Blog Archive

Managing Multiple Projects (2/4): Dealing with Tasks of Casting and Motivating of Employees

The situation of managing multiple projects requires special efforts in staff management. The article describes an approach to casting employees for projects; we also consider employees motivating

My introductory article provides a quick insight into the range of issues of managing multiple projects. Now I would like to consider two standard tasks of a manager controlling multiple projects simultaneously. Let us call him MPM, this abbreviation being formed of “manager of project managers”.

So, we will review two following tasks:

  • casting employees for new works;
  • motivating of efficient employees and dismissal of inefficient ones.

Task: to cast employees for new works

Let us describe exemplary situations causing this task to arise during managing multiple projects.

Situation: project is behind schedule

Solution

There are two solutions: to engage some external resource (either by engaging employees from other departments or by hiring them) or to find “internal reserves”. First of all, we should study the second option. Internal reserves imply reallocation of works (for instance, some works can be rejected) or enforce the project with employees at the cost of other projects.

Necessary information for making a decision

In order to solve the situation MPM needs the following information:

  • scheduled date of the project problem milestone;
  • project implementation speed;
  • predicted milestone date for the given implementation speed;
  • list of projects where priority or implementation speed afford calling people away;
  • qualification of candidates for enforcing project “A”: whether they can do this job; it is a very important information, as efficiency of employees may differ by an order of magnitude depending on their qualification;
  • candidate’s working history: whether he has worked in this project already or dealt with similar tasks in other projects.

Progress chart shows how far behind schedule the work is and provides the predicted date of milestone works implementation: Progress chart provides the predicted date of milestone works implementation

Situation: urgent work

Not infrequently it is necessary to call off some project participant in order to perform urgent work; for instance, to enforce a lagging project, do presale works, assist technical support team, complete a special task from the management, go to a business trip, etc.

Solution

Analyze the degree of workload of employees in the projects; find where employees of the necessary qualification can be called from, causing minimal adverse effects. Possibly, reallocate employees in order to minimize the consequences.

Necessary information for making a decision

In order to solve the situation MPM needs the following information:

  • projects implementation speeds for finding the projects from which the resources can be taken;
  • qualification and working experience of employees to choose the one to save the situation and to select the candidates for “plugging the gaps” left by the called-off employees.

Workload of the developers in the coming days:

                                        Workload of the developers in the coming days

Task: motivating of employees – reward and promote effective workers, get rid of ineffective ones

Let us describe real situations arising in managing multiple projects and making MPM face this task.

Situation: regular analysis of effectiveness of employees

Being a manager, MPM has to conduct a certain HR policy in his department; more specifically, he should regularly reward effective employees and “spur” the lagging ones.

Solution.

In order to act effectively in this situation MPM needs the following information:

  • evaluation of effectiveness of his employees;
  • employees’ qualification advancement dynamics;
  • participation of employees in complicated projects giving important experience;
  • previous and current workload of a certain employee (whether he is a lazybones or not).

Efforts diagram provides the possibility to track previous and future workload of the employees in question: Efforts diagram provides the possibility to track previous and future workload of the employees

Situation: keeping effective employees

Being a manager, MPM should swiftly detect a situation when some necessary employee is going to leave the team, whether for family reasons, age crisis, or because he is discontented with the company atmosphere, etc. To achieve this, one should form the “core” of his department, i.e. the list of employees who mustn’t be lost, and keep all the core members in working condition.

Solution

In order to solve this situation MPM needs to acquire the information described within the previous situation and to update it regularly.

Situation: selection of facts for dismissal

Any team has certain proportion of ineffective members. They shouldn’t be too numerous. An experienced manager can figure them out rather quickly, but he is not always able to find a formal reason to dismiss them.

Solution

In order to solve the situation MPM needs the following information:

  • history of an employee’s participation in projects;
  • history of his workload dynamics for several periods;
  • history of his qualification dynamics.

Software for completing the tasks

It is appropriate to use special software for selection and intuitive presentation of the information necessary for task completing in managing multiple projects. Here you can find the required features of such software together with an example of the existing solution.

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