Project management is a challenging task that not all employees are capable of achieving. Only those who know how to plan ahead and multitask are in a position to appropriately manage projects. No matter how good a project manager is, there are always things which affect project management negatively.
These are the common problems which every project manager experiences at one point in their professional careers.
1. Not picking the right person to manage the project
The first problem that can occur is related to picking the wrong person for managing a particular project. During the project planning phase, company CEOs are more concerned about timelines, resources and project complexity. Instead, the focus of higher authority figures should be on picking the right person for handling a project.
Not all employees know how to perform each task, and it is no different when it comes to project managers, some of them differently perform different tasks. So, picking the right one can make the project easily accomplishable. However, if the wrong project manager is on top of a project, chances are that it is going to result in failure.
2. Not persuading people to stand behind the project
For a project to be successfully conducted, a certain amount of effort should be put in by all staff members. To ensure that this occurs, it is important to take care of several things.
- Make the roles of each team member clear
- Inform team members via an internal knowledge base about the rewards that follow project completion
- Notify them that their efforts are going to be measured
- Make them understand that the project must be completed
Once everyone takes the project more seriously, and once they are more invested in the entire thing, managing and completing the project should become far more plausible. In other words, it’s the project’s manager duty to gather everyone for a presentation, and go over all of these points.
3. Not having someone important backing a project
Your success rate increases if some higher-ups have invested in the project. First of all, this helps everyone realize just how important that project is. Second, the entire team will feel like they have been entrusted with something important, and will work harder to meet those expectations. In other words, there is more pressure, but the team is more motivated and everything is taken more seriously, which contributes to a higher success rate.
4. Running multiple projects
For the sake of increased productivity, it’s not uncommon for managers to start multiple projects at once. Unfortunately, in terms of completion rates, handling multiple projects can be very counter-productive. Truth be told, you can practice multiple projects, if very similar tasks were completed in the past, and your employees have already mastered that type of work.
In any other case, steer clear from this approach. In reality, by reducing the works in progress (WIP) by 25-50%, you can double your task completion rate by 100%, since managers will be far more responsive and more devoted.
5. Not enough meetings
Lack of communication and assurance in terms of everyone being on the same page is one of the leading causes of project downfall. This is especially true for projects that are partially outsourced to teams overseas. There are so many elements to keep track of, different time zones, making sure everyone has the same guide book, making sure no one is behind, etc.
For that purpose, you need to have meaningful business meetings and go over all the updates, in order to ensure that you are all on the same page, and to discuss potential hinderencess. Pick one day in the week for a meeting, and make sure everyone is able to make it, either in person or via an online call. Go over the project once again, go over all updates, and try to maintain the routine until the project is completed.
6. A shifting scope
Without clearly defined goals, milestones, and deadlines, your project is absolutely doomed. There is no way of tracking progress, there is no way of telling when it will be complete, and with too much flexibility, people won’t take it seriously.
If you are constantly changing the scope of the project, you are likely to run out of funds and time for its completion. So, set clear deadlines, and monitor the entire project closely. Track change requests and estimate how they would impact the project, or how much they will cause it to deviate from its original scope. Once you have a clear assessment of the impact and its effects, ask for the approval to add those alterations.
7. Optimistic deadlines
Sure, it is always satisfying when you leave a good impression, and for this reason, project managers want to impress their clients with a high level of efficiency. However, being glad to hear that your product will come early, won’t help your reputation if the customer is dissatisfied by the product.
It is better to rely on facts and statistics. In other words, find a reliable project management tool to give you an assessment. Here, you’ll be able to use the input from your previous projects, based on how much time it took for similar projects and on the project size, as well as other exciting projects you are working on. Software can give you an accurate estimate. Be realistic rather than optimistic.
Basically, without proper communication and collaboration tools, projects are likely to be either incomplete, or complete, but deeply flawed. As a project manager, you need to mediate between different teams, and make sure everything is in its place. It is your duty to be the voice of reason, and to make a sound judgment concerning deadlines and the plausibility of completion.
If you take your part seriously, it will reflect on your team members, and if you are scattered minded, then do not blame them for not taking the project seriously. It is your project and your responsibility to see it through, and to make sure everyone is willing to collaborate.