Imagine you are managing multiple projects at different stages. What can you do to stay on track with key due dates? Which stages should you pay the closest attention to, and why?
As a full-time worker and a full-time student, I got a lot on my plate. Maybe not as much as most people (especially the ones with kids), but I keep my self pretty busy with extracurricar activities, such as freelancing and volunteering my time as a board memeber for the Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) San Diego Affiiate. So I don’t really have to imagine managing multiple projects, I am currently, and seemingly endlessly doing that now.
The key to managing projects is to understand the phases within the project management life cycle, which are (Pinto, 2020):
- Conceptualization — this is where the you define the initial goal and technical specifications/requirements for the project; understanding the scope of work that needs to be done, the necessary resources to have, and this is the phase in which you organize people that will help you accomplish the project. The project manager (YOU) should have a shared vision (with the client) of the final project to be completed.
- Planning — in this phase, we begin to deconstruct the final project in your mind, by breaking it down into logical and managabe pieces that leverage the expertise of the peopel whom you will assign them to. This is also the phase in which the detailed specifications are communicated as well as the schematics, schedules, and other plans developed, incuding the process for completion clearly defined.
- Execution — is the phase in which the actual work is to be done. In this phase, the bulk of the project team labor is performed.
- Monitor/Controlling — is not really a phase that’s clearly divided from the others, instead, it happens alongside the other phases to ensure that project progress remains satisfactory. When things start to fall behind, adjustments need to be made.
- Terminaton — This is the final phase in which a review of the final product is made, inspecting to ensure that it’s met the specifications detailed in the first phase, before we delivery it to the client.
By understanding the above phases we can begin to monitor and control the progress of the project, which I would suggest is the phase you shoud most pay attention to.
To stay on track of the project, we leverage technology by automating what we can, and delegating what we can’t. My personal favorite tips to get more done are:
- Track the progress of projects using to-do list applications that leverage automatic reminders and announcements. For instance, you can setup reminders to alert you once certain conditions are met (like when you arrive at a certian location).
- Schedule your to-do list by blocking off moments of time in the day, week, or whatever the case may be. Doing so well mimic a sort of commitment you have to the past version of yourself. Also, by allowing yourself a duration of time to get a task completed you are able to measure the success of progress.
- Percision Focus at the task at hand using the pomodoro technique. Its a technique in which you intently focused on the task at hand for 25 minutes and once the 25 minutes is up you give yourself a break by doing something that you enjoy for 5 or 10 minutes before getting back to 25 minutes of precision focus on the task at hand (Cirillo, 2018).
Using the above tips has helped me get to where I am today. At 38. years old with 5 degrees, going on my 6th, and a handful of certifications, I’d say this combination of best practices, has kept me quite productive.
Cirillo, F. (2018). The Pomodoro Technique: The Acclaimed Time-Management System That Has Transformed How We Work. New York, NY. Currency/Crown Publishuing Group.
Pinto, J.K. (2020). Project management: Achieving competitive advanatage (5th Edition). Harlow, UK. Pearson Education Limited.