Whether you’re a veteran in the field or a newcomer on the scene, if you work in project management you’re well aware of how stressful, high pressure and difficult the role can be. No matter if it’s dealing with the constraints of the project (such as budget time and resources) or managing problems within the team, the responsibilities just keep piling up.
One of the best ways to deal with the challenges of project management is to be prepared for the road ahead and come up with an action plan for the obstacles you’re sure to face. By doing this, you can make project management the fun, rewarding and fulfilling experience that it’s meant to be. With that in mind, here are 6 of the most common challenges in project management and how you can overcome them.
1. Poor software management systems
As a project manager, you’ll most likely be relying on a stable, user-friendly project management system to help you track progress, centralise data and keep your stakeholders informed from anywhere in the world. If you and your team are still using outdated software, chances are you’ll be making life harder for yourselves, and put your work at a higher risk of being compromised or lost.
By investing in SAP project management software, you’ll be able to enhance the experience of working on each and every one of your projects. With added features that include cost forecasting, risk analysis and project date scheduling, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of time spent on fixing your mistakes and instead be able to focus on getting the job done on time, within budget and beyond expectations.
2. Lack of communication
Proper communication is an integral part of a project being successful. Communication methods should be simple, easy, to the point and transparent, ensuring that no one’s time is wasted and that stakeholders are involved every step of the way. Miscommunication can also have an adverse effect on teamwork, as it can lead to issues arising between your team members and their collaborative efforts going sideways.
Having an adequate project management system can also help to improve communication amongst your team, through features that allow quick and simple contact, as well as using notification and email tools. Having quick, scheduled meetings once or twice a week are also a great way to touch base and make sure that everyone’s on the same page.
3. No clear goals
In order to complete their job to the best of their ability, your team needs clear, concise goals right from the very beginning of the project. Failing to do so can result in poor resource and stakeholder management, and make it difficult for your team to work in unison and use their strengths effectively.
Your goals should be clearly defined and stated, and every action that you take should be clearly shown to be working towards reaching your goals. The acronyms “SMART” (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) and “CLEAR” (collaborative, limited, emotional, appreciable and refinable) are great ways to help you set your goals and help push your team over the finish line.
4. Budget issues
Many project managers will say that budgetary concerns pose one of the biggest obstacles to the successful completion of their projects. Effective cost management can help managers to avoid various complications and delays, although this doesn’t always seem like a realistic goal.
Having realistic goals, a proper budgeting procedure in place and using a project scheduling tool will help to avoid going over budget and funds being wasted. A budget tracker that provides real-time data on all things budget-related will help you to stay on top of things and predict any future issues.
5. Scope creep
Scope creep refers to the phenomenon when the requirements of a project change from what was initially agreed upon when the project was started. This can have a huge effect on every aspect of the project, from the budget to the team to the deadlines. However, it is not an uncommon occurrence and you can prepare for it ahead of time if you’re proactive enough.
To do this, you and your team should focus on certain goals while constantly reviewing the priorities and future plans of the project and their appropriateness. By constantly thinking ahead of time, you should be able to predict when changes will need to be made and avoid any last-minute dramas.
6. Unrealistic deadlines
Having unrealistic deadlines can greatly impact the quality of work put forward by your team and jeopardise the entire project. As the project manager, it’s your responsibility to plan the timeline based on a fair assessment of your team’s capabilities that takes into account the specificities of the project.
While it can be tempting to overpromise in an effort to impress stakeholders, if you end up failing to deliver the blame is left on your shoulders. To come up with an appropriate timeline, you need to break the project down into smaller tasks and assign each one the right amount of time. The main thing to remember is not to let your ego get in the way and don’t overwork your team to make yourself look better.