Collaborating with colleagues, or clients, on a project can often lead to big issues when obstacles arise. This can lead to deadlines being missed, budgets being overspent, and all kinds of headaches for those trying to get it done. Here are the most common obstacles to project collaboration, and how you can overcome them.
No one talks
One of the biggest problems that can arise in project work is when different departments or individuals work on their own set tasks and fail to communicate with other members of the overall team. Ideas are not shared, creative solutions are not developed, and no one is informed of the bigger picture. This can lead to misunderstandings and can also cause delays if one department should end up dragging behind while another races ahead unnecessarily. Make sure that your whole project team gets together at least on a semi-regular basis to discuss things with meetings, scheduled break times, and even just putting everyone in the same office for a while. This can make communication so much easier.
When responsibilities are not made clear at every phase of a project, it can lead to a lot of complications. You might end up with two people doing the same task, which is a waste of resources and money, not to mention time. On the other hand, you might end up with no one doing it at all. This will lead to you running behind on your deadline, which in turn will push the project budget up. Make sure that you combat this from the beginning by clearly laying out roles and responsibilities for everyone working on the project, from the ground up. Reinforce these messages at the start of each new phase or whenever something changes.
An unprepared team
If your team is not prepared or briefed properly, there may be a lot of confusion and delay. Some may have the wrong end of the stick, while others may not understand the goals of the project. They will be unmotivated and may waste time trying to get to grips with the project before starting work in a meaningful way. In order to avoid this, give a clear briefing which each team member must attend, and take questions so that every query can be answered. Explain the objectives and scope of the project, outline the key deliverables, and go over the schedule too. You may even want to organise some training before the project starts so that everyone is in the right place to begin.
No matter how carefully we plan things, sometimes there just isn’t enough to get a project done. It might be that there wasn’t enough room in the budget, or that there is not enough time to realistically get everything done. It might be that the tools for the project were not purchased ahead of the start date, or that there are not enough team members to cover all bases. In these cases, you need a strong and experienced project manager who can overcome the obstacles with careful micro-management and planning. This could be a difficult task, and may even be impossible. That’s why you need a project manager who also knows when it’s time to ask for more resources – and who can explain why they are needed sufficiently to justify them to upper management. This will help to keep the project on track.
Whatever obstacles happen to fall in the way of your project, it is always possible to overcome them and keep the collaboration running smoothly with good management in place.