Project managers are faced with a multitude of complications and challenges that come with each and every project. Failure to overcome these can easily set a project onto a downward path that ultimately leads to project failure, so identifying and tackling the issues is essential. No two projects are alike and roadblocks vary, but we have identified some common challenges and ideas on how to overcome them.
1. Undefined Goals
Unclear goals are more common in projects than we would like to admit. And if goals aren’t defined, how can the project team possibly expected to meet them? A project without a clear objective is almost bound to fail.
How to proceed: It is important to establish clear goals and objectives from the outset of the project. However if you find partway into the project that your goals are not clearly defined, it is time to go back to the stakeholders and relook at them, establishing exactly where the project is going and ensuring clear communication,
2. Disorganised project assets
This is an extremely common problem in a project – project management involves many pieces of information and much time can be wasted trying to locate files and other assets if not properly organised.
How to proceed: Technology is a great solution to help you get organised. An application that allows you to track data and search through files will help you to stay organised. It will give structure to your stored information that can be utilised by the whole project team, increasing efficiency and improving time usage.
3. Scope Creep
Scope creep can subtly eat away at a project’s resources, often without notice. When a project scope starts to extend beyond the original parameters of the project, a project manager needs to step in and correct the project trajectory.
How to proceed: Changes to a project are a given, however each request needs to be evaluated. If you decide to implement it, the budget and deadline implications should be clearly communicated to all stakeholders. If your project is already experience scope creep, the changes should be reassessed by relooking at the original project goals.
4. Lack of Accountability
A good project team comes together in a time of crisis and each team member takes responsibility for his or her role in the project. However sometimes a team can start to lack accountability – finger-pointing and shifting blame begins to reduce productivity and can bring a project to a halt.
How to proceed: Good communication and team alignment are critical factors for success. If your team is drifting apart, take the time to re-establish a common goal and bring your team together in success. A team alignment workshop could assist in creating this common understanding of the project goal. Re-establishing roles and responsibilities, and praising your team’s victories, and also help to encourage accountability.
5. Poor Stakeholder Communication
Stakeholders are the mortar of your project and stakeholder communication is a key competency in your project. Poor engagement and communication can easily cause a lack of interest, accountability or buy-in and lead to a project crumble.
How to proceed: Communicating with your stakeholders should be a priority; engage openly and encourage feedback, creating engagement and alignment. Best Practical has another great resource to help: Improving Stakeholder Communications in a Project
The first step to overcoming project challenges is to identify them. When problems arise, address them quickly before they start to compromise the integrity of your project. Where possible, pre-empt and remedy problems before they happen:
- Define clear project goals
- Get your assets organised
- Avoid scope creep
- Encourage accountability
- Communicate with your stakeholders