An Action Plan for Overcoming Project Overload: My Experience

Paul Naybour

I had an intriguing meeting this week with a client. We discussed challenges their organisation was facing: the entire team was burdened with a plethora of projects, causing prolonged delays, and there was constant confusion about which projects should take precedence. As it turns out, this issue is all too common. Even when organisations introduce clear, simple project management methods, they often struggle to deliver all projects on time due to the sheer volume of concurrent initiatives. To help alleviate these concerns, we agreed on a simple action plan. Here are the steps we discussed:

  1. Establish a Programme Board: We agreed on the formation of a group of key stakeholders responsible for oversight and decision-making. This board is integral to ensuring coordinated action and unified decision-making across projects.
  2. Define Vision and Objectives: We aligned the programme’s objectives with the client’s broader vision, establishing a guiding light for all involved in the projects.
  3. Identify Available Resources: Utilise a resource breakdown structure to categorise resources by type and availability, a move intended to avoid resource allocation conflicts and streamline planning.
  4. Evaluate Project Contributions: Assess each project based on how it aligns with the vision, its objectives, and the resources it requires using the Resource Breakdown Structure. This evaluation helps us focus on projects that contribute the most to strategic goals.
  5. Define the Benefits: We determined the specific benefits expected from each project. Ensuring projects deliver real value is key to maintaining momentum and support for the programme.
  6. Consolidate Resource Needs: We agreed on a strategy to aggregate the resource requirements of all projects and compare them to what’s available. I will be very interested to see what this work show.
  7. Facilitate Programme Board Discussions: Engage in regular discussions about project prioritisation and phasing, ensuring that decisions are made in the best interest of the organisation’s current needs and resource capacities.
  8. Schedule Benefits Review: We will plan for a formal benefits review for each project at 6 and 12 months after completion. This review will help measure effectiveness and provide valuable insights for future initiatives.

As we implement these steps, I am hopeful that the client will be able to better manage project overload, increase efficiency, and improve overall outcomes. It’s important to remember, however, that the effectiveness of these strategies will only become evident over time. Consistent execution, regular reviews, and strategic adjustments when necessary are key to successful project management. As the saying goes, it’s more of a marathon than a sprint. I’m eager to see how these strategies evolve and the long-lasting benefits they provide to the organisation. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting journey!

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