9 Project Management Challenges and How to Overcome Them

• Project

Whether you are someone just starting your career in the field of project management or have a lot of experience, you’ll agree that being a project manager is not simple.

You need to constantly stay on your feet by learning the project management basics and ensure that the project remains within all the agreed-upon constraints like time, scope, budget, etc.

Despite the availability of multiple resources, project management tools, training materials, and flexible methodologies, companies are still wasting millions of dollars every year and are struggling to tackle the project management challenges and issues they face.

A study published in the Harvard Business Review states that one in every six projects costs more than 200 percent of the estimated amount and almost 70 percent of IT projects face project delays. It is the job of project managers to prevent that but in doing so they face a lot of challenges.

We have created a list of the nine most common issues project managers face along with advice on how to deal with them when they arise.

1. Lack of clear goals and success criteria

Clarity is one of the most important requirements for the successful completion of the project and the lack of it creates several project management issues. A study states that about 39% of projects fail due to the lack of project planning and a clearly defined goal.

It is also important for a project manager to come up with a way of quantifying project progress by setting up milestones and quality tests. In addition to helping your team progress, having a clear set of objectives will also help project managers defend their vision in front of the upper management and the customers.

How to deal with it:

The popular approaches to goal setting like SMART and CLEAR can help the project manager in coming up with a set of effective goals from the start of the project which can help them pass the barriers of project management.

2. Lack of communication

Effective communication is extremely important for a successful project. You need to have timely and transparent methods of communication to ensure that all stakeholders are involved in the process. Deloitte states that 32 percent of professionals believe that communication is the biggest issue of project management.

Miscommunication is also dangerous for project teams because it affects their teamwork. It can cause conflicts among team members and can potentially delay the project.

How to deal with it:

Project managers often rely on various collaborative and project management software available in the market in order to ensure that everyone stays updated. These collaborative tools not only make it easier for managers to carry on their duties but also ensure greater transparency in projects and accountability within the team.

3. Budgeting issues

Most managers consider financial issues as one of the biggest hurdles in effective project management. A study in 2017 revealed that 49.5 percent of manufacturing managers report costs as the biggest project management challenge they face. By efficient cost management, a manager can avoid various common complications a project may face and strive for better and quicker results.

How to deal with it:

For this reason, it is absolutely necessary to adopt a proper planning procedure and making realistic assumptions to avoid any cost overruns.

4. Inadequate skills of team members

A chain is as strong as its weakest link and in the case of project teams, performance highly depends on their individual skill levels. As a project manager, you can create the most ideal environment but if the team does not possess the necessary skills to tackle the problem at hand, your project is bound to fail. This is a huge project management problem that can only be solved with proper experience and foresight.

How to deal with it:

Effective project managers pre-determine the needed competencies and assess the available workforce to determine whether the present task needs some additional staff or not.

5. Lack of accountability

A project team performs really well when every member feels responsible and tries to fulfill the role assigned to them.

How to deal with it:

Effective project managers properly assign responsibility to the team and direct the team towards the common goal of successfully completing their project.

6. Scope creep

Scope creep is a natural and expected phenomenon for any project. There are times when it can be beneficial but mostly the cons outweigh the pros. 52% of project teams reported facing scope creep in 2017 and the trend is continuing upwards. Clients who don’t precisely know what they want and have vague requirements are one of the biggest project management challenges for both managers and the project team.

How to deal with it:

By being proactive with client engagement during the planning phase can help you get their exact requirements. It’s also important to not take up ad-hoc change requests as that can result in delays and added costs. You’ll find more ways to deal with scope creep here.

7. Inadequate risk management

Having the foresight to identify potential ‘what if’ scenarios and making up contingency plans is an important aspect of project management. Projects rarely go exactly as planned because there are so many variables that can create unlimited possibilities.

How to deal with it:

It is the job of the project manager to come up with alternate plans that the team may adopt if the project starts to spiral out of control.

8. Unrealistic deadlines

Having an impossible deadline is another project management challenges that can severely affect the quality of the end product. Any effective project manager knows the capability of the project team and negotiates the project timeline accordingly by prioritizing deadlines and project tasks.

How to deal with it:

In agile project management, the velocity which is the measure of work completed in a single sprint is decided collectively by taking input from all the stakeholders.

9. The limited engagement of stakeholders

It is important for project managers to ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page and have a clear vision of the project. An uninvolved client can cause a lot of problems in the final stages of a project so it’s important to consider the customer’s feedback and keep them updated throughout the project.

How to deal with it:

Invite your client and other stakeholders to your project management tool so they can actively participate in shaping the project and give feedback.

The right tools to tackle project management challenges

For project management, people are now relying more and more on cloud-based project management software that not only centralizes all the data but also allows internet access through multiple devices like their computers, mobile phones, tablets, etc.

Completing a project on time and staying within all the constraints is not an easy task. By using a project management tool like Kissflow Project, you can completely change the way your team handles projects and tackle the project management challenges you face.