communicate with your team members.

Use the right tool for the job. Nobody wants to dig through their email to find that document you sent last week. Keep communications organized by task and project so everyone can easily find the necessary information.

12. Regularly review and adapt strategies

One of the critical principles for successfully managing multiple projects is the continuous review and adaptation of project management strategies. This involves regularly assessing the effectiveness of your approach, identifying areas for improvement, and adapting your strategies based on evolving project needs.

Why should you strive for constant adaptation?

  • Risk mitigation: Timely reviews and adaptations help identify and address potential risks before they escalate. Proactively managing risks contributes to smoother project execution and minimizes the likelihood of significant setbacks.
  • Optimized resource management: Regular assessments of resource allocations ensure that resources are distributed optimally. This prevents overloading specific projects while others may face resource shortages, leading to a balanced and efficient utilization of resources.
  • Adaptation to changing needs: Project needs can evolve due to shifts in market conditions, customer requirements, or internal priorities. Regular reviews allow project managers to adapt strategies in response to changing circumstances, ensuring continued alignment with organizational goals.
  • Alignment with project goals: The regular review process ensures that project strategies remain aligned with overarching goals. This alignment is crucial for maintaining a clear trajectory and preventing deviations that could impact project success.

Regularly reviewing and adapting project management strategies is essential for managing multiple projects effectively. This approach contributes to risk mitigation, optimized resource utilization, continuous improvement, adaptation to changing needs, enhanced decision-making, improved team morale, and alignment with project goals. 

What is the best way to manage multiple projects?

What if we told you there was a way to track your projects, assign tasks, and communicate with your team from a single location? That’s precisely what you can do with Hubstaff.

hubstaff tasks sprint closeup view

Hubstaff is a workforce management software solution that enables you to create custom automated workflows, design project checklists, give out assignments, and share files with your team.

Hit all your deadlines on time

Easily manage all your projects in one place.

Try Hubstaff now

Start managing multiple projects effectively

It can be challenging to manage multiple projects simultaneously can be challenging, even for experienced project managers. It involves keeping track of different schedules, juggling priorities, and staying organized as things change.

Though difficult, using the right strategies makes project management for multiple tasks much more manageable.

Do you balance multiple projects every day? What are some of the strategies that have worked best for you? Tell us in the comments.

Category: Project Management