Project management involves handling delays, inaccurate resources, cost overruns, and, of course, difficult clients. You are bound to encounter a wide range of problems in any project. The most cited reasons for this are the hidden risks, which come out at different stages of the project to get it off the track. You can even say that they pose the greatest challenge to project managers in their work.
It begs the question: What’s the key to cope with project-related problems? Well, establish a constant communication line and bring indispensable resources at your disposal. Through this, you can avoid obstacles during your project management journey and meet intended deadlines without breaking a sweat.
As a project manager, you must have confronted some annoying challenges, which are deemed the biggest project management problems in the IT industry these days. But, don’t worry. We’re here to help you glide past challenges swiftly and confidently.
This blog post will cover 15 common project management problems and provide their solutions.
Let’s get started!
15 Biggest Project Management Problems (And Their Solutions!)
Efficient project management is essential for handling unexpected obstacles that almost all projects face. Below, you will learn how to tackle the most critical project management challenges as the project unfolds.
1. Poorly Defined Project Goals
Starting a project without clear goals is like going on a road trip without finalizing a destination. You’ll have no idea where you’re going and how to get there. And as a result, you’ll end up wasting time, gas, and effort.
Just like this, starting a project with poorly defined goals will waste a lot of time, money, resources, and effort.
In fact, if the project goals are not properly defined, then the project is doomed to fail.
- Define project objectives, goals, and milestones, before starting the project. This is the only way to avoid project failure.
- Set your project goals that incline towards drafting a proposal. Also, define objectives that will help to meet your pre-defined project goals.
In other words, when you know the goals of your project, understanding the what, why, and how will be easier and accurate.
Read More: How to set your project goals?
2. Unrealistic Deadlines
Unrealistic deadlines are common and one of the biggest project management problems.
On one hand, clients want their projects to be delivered as quickly as possible, and in that hurry, they give an unrealistic or unachievable deadline.
On the other hand, clients also want their projects to be developed as efficiently as possible and without any bugs.
Now, a successful project manager knows that asking their team members to meet an unrealistic deadline will significantly affect their productivity and morale.
And as a result, it generally leads to project timeline slip.
- First of all, discuss concerns with the client and figure out unknown factors that drive a project’s deadline.
- Once you know all the factors, then you need to create an impeccable plan, perform alternative analysis, and ensure proper communication between stakeholders and the development team.
Read More: Experts Round-Up: How Do You Ensure You Meet Your Project Deadlines
3. Miscommunication or Lack of Proper Communication
As a project manager, you need to emphasize effective communication, whether you’re seeking information, giving instructions, or asking questions.
You see, communication skill is one of the most useful assets anybody can have.
In fact, the lack of proper communication or miscommunication is one of the most underrated project management problems that could really affect the successful delivery of a project.
According to a survey, more than 57 percent of projects fail due to poor communication.
- Establish proper communication flows for all project members and pre-define certain ways to inform what information must be shared with each project member.
- Use specific project management software that helps to make sure all members are in the loop.
4. Finding The Right Project Management Software
As you might already know that there are dozens of project management software available in the market today, and this usually makes choosing the right software very difficult.
For instance, the right work management software first needs to be affordable. Then you also have to ensure that your development team, as well as all the other project members, are qualified and capable of utilizing the software.
But how do you identify the right project management software?
The key to finding the right project management software for your project is making sure it has all the important features in it that will help you complete the project with ease. Such popular features are:
- Task priorities
- Gantt charts
- File sharing
- Calendar view
- Task dependencies
5. Scope Changes
Scope changes, also known as scope creep, is a problem that sneaks up all of a sudden and affects your project timeline.
In simple words, scope creep is about a client making changes in the project scope during the development process, which ultimately requires the development team to make a lot of changes that demand more effort, time, and money.
The worst part?
Most clients want their mid-way scope changes to be done for the same price discussed at the beginning.
And as a result, scope changes put the project managers in a difficult spot, which ultimately leads to project failure.
- The first thing you need to do is to determine the project goals beforehand. Based on the set goals, make a crystal-clear schedule where you outline every step of the project.
- Secondly, make sure that you convey every information or expectation accurately to team members and clients. Every stakeholder of the project must be on the same page by establishing a proper communication protocol.
6. Inadequate Risk Management
Identifying and planning for an uncertain situation is an essential part of a project manager’s role. Risks may occur due to the unpredictability of the external environment. Risks may also arise due to some underlying flaws in the project plan.
So, a risk may arise no matter what. What we do have control over is how we mitigate the risk.
It would be best to consider a few risk reduction factors at the time of cost-benefit analysis to accommodate actions, people, and resources at the time of a risk occurrence.
- It is impossible to predict every potential risk and its impact. You can take strategic steps to minimize the risks. For this, first, identify and then analyze risks for each project.
- Estimate the risk and develop alternate plans that will lead to project success.
7. Challenges of Teamwork
Teamwork is the process of communicating and collaborating effectively to achieve a shared business goal.
97% of employees and executives believe a lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project.
Well, a lack of alignment within a team stems from low team spirit. It is the prime reason why projects lag behind and ultimately fail in accomplishing the desired objectives. Now, how does low team spirit crop up within a team? A few reasons for this are lack of trust, lack of transparency, poor change management, and inadequate team interaction.
- Before picking a team, identify the core strengths of the team members and the skills required for project execution. Determine the needed competencies and conduct training sessions to enhance their skills.
- Foster a team spirit amongst the team members. Start by introducing team-building activities to help team members connect. After all, “That’s how teamwork makes the dream work.”
8. Stakeholder Approval
A stakeholder is anyone who has an interest in the project output. A disinterested or an overly involved stakeholder can be a threat to a project’s success.
As such, it becomes imperative to engage the stakeholder in the project activities effectively.
Familiarize the stakeholders with project approach, phases, and roadblocks. Keep them abreast of any deviation from the set plan—work towards building, maintaining, and strengthening the relationship with your stakeholders to achieve project success.
- Identify stakeholders who will be affected by the outcome of the project. A stakeholder can be the project manager, top management, client, and team members.
- Establish two-way communication. Ensure that their issues and concerns regarding project execution and project deliverables are analyzed and addressed.
9. Lack of Accountability
Imagine this: Your team is working on a project. You are 80% through the project. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the project is halted due to some unforeseen issue. Then what? Then, the blame game begins. Team members try to pin the project failure on other team members. Guess what is happening? A positive work environment is going for a toss. It is crucial to make teams feel responsible and take accountability for their assigned duties.
Accountability in the team refers to taking responsibility for your actions, and tasks. Even if one person in the group lacks accountability, it is bound to affect the overall project cycle with delayed deadlines, poor quality of work and ultimately, project failure.
- Clearly define every individual’s roles and responsibilities for the task assigned to them.
- Try to direct teams toward a shared business vision. It helps team members to take responsibility for their role in the project.
10. Budgeting Issues
IT projects with a budget of at least $1 million are 50% more likely to fail to meet business objectives.
Now, why does that happen? Because project managers often don’t check whether they’re running into a budget overrun until it’s too late to redress. And, if multiple projects continuously go over budget, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep the organization afloat.
To prevent the project costs from spiraling upwards, creating a thorough project budget is non-negotiable. The budget holds paramount importance to overall profitability. Realistic budgeting and effective cost control will help ensure that your project is under budget.
- Make realistic assumptions at the time of project planning and keep your expenses in check.
- Provide timely information for daily project cost overruns and keep stakeholders in the loop always.
11. Inadequate Resources
A resource is anything that can help you with managing projects such as workforce, equipment, and funds. Shared resource management challenges may even result in a project backlog. It is essential to gain clarity into having adequate resources to avoid resource deficiency.
Get an overview of resource demand and supply. It would help if you did the resource capacity planning after adequately analyzing the requirements and comparing previous resource allocation data.
Find the best resources that will be right and will be available for executing the project within the set timeline.
- Adopt a proper planning procedure and ascertain all resources that will be required to run the project effectively. Successful resource forecasting is essential to avoid resource shortages midway through the project.
- Define each team member’s capacity and determine capacity targets. Assign and prioritize resources throughout a project based on real-time analysis.
12. Unrealized Business Value
A project’s success is the desired business outcome. Increased profitability, reduced costs, process efficiency, are some of the desired business outcomes. The objective of every business is to realize set business value for its long-term survival and growth.
Measure the opportunity and weigh in all possibilities. Implement a plan that leads to enduring business value. Every decision towards the outcome should be analyzed and monitored throughout the project process.
- Establish a clear business objective aligned with the business goals. Perform a cost-benefit analysis and get the required stakeholder support.
- Develop each team member’s ability to enhance the possibility of a project’s success rate.
13. Bad-Decision Making
Bad decision-making is a result of a lack of leadership. It is the leading cause of lousy project choices and decisions. Lack of decision-making fails to implement the right strategy at the right time to deliver a project effectively.
Critical decision making skill is valuable to sustain a business. It ensures the accuracy of plans and also boosts team confidence. Be flexible and adopt a comprehensive analysis technique for the best possibility of making a good business decision. Follow well-analyzed decisions by organizing relevant data and defining clear data-driven business objectives.
- Identify the project goal, gather information, and assess alternative resolutions.
- Choose the best alternative, and finally, evaluate your decision.
14. Workflow Management
As a project manager, you have to plan, optimize and automate workflows. You need to monitor the status of multiple projects constantly. Overlapping projects bring in greater execution difficulties. The inability to spot gaps timely in the project’s life cycle might surpass the stage of managing and controlling them.
Thus, it becomes essential to create and deploy a workflow that synchronizes with the pace of your team. A workflow should be such that it is compatible with all team members’ ability to perform efficiently. Aim to carefully plan the workflow to ensure the successful delivery of multiple projects simultaneously.
- Track the status of project costs and identify improvement areas by evaluating the team’s workload. You can even visualize the set workflow through a Gantt chart or a Kanban board.
- Be up-to-date with project workflow with the help of an all-in-one project management software. It allows you to make data-driven project management decisions.
15. Competing Priorities
You may often ignore a particular project due to another project. Overlapping projects are responsible for significant inefficiencies and wasted resources. They may even bring the other project to a complete halt and hinder potential benefits. To handle multiple tasks, you need to learn to prioritize each project’s life cycle.
Suppose there is Project A and Project B. Both are ongoing projects, and you have to allocate time and resources for both projects. How are you going to efficiently manage to deliver both projects with limited resources and limited timeframe?
You may have encountered this situation multiple times and found yourself at loggerheads in the middle of both projects. Don’t worry. We’re here with a solution. Read on!
- Get complete visibility into the project tasks of all your projects. Estimate the time, cost, and scope of each project to prioritize each task and project. Assess the potential value of each project to decide which project and which task gets priority.
- Be prepared to integrate change control if uncertain circumstances crop up.
Apart from these, the project management software should also have features for project delivery, such as timesheets, workflows, custom reports, etc.
Overall, you first need to identify the features you will need to deliver the project successfully and then analyze different project management software available in the market until you find the one that fits your requirements.
Say Goodbye to Common Project Management Problems Forever
Project management requires a high level of problem-solving skills and patience. And therefore, learning project management skills often takes a lot of practice, effort, and time.
To avoid project management problems, you have to be prepared with proper planning, employ a talented development team, adopt robust project management software, and make decisions that are backed by data and not guesswork.
Using the right project management software will help you make sure that everyone is on the same page and all your ongoing projects are on the right track.
Why do project managers fail?
Project managers often fail to complete projects successfully when they lack an effective approach to identify, analyze and achieve the desired project objectives.
Why do large projects fail?
Big projects mostly fail due to poor cost and poor risk assessment. Inaccurate estimation of the greatest risks like budget overruns, scope creep, and inconsistent monitoring of projects fail to deliver what was expected.
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