6 Project Management Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Project Management Challenges

Written by Sophia Young

Sophia Young recently quit a non-writing job to finally be able to tell stories and paint the world through her words. She loves talking about fashion and weddings and travel, but she can also easily kick ass with a thousand-word article about the latest marketing and business trends, finance-related topics, and can probably even whip up a nice heart-warming article about family life. She can totally go from fashion guru to your friendly neighborhood cat lady with mean budgeting skills and home tips real quick.

Being a project manager is probably one of the most challenging business functions. No matter how long you have been a project manager, it can be challenging to juggle multiple tasks while staying on top of your project goals. Inevitably, there will be bumps on the road — problems with communication, scope, budget, and pressure from stakeholders, just to name a few. However, project management can also be a fulfilling endeavor. It’s important to acknowledge that these challenges are common and can be conquered. 

Without further ado, here are six project management and the ways to overcome them.

Bad communication

So many project-related issues stem from the lack of good communication, which results in misinterpretations and misunderstandings. Good communication means that tasks are delegated and allocated appropriately, stakeholders looped in when discussing progress, instructions are clearly provided, and team members work well together. 

The Solution

To tackle this, plan your communication. What does this mean? A communication plan can set your project off to a great start. This enables you and your team to know which channels and platforms to be used for particular issues, tasks, and other needs — as well as how to use them. For example, you can reserve conference calls only for weekly updates and milestones; then use team-specific channels for more particular topics and questions. Make sure that your company’s ERP implementation plan has this covered. 

Unclear goals

Unclear and poorly defined goals will set you off to a rough start. It is also extra challenging when objectives are not aligned with the company’s goals. Usually, this is not entirely the fault of the project manager. Sometimes, companies overlook the importance of setting project goals and ensuring that the project goals complement the business’s goals.

The solution

To set up a project for success, project managers can aim to perfect the development of a business case. In many cases, project managers are expected to present a business case to leaders and stakeholders to enumerate the benefits and value of the project to the business. Think of this part of the process to be your ground zero. If your business case communicates your project’s core values and goals clearly — and stakeholders and team members alike are aligned with the project’s purpose — then you set up the stage nicely for your project.

Unrealistic timeline

There are many reasons why project managers end up setting unrealistic deadlines. It’s probably too much optimism, improper or lack of estimation, or pressures from upper management to finish the project quickly. But, no matter the reason, projects suffer when deadlines are not realistic and achievable, and team members get burnt out.

The solution

Visibility is one way to tackle this. Use project management tools in which team members, executives, and stakeholders can access the progress, milestones, or any setbacks the project may encounter. As the project manager, ensure that you add a “padding” to the deadline that you set to account for unforeseen circumstances and environmental risks.

Accountability issues

Accountability is present when finding fault and blame, but rarely when things are going right. Lack of accountability can derail deadlines and affect every phase of your project. In addition, when tasks and responsibilities are not clearly defined and assigned to team members, you may end up with missed deadlines and interpersonal conflicts.

The solution

Build accountability into your project workflow. This means starting with properly assigned and clearly defined tasks and ensuring that communication channels are always open for updates, questions, and clarifications. In addition, as a project manager, you must familiarize yourself with your team members’ strengths and weaknesses, skillsets, specialties, and personality traits. This will help you navigate the assignment process better.

Inadequate budget and resources

Most project managers are tasked to do more with less. That’s just how today’s business goes, unfortunately. When companies fail to allocate sufficient resources and budget to a project, project managers may assign crucial tasks to members, contractors, or agencies that may not be the perfect fit. 

The solution

Before the project commences, provide the executives with a clear and detailed list of resources, skill sets, and tools that they need to make the project a success. Identify, early on, if there are gaps so that upper management can find a way to fill them or adjust the expectations for the project. 

Insufficient or lack of risk management

The past couple of years has taught us that things can turn upside down in a matter of days. A risk can be management software crashing or a company-wide cybersecurity breach. These unforeseen events can significantly affect your timeline and the success of your project.

The solution

Risk management or a project continuity plan is the way to go. Beforehand, you must have listed possible risks, categorized them, and planned how to respond when they occur. Project management tools can help identify, manage, and mitigate risks involved in a project. Therefore, it is best to invest in them.

Final thoughts

The hurdles mentioned above are just some of the many project management challenges you can face. Keep in mind that your job as a project manager is essential as well as challenging. But the good news is that there are platforms that can help you and your team drive your project to success.

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