To manage multiple projects with competing deadlines comes down to a simple resource and methodology that provides a solution that helps create structure and manage Actions, Issues, Risks, and Decisions. Keeping you focused on what you need to do today, this week, and next week to keep your projects on track.
- How to Manage Multiple Projects with Competing Deadlines
- Project Management, RAID Log, and Deadlines
- Portfolio and Program Management
- How to Manage Project Dependencies
- Convinced RAID Log is the Answer?
How to Manage Multiple Projects with Competing Deadlines
How, oh How?!?!? You may be asking yourself this very question. Maybe you are a new PM at the beginning of your project management career.
Or, like many, you were given the opportunity (or a curse, you haven’t decided yet) to show senior management that you can deliver results for some key business initiatives they want to implement within the organization.
And here you are, searching the internet for answers. Well, I will help you out and give you some of the best advice on managing multiple projects with competing deadlines, which comes down to a simple resource and methodology my mentor introduced me to several years ago.
Project Management, RAID Log, and Deadlines
A mentor of mine exclusively used a RAID log to manage extensive merger and acquisition (M&A) projects. She faced many challenges like unclear lines of authority and managers hesitant to make decisions. And when they finally did make a decision, they would soon conveniently forget about it and ‘un-commit,’ creating a general sense of uncertainty among the decision-makers. The best advice I ever got came in these words:
“Stakeholders gravitate to anything that helps create structure, and I’ve found that a RAID log provides such a profound structure to my M&A projects.”
A simple RAID log PM solution is what she uses to manage Actions, Issues, Risks, and Decisions for projects worth billions of dollars. Annotated in these 4 Tabs will dictate the agenda of meetings. Plus, all necessary Action items and Issues are discussed openly with all stakeholders during meetings.
And here’s the best part – when a Decision is made or an Action item is assigned, it is notated in the RAID log in real-time while everyone watches. Everyone pays attention to a Decision or Action item when the name of the accountable is updated in real-time.
So you see, a RAID log is more than a spreadsheet. It’s a method for running your projects, keeping you focused on what you need to do today, this week, and next week to keep your projects on track.
Remember that projects usually don’t go wrong because of the tasks themselves. They go wrong because of unmanaged risks, out-of-control issues, forgotten Action items, and poor decisions.
Portfolio and Program Management
Being a program manager can be challenging because not only do you have responsibility over this tremendous program, but you also have to manage multiple project managers, each of which usually has their way of doing things.
So, you may be asking yourself, how can a simple RAID log manage a program and all the sub-projects workstreams and be flexible enough for a team of project managers to adopt?
Yep, a RAID Document is Still the Answer
A RAID log allows you to show stakeholders that your project or program is entirely under control. Sharing your log with your team and stakeholders, keeping it up to date, and demonstrating (by example) how this PM resource helps manage your projects, demonstrates that this document is a single source of truth, the authoritative operational data source for your project.
A program RAID log becomes, to a large extent, the roll-up of the RAID logs across all your workstreams. It provides an easy way for your PMs to manage things consistently and stay on top of how they work their individual projects. Having them use the same RAID log template allows you to use a regular RAID log review meeting to coach your PMs and keep things coordinated across workstreams.
Aggregate top issues, risks, and decisions into your program-level RAID log – this is where RAIDlog.com can come in handy. It will become too cumbersome to aggregate data from all your spreadsheet-based RAID logs from your team and too chaotic to have your team in the same RAID log.
However, Raidlog.com is a dedicated project management software product for the job – a Project and Portfolio Management system. Capable of aggregating data across RAID log, providing central reporting and access control. This SaaS PM solution can allow you to review the RAID logs for each workstream to keep up to date on project progress.
How to Manage Project Dependencies
Do you ever feel like project schedules are falling behind because your team is waiting for a task dependency to continue? Or are customers or stakeholders getting frustrated and expressing that things aren’t moving along fast enough? But, you are on schedule and delivering as committed.
Tracking dependencies in a RAID log can be one of the best ways to turn troubled projects around and can be crucial in working on multiple projects or program workstreams.
This project management solution is a way for you to track and quickly pull up all the dependencies for an organization. Having this information at your fingertips will be worth it in the long run and will make it easier to hold responsible parties accountable.
But also help keep you ahead of that wave of activities. This way, you can ride the wave’s crest – you can steer it, moving it forward instead of being smashed down into the sea bottom.
Ride the Wave of Dependency Surfing
Knowing your dependencies will allow you to stay ahead of a project by doing a little dependency surfing!
Dependency Surfing works like this: If the stakeholder or customer constantly feels like they are waiting on you, they feel like you are the slow one, holding things up even, keep them busy with work that moves the project ahead.
This proactive approach will help them feel like you are on top of things and driving value, and they will have a vested interest because of their involvement. It also helps keep them out of trouble.
Learning to surf your dependencies will help you avoid the giant wave of things that needs to get done, the things that are continually crashing down on your head, leaving you gasping for air—those relentless decisions, actions, and issues that must be managed.
Strive to have more dependent Action items assigned that people, especially your stakeholders, owe you than you owe in return. Stay on top of your RAID Action items and spend time managing the delivery of activities rather than performing them.
Dependencies should always be deliverable focused, which means that these are possibly (maybe even likely) redundant to your project plan.
Also, highlight dependencies during meetings, hold stakeholders accountable, and encourage consistent communication regarding the progress of a project’s dependent actions. This tactic is especially compelling if contracted obligations dependencies are on the Customer or Partner.
Convinced RAID Log is the Answer?
So you see the light and how this long-standing project management methodology is your answer to managing projects or programs with competing deadlines. Plus, you read our article on What is a RAID log and the section on How to Create a RAID log.
You are convinced to ride the project wave to success with a RAID document and decided to manage a RAID in a spreadsheet because it is quick, portable, and easy. And, you can have each PM on your team manage their own RAID log and aggregate the data manually or have one master RAID log everyone shares if you have a small number of workstreams.
Great, you are halfway to becoming the Ultimate PM but know that RAID Management becomes problematic when your team has multiple RAID logs. However, there is an affordable (and for a limited time Free) solution.
A Platform, A Methodology, A Solution for Managing Projects
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Projects don’t go wrong because of your project plan or user stories. They go wrong because of unmanaged Risks, neglected Action Items, unresolved Issues, and poor Decision making.
RAIDLOG.com is a purpose-built project management tool that is coming to market and helps you keep your RAID log simple, accessible, and secure.
Why keep struggling with a spreadsheet-based RAID log when RAIDLOG.com can aggregate data to the master RAID log, provide central reporting and access control, and is easy to use and share with project shareholders and team members.
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