Working with more than one project at a time?

28 Oct 2009 - 10:52am
4 years ago
8 replies
2106 reads
Uidude
2009

Hello

Have you faced difficulty making design decisions while you needed to
remember the different user needs from say 2 to 3 different projects
that you were working on at the same time? Can you share your
experience when switching the thinking?

What other problems you've come across when working on more than one
project at a time?

Comments

28 Oct 2009 - 11:35am
Krystal Higgins
2008

Certainly, I face the multi-task project issue all the time at my
current workplace. Though per week there is usually one "focus"
project, overall I do find myself juggling 2-3 big projects (and
managing a few smaller ones) at any given time.

(If it helps in comparison purposes to contractors or design
agencies, I work on a team of designers in an in-house corporate
environment)

I'd say that multitasking, even in interaction design where there is
supposed to be more focus, is becoming the norm these days. On some
projects I may still be working on the conceptualization stage, while
others will be in a final design and layout stage.

The problems I struggle with in a multitasking environment are:

- Burnout: it's hard to come up with novel ideas, or stay in tune
with the big picture, when you're concerned about staying on
schedule with X project, Y project and Z project at the same time

- Concentration: Because each project will involve its own set of
meetings, as well as people randomly stepping into my office, it can
be hard to get more than a few hour's focus on a design problem.

- Longer time to get things done: It's a mental hardship to switch
between different types of tasks, and I do less in a day if I split
it between icon design interaction design than I would if I just
spent the day on interaction design.

However, I will counter the above with some of the benefits I've
found in a multitasking environment:

- More epiphanies: Because you get to see multiple projects at once,
a task or problem in one project may enlighten you as to a solution in
another.

- You stay fresh: If I had to do just one project at a time, I
honestly think I would be bored or feel "claustrophobic" after a
while. Now, perhaps this is because I've been conditioned to be a
multitasker, but I honestly feel like working on multiple types of
things at once keeps me more current with my skillset and
problem-solving abilities.

Cheers! Hope that helps.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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29 Oct 2009 - 1:45am
Hegle Sarapuu
2005

Hallo,

I work with several projects all the time, usually 2-3 are most important at
one week period.

For me solution is planning half of the day only for one project. If I have
meeting before lunch in some project, then I work with this project before
lunch this day. And no dealing with other projects at this time. At the
beginning it is hard to keep, but later it is easier and easier.

Second solution is that you shouldn't start with more than one projects in
one week.

This way you can concentrate for one project enough and you will have less
stress because of switching. Outcome is that you will remember more. Of
course you will be most efficient dealing only with one project at a time,
but for me it has never been an option :)

Best regards,
Hegle

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces atlists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces atlists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Shivan
Kannan
Sent: 28. oktoober 2009. a. 8:52
To: discuss atixda.org
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Working with more than one project at a time?

Hello

Have you faced difficulty making design decisions while you needed to
remember the different user needs from say 2 to 3 different projects
that you were working on at the same time? Can you share your
experience when switching the thinking?

What other problems you've come across when working on more than one
project at a time?
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29 Oct 2009 - 8:21am
abhishek shrivastava
2007

*Hello,*
*
*
*Though many a times, I work on a single project but there are always
secondary issues to attend. The best thing that keeps the entire process
alive is the fact that different project happen to be at different stages.
It would have been a real fight if two or more project are in the same
design phase. Thankfully thats a rare phenomenon for me.*
*
*
*One of the many problems I particular face is the perception management on
the side of the clients. I have recently come across a couple of clients
where they themselves have to meet certain deadlines to raise funding for
their ongoing projects. Thus, this brings additional responsibility on
everyone's shoulders and managing the clients becomes a responsibility here.
As always, scheduling the project deadlines and related anticipation is a
difficult and tricky thing to do. If this goes wrong, then
your experience with multitasking different projects is most likely to turn
into an unpleasant one!*
*
*
*Best regards,*
*Abhishek *
*India*

1 Nov 2009 - 5:34am
Uidude
2009

Hey all, thanks for sharing.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=47087

3 Nov 2009 - 10:45am
kbnova
2009

I am currently working on 5 major projects for 5 very different
clients and I am finding it rather difficult to concentrate and keep
all the details of each project in mind well enough to produce good
designs.

So far, the best strategy I have been able to come up with has been
to work on one project for one day a week, or sometimes for half a
day. This at least allows me to focus a little bit better, but it
means that often a whole week will go by before I can return to a
project and I have to spend a lot of time reviewing and reminding
myself what I was working on.

If anyone has any more suggestions for how to juggle so many
different projects, I would very much like to hear them.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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4 Nov 2009 - 7:59am
zakiwarfel
2004

On Nov 3, 2009, at 7:45 AM, Karin Bryant Nova wrote:

> If anyone has any more suggestions for how to juggle so many
> different projects, I would very much like to hear them.

Don't. As a small design firm we only work on 2-3 projects at one
time. Working on 5 projects at once won't allow you to give it your
full attention and do your best work. Both you and the client will
suffer and your work will show it.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Principal Designer
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at zakiwarfel.com
Blog: zakiwarfel.com
Twitter: @zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

4 Nov 2009 - 11:24am
aschechterman
2004

Karin, Ditto here. This is a really tough issue, had seven going at one
point and ". . . thought I was gonna die!" [aka
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roseanne_Roseannadanna]. Couldn't get any help
but got some sympathy. Agree with Todd that it all becomes a lot of
everything and nothing of something, which is very thin ice for everyone, a
short view and not a long view. I tried to do a couple of [perhaps] weird
things; (a) I physically segmented the projects across different war rooms
where available so I had to travel to each setting down the hall (also got
the project team lead to give me a wall of their office if needed; many nice
residual effects there), (b) I physically segmented the projects in my own
office (piles of artifacts, four walls, four projects) . . . doing more than
just segmenting them via my digital filing system; (c) I delegated as much
as I could; (d) I failed to ever dedicate a day to each (e.g., "If It's
Tuesday This Must Be Belgium"), doing so meant I couldn't meet the
multidisciplinary team (and client) needs. The major upside, a zen thing of
course, is that each project cross-pollinated the other, and even my faux
paux's in meetings (e.g., referring to a online Stock Management function
when in a meeting with a client offering an online sign-up DSL/T1 service .
. . got me a few strange stares but also a few head nods of agreement . . .
LOL). Until the multi-project effort quieted, I was left with saying my
mantra a lot, but also trusting that when you cross an elephant with a
violin, seemingly very disparate parts, you get wonderfully creative
results, even though at first glance, the two seem best kept separated for
sanity. - Andrew

Andrew Schechterman PhD

www.Linkedin.com/in/andrewschechterman

Denver, Colorado, US

1 303 886 2440

On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 5:59 AM, Todd Zaki Warfel <lists at zakiwarfel.com>wrote:

>
> On Nov 3, 2009, at 7:45 AM, Karin Bryant Nova wrote:
>
> If anyone has any more suggestions for how to juggle so many different
>> projects, I would very much like to hear them.
>>
>
> Don't. As a small design firm we only work on 2-3 projects at one time.
> Working on 5 projects at once won't allow you to give it your full attention
> and do your best work. Both you and the client will suffer and your work
> will show it.

4 Nov 2009 - 2:23pm
kbnova
2009

Thanks for the responses. You've confirmed my gut feeling that
trying to juggle 5 major projects can't really work, and for the
long-term I'm starting to look for another position where my
managers understand that.

In the short term, I am doing some of the physical segmentation
Andrew talked about - I work onsite for 2 of my current clients and
I've set up separate binders for each project. I really like the
idea of using separate walls to hang sketches for the different
projects. But unfortunately, as I said, I'm working onsite half the
time and at our own office we have an open floor plan so there aren't
really any walls where I can hang stuff.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=47087

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