too many projects

How Many Projects Is Too Many?

If there’s one mistake service organizations commit way too often, it’s taking on more projects than their schedules can fit. A good deal of research shows people tend to be overly optimistic about how much they can accomplish. It’s not the end of the world if you’re just starting up yet another home improvement project, but applying this overconfidence to your work undermines your ability to make sound business decisions. When a portfolio gets bloated with too many projects, problems start to pop up and roll at a lightning speed, threatening the health of every project.

On the other hand, business never stops. Finding new ways to grow profitability and overthinking strategically what’s important for their organization can leave management oblivious to the fact that their resource pool is limited and cannot complete another project. Ideas that seemed brilliant at first may cause a lot of distress and a severe overload in the end.

Attempting to run too many projects, as well as poor resource management, have topped the list of project management challenges for several consecutive years, according to Wellington. Unfortunately, this scenario is likely to unfold in almost every growing organization. Imagine you already have a hundred projects in your portfolio and your team members are crisscrossed between them. How do you make sure that layering another initiative won’t ruin the balance?

How can you tell that you don’t overcommit your team? How many projects is too many?

Luckily, one intelligent project automation platform – Forecast – can answer these questions.

Forecast automates the administrative aspects of project management – be it creating a project plan, task estimation, resource assignment, workflow management, or financial reporting. In fact, with the release of the new feature, Auto Schedule, Forecast offers powerful automation you won’t find elsewhere. It is the only platform able to create a project plan in a matter of seconds.

Having a rough list of tasks, Auto Schedule turns it into a complete project schedule in a timeline view with assignees, estimations, and deadlines automatically. Your new plan is instantly reflected on the team’s current schedule in the heat map. As conflicts appear, the heat map indicates where changes are needed.

forecast auto schedule

Essentially, you’re a few clicks away from seeing if another project fits in your team’s schedule. As the first step, the system will ask you to create a new project with a task list, either with milestones or without. When it’s ready, you can hit one ‘Auto Schedule’ button and watch how your task list gets organized into a solid plan and how it affects the workload of your team. If this wasn’t fast enough already, you can even duplicate a similar project you’ve run previously. That way you start out with a full task list and only need to make a few edits before auto-scheduling.

Apart from saving time on administrative work, there are more reasons to integrate machine learning and automation into the workflow. David Weinberger, a senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, believes machine learning pushes us to define fairness. He argues we should think of work distribution the same way as one would think of kids who receive different numbers of cookies unless there is a relevant difference between them.

Fairness not only sets the foundation for productive work, but it also keeps businesses in shipshape to raise to the new challenges. There are many indicators of fairness machine learning can provide when one is about to make the next tough project selection decision.

Forecast’s artificial intelligence, for instance, resists the urge to over or under commit the team. Every day it learns from the way they work, assembles bits and pieces of data from all your connected systems, and analyzes them. When the platform knows your project team in and out, especially your employees’ skills and availability, it can make more accurate delivery suggestions.

As a company grows and strives to keep the operating margin healthy, intelligent automation is the only track to checking the feasibility of the new project.

There’s no way a spreadsheet could ever do this. It’s automation and artificial intelligence that can get you a long way. 

Read more on the topic: Tools for Project Managers to Travel in Time

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