17 Jul Common Problems When You Manage Projects and How To Solve Them Effectively
Project managers have a duty to balance the elements of a complex project – time, money, scope and people – which exposes them to an array of unexpected obstacles to overcome. To help put things in perspective, here is an overview of ten project management challenges and solutions for conquering them.
1. UNDEFINED GOALS
One of the most common challenges in project management is identifying project goals. When goals are not clearly identified, the whole project and team can suffer. When upper management cannot agree to or support undefined goals, the project in question typically has little chance of succeeding. The project manager must ask the right questions to establish and communicate clear goals from the outset.
2. SCOPE CREEP
Scope creep occurs when project management allows the project’s scope to extend beyond its original objectives. Clients and supervisors may ask for changes to a project, and it takes a strong project manager to evaluate each request and decide how and if to implement it, while communicating the effects on budget and deadlines to all stakeholders.
3. INADEQUATE SKILLS FOR THE PROJECT
A project sometimes requires skills that the project’s contributors do not possess. Project management training can help a project leader determine the needed competencies, assess the available workers and recommend training, outsourcing or hiring additional staff.
4. LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY
A project manager’s leadership qualities can shine when each member of the team takes responsibility for his or her role in achieving project success. Conversely, a lack of accountability can bring a project to a complete halt. Finger-pointing and avoiding blame are unproductive, but all-too-common project management challenges. Learning to direct teams toward a common goal is an important aspect of project management training.
5. IMPROPER RISK MANAGEMENT
Learning to deal with and plan for risk is another important piece of project management training. Risk management is typically a desirable project manager trait because projects rarely go exactly to plan. To execute their job, project managers must adhere their input, develop trust and know which parts of a project are most likely to veer off course.
6. AMBIGUOUS CONTINGENCY PLANS
It’s important for project managers to know what direction to take in pre-defined “what-if” scenarios. If contingencies are not identified, the entire project can become mired in an unexpected set of problems. Asking others to identify potential problem areas can lead to a smooth and successful project.
7. POOR COMMUNICATION
Poor communication can lead to significant project management problems. Project managers must provide direction at every step of the project, so each team member knows what’s expected. Effective communication to everyone involved in the project is crucial to its successful completion. Through project management training, team members can improve their communication skills.
8. IMPOSSIBLE DEADLINES
A successful project manager knows that repeatedly asking a team for the impossible can quickly result in declining morale and productivity. The odds of successfully completing a project under unreasonable deadlines are generally not feasible expectations.
9. RESOURCE DEPRIVATION
In order for a project to be run efficiently and effectively, management must provide sufficient resources. Project management training shows how to define needs and obtain approval upfront, and helps project managers assign and prioritize resources throughout the duration of a project.
10. LACK OF STAKEHOLDER ENGEGEMENT
A disinterested team member, client, CEO or vendor can destroy a project. A skilled project manager communicates openly and encourages feedback at every step to create greater engagement among participants.
(Villanova University 2023)
How To Solve Project Management Challenges
Where you’re heading. Identifying the key success and failure factors in a project. Picking the outcome you want. The goal must be bounded and not vague. Change Control. The First Law of Project Management. Establishing the goal of the project. Understanding stakeholder’s requirements
1. Establish the Goal
Where you’re heading. Identifying the key success and failure factors in a project. Picking the
outcome you want. The goal must be bounded and not vague. Change Control. The First Law of
Project Management. Establishing the goal of the project. Understanding stakeholder’s requirements and how stakeholders hope to ‘win’ in the project. Identifying the win-conditions of the stakeholders.
How to identify all project’s stakeholders and influencers. How to establish the goal of the project – the goal which will satisfy the win conditions of all stakeholders.
2. Make A List Of All Jobs
The planning process begins here. Estimating. Good estimation is the crucial skill in project
planning. Without proper estimation it is impossible to (a) make realistic commitments to customers,
management, investors, shareholders or other project stakeholders; or (b) know the true cost of a
project. Poor estimation is the reason why many projects run late, over-budget or leave stakeholders with a bitter taste in their mouths – or worse.
3. There Must Be One Leader
Project management is a real job with real duties. Estimating how much project management effort
the project is going to require. The Project Manager’s priorities. What exactly the project manager is required to do, what s(he) is responsible for i.e. the roles and responsibilities of the project manager. Attendees calculate the project management effort for their own project.
4. Assign People To Jobs
Finding resources to do the work. Allocating work. Resource levelling. Optimising the skills in the
team. How to identify the resources required for the project. How to ensure that those resources will be available and what to do if they are not. Time ability and time management. How to play to the strength of the project team. Attendees resource their own projects.
5. Contingency and Risk Management
What if doesn’t work out like we thought? Contingency planning and risk analysis. How to put a
margin for error into the project plan using contingency and risk analysis / risk management.
6. Use An Appropriate Leadership Style
Leadership styles. How to lead / work with / influence other people to get the best out of them.
What to delegate, when and to whom.
7. Know What’s Going On
Using your plan as instrumentation to drive the project. Monitoring and control. Positive and
negative signs. No surprises. How to correctly assess the status of the project. The project
manager’s daily routine.
8. Tell People What’s Going On
Status reporting. How to do truthful, accurate and useful status reporting
Project meetings. Telling it like it is. Communicating bad news. The project manager’s weekly
(PM360 Consulting 2023)
PROJECT MANAGEMENT TRAINING DELIVERS RESULTS
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At PM360 Consulting, Our philosophy is simple: We care deeply about application and results. Coaching, Training and Facilitation are the first steps to set you up for project success. We use your projects to demonstrate knowledge, tools and techniques that are correlated with project success to ensure you understand and can apply them and evaluate the results. Our goal is that you deliver improved project success rates. We deliver a variety of bespoke consulting training services tailored to your project business needs.
PM360 Consulting project management solutions succeed because we follow a proven process – our proprietary Ten Steps® methodology, which is central to all of the services we provide.
Article ” 10 Project Management Challenges and How to Conquer Them” written by content team at Villanova University February 22, 2023. https://www.villanovau.com/resources/project-management/project-management-challenges/
Article ” How To Solve Project Management Challenges” written by Padraig Friel MBA MScPM IPMA C® CMC®, PM360 Consulting 17th July 2023.