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Multi project management – the potential to use synergies and resources efficiently

Without the active control of projects, certain potentials in companies are given away. Everything is begun ecstatically, but is finished only half-heartedly. Employee motivation decreases as many employees develop negative attitudes in project management, e.g. "We do not always meet deadlines because I do not need that now." The quality is also affected by high parallelism. Often this occurs in companies that are trying to manage a large number of projects simultaneously.

What is multi-project management?

In principle, it is like a river that meets a bottleneck and where the flanks have to withstand high pressure. With the active control of all existing projects in the company, the river can manage the river through the bottleneck. With clearly structured reports and clear parameters, the company can be evenly distributed, keeping employee motivation constant, utilizing synergies and using resources efficiently.

Fig. 1: Multi project management

Bottleneck project management and their symptoms

A bottleneck in project management is, among other things, the limited availability of resources. Designers, installers and commissioning engineers with mechatronic know-how are nowadays coveted specialists in medium-sized mechanical engineering companies. At the same time, the river must be accelerated and the number of projects increased. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Customers in the medium-sized engineering sector are demanding shorter and shorter lead times for projects.
  1. By shorter product life cycles, the market requires new machines at shorter intervals.

The challenge for the medium-sized machine manufacturers is now to work on the projects to be processed in such a way that the pressure on the bottlenecks is as even and consistent as possible.

A common symptom is to start all projects at the same time or at very short intervals and not to conclude them in a controlled manner. The risk of inefficient and ineffective project processing is thus increasing. The resources are used in multiple projects at the same time. For the individual employee, this means that he has to handle many tasks and information at the same time. Therefore, it can quickly lead to misunderstandings. The throughput time of a single task is significantly prolonged by high waiting times and mental set-up times.

In order to use the resources correctly, a comparison between the projects is unavoidable. The coordination between resources and projects makes it possible to utilize synergies and to identify risks early on. The employees get the tasks and necessary information at the right time, and sometimes even higher quality information.

The challenge in implementation of multi-project management

The challenge in the introduction of multi-project management is to delineate the quality and detail depth of the required information. An analysis of the projects and project structures in the company is used to determine which information can be used for multi-project management.  Together with project managers and line managers, measurement points are defined in order to determine the project status throughout the company.

The Project Management Office (PMO) balances the project stages at cyclical intervals. It prepares the identified risks and synergies in a report and provides it to the project managers and the management.

Results: better utilization of the given resources

Our experience shows that the introduction of multi-project management leads to a better utilization of the given resources. We managed to double the effectiveness in different companies. Pragmatic approaches are chosen by us for an understandable introduction of the methodology. Through workshops in which the possibilities of multi-project management are presented and the requirements of the company are matched, a tailor-made methodical approach is introduced into the company.

Christian Pfingstl
Christian Pfingstl
Managing Director I IMIG Germany

For further information please contact us either by mail: or by phone: +49 7152 928 460.

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