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Project Management challenges & how to overcome them

Project Management Challenges


Firstly, project management is a job with various elements that must be combined and put to use, in order to follow the course of the project. In the process, a project manager may face impediments that could lead to the failure of the project.

On the Aproove blog today, we look at 12 common project management problems and some tips (with some help from project management software!) on how to overcome them.

Scope Creep 

Challenge: Scope creep, also called requirements creep or expansion, is the tendency for the initial project scope (defined objectives, deliverables, requirements) to start growing or changing in some way, without proper documentation and approval for the change. This is often the result of changing stakeholder expectations, lack of complete initial planning, and/or weak change control processes.

Solution: To prevent scope creep, set a clear and well-defined scope on the project at the onset, and formalize the change request process to approve and evaluate any changes to the scope. Demarcating and making the project scope clear to all project stakeholders is a vital part of controlling scope creep. The use of project management software is crucial in the resolution of scope creep, as it can create a centralized location for documenting the project scope and communicating about the project. It makes it possible for the project manager to define and document the scope of a project, share it with all project stakeholders, and formalize change request processes. Proposed changes can be entered into the system for evaluation, timeline and budgetary impacts of the changes can be assessed, and approved changes can be systematically put into place, thereby creating transparency – something that is very important in controlling scope creep and in reducing the occurrence of uncontrolled scope creep and its negative impacts on project success.

Inadequate Planning 

Challenge: Poor planning on a project can happen for the following reasons: The deadline is very short, the requirements of the project are not well understood, there is pressure to start as soon as possible, or the person doing the planning is underestimating the complexity of the task. Due to any of the above reasons, a project manager might not think carefully about what needs to be done, or might not allocate enough time or resources.

Solution: Spend time on developing detailed project plans. Create a detailed project plan that includes objectives, tasks, timelines, resources, and risk. Review and update the plan throughout the project. Project management solutions can be helpful because they provide a framework for planning and execution to encourage project managers to think about and document project objectives, break down tasks into smaller parts, allocate resources, develop timelines, etc. Further, project management solutions provide a system of collaboration for team members to identify platform-based feasible gaps and issues with plans. This way, team members who have different kinds of expertise also contribute to planning. With access to the system’s data, better decisions can be made and the risk of inadequate planning and problems with executing projects can be lowered.

Poor Communication 

Challenge: Poor communication on a project could be due to many root causes that result in some, or all of the following: different expectations from stakeholders; lack of transparency; inadequate communication tools; siloed work; missing key information in email; and limited information being shared with the right stakeholders.

Solution: Have a good communication strategy from the beginning. Defining roles and responsibilities, schedule regular meetings, use collaboration software, such as a project management software, and open communication in the team. It will help a lot to onboard the team. Project management software should enable you to see a real-time project status, progress, tasks and timeline in one place. This helps the team in coordination and synchronization of tasks. Project team members can stay connected via messaging, share important files and open a discussion for every task, plus tag relevant team members using project management software. This helps in increasing transparency and makes it easier for everyone in the team to stay on the same page about the project. Automatic notification and reminder functions are useful to alert team-members about status updates and important tasks. Also, dashboards and reports help the users to have a high-level view of project status.

Resource Constraints 

Challenge: If a project does not have the right number of people, budget, equipment or whatever else it might need, then the project will lose momentum, suffer from poor quality, and frustrate the existing people that work too hard.

Solution: Project managers face some of the most pressing challenges in terms of resource allocations and utilization. Project Management tools help project managers by providing them with the visibility they require. It allows the managers to see where resources are needed or where they are over-allocated. Project managers can see how resources are being utilized, and make changes to resource allocations and utilization if needed. Project management tools usually also provide resource scheduling and workload management, where user can view availability and over commitments of resources, it also provides a clear picture into who is under-allocated and over-allocated, and help managers resolve these issues. Providing clear visibility into who is over committed and who is at risk to provide clear and predictable availability to the other users will be critical in improving schedule predictability. It greatly aids in the decision making process for the project manager, helping them keep the project on the critical path, avoid backups and delays, and ultimately increase the chances of the project’s success.

Risk Management 

Challenge: Project risk management is an important part of project management. It helps to reduce the potential obstacles, which may affect project performance. Risk management plays the critical role in dealing with project issues, which may arise unexpectedly and cause project failure The challenges in risk management often include:  

  • Identifying all potential risks.
  • Assessing their impact and likelihood accurately.
  • Having a structured plan for risk mitigation and contingency.  

Solution: Providing platform to systematically catalogue and assess risks can be a great way to enhance risk management in a company. Project management software provides project managers an opportunity to assign risk owners, define mitigation strategies and set up alerts whenever there are high risk scenarios. With the opportunity to track multiple risks across the lifecycle of the product, project management software promotes the idea that risks must be tracked as the project progresses, providing better insight into how each unforeseen scenario can potentially impact the timeline and objectives of the project. This proactive way of handling risk management means that projects are far more likely to overcome obstacles than those that lack a systemized approach to managing risk.

Stakeholder Engagement 

Challenge: Stakeholders have to be considered in every project, due to the divergence of their interests, expectations and priorities. Communication and constant alignment to such a group can be very time demanding.

Solution: A centralized platform is quite effective for stakeholders engagement management. A project management platform allows you to place all stakeholders in a single space, documentation and categorization, record their preferences and concerns and open communication channels with them. Project Management solutions typically include built-in automated notifications and reporting features, ensuring all stakeholders are up to date with real time information regarding project progress and status. This offers transparency and proactively manages the process of communicating internally with project stakeholders, proving a step towards building trust from all parties and promoting smooth engagement. This also reduces the need for clarification and helps to meet and understand stakeholder requirements, expectations and concerns, ultimately leading to mitigating conflicts, building on trust, and keeping their support for the project.

Team Collaboration 

Challenge: According to the task, team collaboration is a key to project success. However, it’s not without challenges, despite the fact that most team activities are collaborative. Geographic dispersion, time zones, working styles and preferences of team members can be the major sources of communication, interpretation and coordination issues.

Solution: Project management software can remove many of the above obstacles to collaboration and transparency by giving your team a central digital workspace to share, communicate and make progress. Your software can gather information about the project, files and conversations accessible to your team and any other project member you add online. It can track who’s assigned to what and their progress and enable you to share files to complete tasks. Many pieces of project management software also include discussion forums and messaging (usually with an @mentions feature) to speed up communication and collaboration between team members. Well-organized, collaborative features on a project management system help your team to work together better, more efficiently and more effectively to get the job done.

Technology Issues 

Challenge: Technological problems can cause enormous hurdles to project development, which can lead to extending schedules, high costs, and loss of overall productivity. Some of these problems can be a hardware failure, software glitch, or bad compatibility issues, such as a mobile phone that needs a specific radio’s band. Others may come in the form of cyberattacks.

Solution: Make sure the project is equipped with a strong and updated IT infrastructure. Purchase relevant quality hardware and software to reduce the risk of technical failure in the project. Ensure your project team members are trained in using the project’s technology tools, and organize training sessions to keep people up to date on the best practices and troubleshooting examples. Most project management software solutions offer technical support and troubleshooting resources to help teams address technology problems and provide guidance on technical issues. Also, these types of software more often include routine updates and maintenance to ensure the stability of the software. Many project management software solutions include contingency planning to increase resilience, where you can define the procedures for handling a technology breakdown. They also include data backups, for example, in case of a loss of data due to a technological failure. Project management solutions empower teams to effectively address and mitigate technology problems, keeping the project on track and improving overall efficiency.

Unrealistic Deadlines 

Challenge: It is challenging to set reasonable deadlines for a project, avoiding the stress resulting from unachievable ones. Stress, burnout and compromised project quality are often the consequences of setting such unsuccessful and unachievable deadlines in the first place. These issues are realized during the execution of the project when the deadline is too tight and quality of project is compromised resulting in the unfortunate realization that the original deadlines were too aggressive. The root causes of the problem are mostly external and can result from this problem: the managers of the project are overconfident in what can be achieved within an unrealistic timeframe on which they are expecting the employees to complete the projects.

Solution: First of all, by using project management software, a project will be better planned as it will offer more realistic schedule. Second, it will be more planned in terms of the amount of resources and tasks involved, as the software should allow its users to publish the full project timeline.

Quality Control 

Challenge: Quality control challenges in project management are usually when it comes to making the product meet the required quality or standards as expected by the client, and keeping the quality consistent over time in a challenging environment. Challenges to Quality Control could be, from lack of quality assurance processes were in place to monitor the required standard, not in line with society standard.

Solution: Project managers need a standardized conducting frame for the quality control of the projects. Project management software scan be a big help here. They can set and record the quality standards, build checklists and workflows for the task and put in clear accountability to make sure that the quality assurance tasks are not lost in the commotion of a project. Moreover, project management software can track the developments and milestones of a project, and that makes keeping check on the quality of the output over the life cycle of the project a lot easier.

Change Management 

Challenge: Projects involve change – and change can be difficult. You might face resistance from your team and other stakeholders, uncertainty – in terms of why the change is happening or what is going to happen next – and resistance to changes in process or systems.

Solution: Project management software can help mitigate change management issues by providing a framework for structured change management processes. It makes it possible for project managers to document and communicate why the changes are being made, establish approval workflows, and communicate with team members and other stakeholders in real time. Additionally, most project management software includes collaboration features such as those we discussed above which can make it easier for team members to be joined in discussions, voice their concerns, and help develop a sense of ownership and buy-in across the workforce. By creating a central location for change management efforts and making it easier to communicate transparently with the team, it should make it easier for the team to adopt changes and, subsequently, for these changes to be implemented successfully in the project environment.

Lack of Leadership 

Challenge: Weak leadership while managing projects translates to distorted mission, lack of decision making, or a lack of inspiration towards the project group members. This will cause discouragement, poor morale, and will slow the project down.

Solution: The first point of intervention should involve the appointment of a strong project head who can give clear-cut direction, make intelligent decisions and motivate the team to do the same. She should lead by example and keep the project in a positive light. Good leadership can act as a supplement to Project Management software, for project managers can use the high-quality software to set clear project targets, assign responsibilities, set clear expectations for team members, monitor real-time progress, make informed decisions on the moves to make, and identify and address issues swiftly before they reach boiling point.

Every project has its share of project management challenges. It is about how you deal with them. For instance, a project manager can address scope creep by renegotiating project requirements and involving the right people in the process. They can engage in thorough and iterative planning, employ strategies for improving communication, develop a practical resource management plan, and integrate risk and stakeholder management strategies into their approach. Dealing with all of these challenges with the right tools and strategies in place can boost the chances of project success.

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