How to Use Microsoft Project & Manage Multiple Projects in Portfolio

by Susan S. Davis
Microsoft Project allows for multiple projects to be managed simultaneously within a portfolio.

Microsoft Project allows for multiple projects to be managed simultaneously within a portfolio.

Project managers maintain many technical projects simultaneously. The varied complexities, sizes, time lines and deadlines make handling multiple projects challenging. Understanding key strategies such as time management, group dynamics and individual skill sets can make it possible to professionally and efficiently handle multiple projects, meet requirements and deliver results successfully. The Microsoft Project (MSP) software management program was developed by Microsoft as a tool to help project managers develop plans, assign tasks, manage budgets, analyze workloads for time management purposes, track progress and troubleshoot problem areas of multiple projects.

1

Evaluate your business objectives. List your project goals by department. Prepare a draft planning document. Meet with key personnel to discuss business and project goals. Plan out how your business objectives may best be realized using the resources your company has.

2

Ask key personnel to study the Microsoft tutorials on how to use Microsoft Project. Ensure that each person knows how to use all of the aspects of the software. Learn how to use all of the unified project and portfolio management technical resources in the program.

3

Create a portfolio checklist for managing the multiple projects in your company. Use a comprehensive life cycle system based checklist to ensure that all bases are covered. List out every aspect of each project from inception. Each list should include information gathering and task-oriented duties for each party. For example, ensure that all of the technical specifications are received for each project before starting on it. Include key personnel such as those from quality assurance.

4

Prioritize all projects and determine which are more time sensitive. Put them in order according to due dates. Multiple projects require special organization techniques to keep track of simultaneous tasks that are often duplicated. Carefully analyze each project according to why and when it is needed. Deciding what to do and in which order is one of the key components to successful multiple project management.

5

Categorize and sequence the work tasks. Ensure that every project task has been put in proper perspective and that each one makes sense. Break down each project adequately so that every manager can see logically how it will proceed. Conduct meetings to discuss each work task list and ensure that all parties understand their roles. Check the project of each task on the list on a weekly basis. Address bugs and issues to resolution or contact the responsible individual to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

6

Make a digital dashboard that captures all of the projects to track each one’s progress. Use the data on the digital dashboard to monitor the tasks. Generate reports to applicable parties about outstanding tasks, progress, management, bugs and other technical issues for each of the projects within the portfolio.

7

Ensure that your company is using Microsoft Project to combine the portfolio and project management of your organization's business and arrange resources more efficiently. Monitor all projects under Microsoft Project so that all of the company’s departments may work in one place. Use Microsoft Project to combine the portfolio and project management of your organization's business and arrange resources more efficiently. Align all business priorities with investment strategies to better assess key business priorities to help the company control its tasks and projects. Monitor all projects under Microsoft Project so that all of the company’s departments may work in one place.

About the Author

Susan S. Davis is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the L.A. Press Club. She was managing editor of "The Hosting News" and a columnist at Online Dating Magazine. Davis attended Chicago's Medill School of Journalism, and holds an A.A.S. in radio broadcasting from Minnesota Business College and a certificate in paralegal studies from University of California, Los Angeles.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera smart management image by araraadt from Fotolia.com