As organizations begin to mature in project management, there is a tendency toward wanting to manage multiple projects. This might entail either the company’s sponsoring the various projects, or each project manager’s managing multiple projects. There are several factors supporting the managing of multiple projects.
First, the cost of maintaining a full-time project manager on all projects may be prohibitive. The magnitude and risks of the project dictate whether a full-time or part-time assignment is necessary. Assigning a project manager full-time on an activity that does not require it is an overmanagement cost. Overmanagement of projects was considered an acceptable practice in the early days of project management because we had little knowledge on how to handle risk management. Today, methods for risk management exist.
Second, line managers are now sharing accountability with project managers for the successful completion of projects. Project managers are now managing at the template levels of the work breakdown structure (WBS), with the line managers accepting accountability for the work packages at the detailed WBS levels.
Project managers now spend more of their time integrating work rather than planning and scheduling functional activities. With the line manager accepting more accountability, time may be available for the project manager to manage multiple projects.
Third, senior management has come to the realization that they must provide high quality training for their project managers if they are to reap the benefits of managing multiple projects. Senior managers must also change the way that they function as sponsors. There are six major areas where the corporation as a whole may have to change in order for the managing of multiple projects to succeed:
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