Project Management Challenges And Solutions
There are many qualities a good project manager must have, including the ability to plan projects in detail and assemble the right team for each job. However, many will argue that the most important trait is the ability to anticipate challenges and proactively and quickly find solutions to problems as they arise.
Inlea has made a list in which highlights some of the top project management challenges, along with suggested solution ideas to help overcome those challenges:
Unrealistic deadlines – The challenge of many managers becomes to find alternate approaches to the tasks and schedules in order to complete a project “on time”, or to get approval for slipping dates out. An “absolute” time-based deadline such as a government election, externally scheduled event, or public holiday forces a on-time completion. But, most project timelines do eventually slip due to faulty initial deadlines.
Solution: Manage the stress of the project deadline and the project issues with creative planning, alternatives analysis, and communication of reality to the project participants. Also determine what deadlines are tied to higher-level objectives, or have critical links into schedules of other projects in the organization’s portfolio.
Resource competition – Projects usually compete for resources (people, money, time) against other projects and initiatives, putting the project manager in the position of being in competition.
Solution: Portfolio Management – ask upper level management to define and set project priority across all projects. Also realize that some projects seemingly are more important only due to the importance and political clout of the project manager, and these may not be aligned with the organization’s goals and objectives.
Insufficient team skills – The team members for many projects are assigned based on their availability, and some people assigned may be too proud or simply not knowledgeable enough to tell the manager that they are not trained for all of their assigned work.
Solution: Starting with the project manager role, document the core set of skills needed to accomplish the expected workload, and honestly bounce each person’s skills against the list or matrix. Using this assessment of the team, guide the team towards competency with training, cross-training, additional resources, external advisors, and other methods to close the skills gap.
Lack of accountability – The project participants and related players are not held accountable for their results – or lack of achieving all of them.
Solution: Determine and use accountability as part of the project risk profile. These accountability risks will be then identified and managed in a more visible manner.