7 tips for leading multiple IT projects at once

IT leaders will have their hands full when COVID-delayed projects return to the front burner. Here's how to maintain oversight and guidance without losing sleep or sanity.

7 tips for leading multiple IT projects at once

Today's CIO can feel like a circus performer, simultaneously juggling multiple projects while making sure that none crash to the ground. The pandemic has placed added urgency to this issue, with work-from-home mandates colliding with the need to accelerate digital transformations. Soon, however, when the world begins emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, the juggling will grow even more furious as remote work, security, digital transformation, automation and other pressing initiatives begin demanding renewed attention and rapid completion.

Because the pressure will become intense, it's important to strategize now how you will plan to manage multiple essential projects without sacrificing time, budgets, or quality. The following seven tips will help protect you from dropping the ball.

1. Be a project leader, not a manager

A critical mistake many IT executives make when managing multiple projects is viewing themselves solely as project managers rather than leaders. "Instead of only managing budget, schedule, scope, quality and risks, [you] also need to lead people," explains Byron Love Sr., cyber protection services program manager at defense firm Raytheon Intelligence and Space. "Project managers who believe they can manage projects alone will lead their teams and organizations to failure."

Successful leaders coach teams — and individual project managers — to serve as human sensors who will immediately relay a warning signal if an initiative runs into serious trouble. "They motivate [teams and managers] to apply their expertise in a manner that keeps projects on track," Love says. "The more complex the projects, and the greater the number of projects, the more project management leadership experience and talent is required for success."

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