Balancing all the elements of a difficult project – time, money, scope and people – is the project manager’s responsibility. Excellent project management skills are essential to successfully dealing with the unexpected challenges that come with every project. The following is an overview of the top 10 project management challenges that project managers may encounter in their work.
Objectives, scope and goal
1. Undefined/unclear Goals
When goals are not clearly identified, it is impossible for the team to meet them. When a management team cannot agree on the project goals, the project becomes undeliverable. The project manager is responsible for asking the right questions to establish and communicate clear goals from the beginning. This is critical – unfortunately it is often overlooked in an effort to get the project moving.
2. Scope Changes
Scope changes occur when project management allows the scope to slide and extend beyond its original objectives. In most circumstances, clients request some form of project changes but a good project manager will evaluate each request and its impact to the project, while communicating the effects on budget and deadlines to all stakeholders.
Working with teams
3. Inadequate Skills for the Project
A project may require skills that the existing project team does not possess. Project management training can help a project leader determine the necessary competencies, assess the available resources and recommend training, outsourcing or hiring of additional staff.
4. Lack of Accountability
A project manager’s leadership skill truly stands out when each member of the team assumes responsibility for their role in achieving project success. Conversely, a lack of accountability can bring a project to a complete standstill. Learning to direct teams toward a common goal is an important aspect of project management.
Dealing with risk
5. Improper Risk Management
Learning to deal with and plan for all forms of project risk is an essential piece of project management. Risk management is a desirable project manager trait – because projects do not always go according to plan. Gathering input, developing trust and knowing which parts of a project are most likely to fall off course are all aspects of the project manager’s job.
6. Unclear Contingency Plans
It’s important for project managers to know exactly what direction to take in pre-defined “what-if” scenarios. But if those contingencies are not identified, the entire project can become stalled with unexpected set of problems. Asking others to identify potential problem areas can lead to a much smoother and more successful project.
7. Poor Communication
Project managers provide direction at every step of the project to ensure that each team leader knows what to expect. Effective communication to all project stakeholders is crucial for a successful outcome. Proper communication increases team members’ morale by establishing clear expectations. Good project managers keep communication and feedback flowing between all levels within the project structure.
8. Impractical Deadlines
A strong leader – and successful project manager – knows that repeatedly asking a team for the impossible will result in declining morale and productivity. The odds of successfully completing a project under unreasonable deadlines are virtually zero.
9. Resource Re-allocation
In order for a project to run efficiently and effectively, management must provide sufficient resources – human, time and money – and not re-allocate these resources without considerable consultation with the key project stakeholders – so that the impact is understood by all.
10. Lack of stakeholder engagement
A disinterested team member, client, CEO or vendor can quickly bring a project to its knees. A skilled project manager communicates openly and encourages feedback at every step to create greater engagement among participants.
Complexities in projects, lack of specialist expertise, budgetary constraints, flexibility and agility are a few challenges in the increasingly difficult arena of Project Management. For more information on how Litcom can help you with your project management needs, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.