Do you feel like you are drowning under a mountain of tasks? Like you’re losing control? Check out these six project management strategies, helping you lessen the workload.
Are you managing multiple projects simultaneously, and feel like you are drowning?
It’s a common response to an overwhelming workload. But it doesn’t have to be.
Here are some strategies to ease the burden.
Think about managing construction projects as driving a car. It’s almost impossible to drive several at once. Once inside the car, you focus on the road, watch for pedestrians, check fuel levels, etc. This needs your full attention.
The same situation is with your projects. Optimal effectiveness can be obtained only if you devote your attention to one task at a time.
To do it, you need a clear understanding of what and when needs to be done on each project.
Have you ever heard about WBS? Work Breakdown Structure is one document with a deliverable-oriented hierarchical division of the project’s tasks. All tasks are listed with their duration, start/finish date, and dependencies. Thanks to that, you will see within a few clicks what you should take care of next and which tasks can wait in the pipeline.
Here’s a great video on how to create a step-by-step Work Breakdown Structure for Construction Project.
If you don’t set the priority of tasks, everything will be super urgent.
Once you create WBS for your projects, it’s time to define priority. You can do it by setting a Critical Path inside the document. CP sets the project minimum duration, as is the longest sequence of tasks from the initial stage to final delivery.
If some task inside your Critical Path is delayed, there’s a big chance that your final project deadline will extend. That is why all the processes that lie inside CP should have priority in your calendar. If possible, try to delegate other tasks to your team members, monitoring their progress every few days.
Check out this tutorial to set up a critical path in your Work Breakdown Structure.
If you’re working 60+ hours a week, like many construction project managers, you could hire help. Even the best planners struggle to do two people's work.
How about hiring a junior project manager (JPM) or assistant project manager (APM)?
By hiring somebody to work for you, you can focus on critical work while they deal with administrative tasks.
Convincing your managers to hire an additional person might not be easy, especially now with growing costs due to inflation. That is why, before you go to the board, create a business case for your potential new hire. Here’s a fantastic article on everything you need to do when doing so.
Sometimes, your company might not have additional funds to hire a new person. Still, you can do something about it.
Set the MVPs of the team inside each project. MVPs are the most valuable players of the teams.
For a few weeks, try to observe and note down which of your team members has the best knowledge about the processes and is the most open and willing to help.
Both hard and soft skills are crucial as MVP is supposed to be your source of information about project progress and a right hand in activities not strictly related to the management level.
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Endless calls can distract even the best-organised project manager. If you coordinate subcontractors- external specialists and companies that do part of your project, efficient communication is key.
Here are some strategies so that it won’t take a whole day. Before a project starts:
Establish a regular meeting with your subcontractor during which you will discuss coming work and potential blockers
Set one primary source of communication- preferably some online communicator, so that you can check messages when you have a free slot.
Choose one way to communicate the top priorities and make sure that everyone knows it’s only for emergencies.
Based on your WBS, assign an employee to contact your subcontracts at least one week before their start date to make sure there won’t be any delays.
Improving work performance is essential. But if you are already giving your best, it might be impossible to do it better or smarter. Not without a loss. Often, the loss of your mental health.
Feeling constantly tired or running late with deadlines despite 110% effort: these might be the first signs of burnout.
You aren't alone in this struggle. Even 60% of construction workers are dealing with mental health issues. At the same time, many don’t want to admit it in their workplaces, fearing stigma and lack of understanding.
We believe that there’s no shame in taking care of mental health. Recently on our blog, we shared the story of our VP of Global Partnership, Richard Scott, and his personal experience of a mental health crisis.
A good worker is a productive one, but we tend to forget that to be productive, we need to take care of our health. Both physical and mental.
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