8 common challenges in project management and their solutions

Published on 12/03/2024

8 common challenges in project management and their solutions

Published on 12/03/2024
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8 common challenges in project management and their solutions

Only 2.5% of companies successfully complete their projects. Managing projects is akin to running a small city. You must handle processes, resources, deadlines, budget management, ensure proper communication, anticipate potential risks, and distinguish them from non-issues.

Taking care of all elements within a project can be stressful, and it’s normal for many details to escape our attention. Project management and leadership are areas that require in-depth knowledge. If you are just starting to manage projects or have encountered one different from what you usually work on, take a look at this introductory article on project management.

Common Challenges in Project Management and Their Solutions

We present 8 common challenges you may encounter in project management and their possible solutions.

Poorly Defined Objectives

The first significant challenge project managers and team members may face is not knowing exactly what to expect from the project. If goals and objectives are not clearly defined, the project is doomed to fail. Lack of awareness about the project’s purpose, execution, and current phase leads to confusion and chaos.

Solution: Dedicate time and attention to task management, conduct an initiation meeting, and use project management software to define clear objectives.

Unrealistic Deadlines

The second reason most projects fail is due to unrealistic expectations from clients and stakeholders. Project deadlines are often disrupted because of initially unrealistic timelines.

Solution: Plan events, manage your schedule, conduct alternative analysis, and keep track of important dates with a project calendar.

Changes in Project Scope

Project managers often fear that a project’s scope will evolve beyond the expected dimensions, known as scope creep. Projects may start in one way but take a different form as they progress.

Solution: To prevent scope changes, determine project goals (cost, schedule, quality) through a systematic process with proper planning and understanding of customer needs. Make realistic assumptions about resource availability and deadlines.

Insufficient Team Skills

A team is only as good as its members. However, team members are sometimes assigned based on availability rather than experience. If team members lack the skills or capacity to face challenges and perform assigned tasks, it can jeopardize the project’s development.

Solution: Document the basic set of skills needed to handle the workload and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of team members. If necessary, find ways to train them to enhance their knowledge and address skill gaps.

Inadequate Communication

Poor communication stands as one of the major obstacles in project management. Communication skills are the project manager’s greatest asset. Whether giving instructions, asking questions, or seeking information, there is always a challenge to provide clear and open communication. Project managers emphasize effective communication because, most of the time, successful communication translates to successful projects; 57% of project failures are attributed to communication breakdowns.

Solution:Determine appropriate communication channels with project members and develop a method to ascertain what information needs to be conveyed to project members, how, and when.

Geographically Dispersed Teams

Projects are inherently collaborative, and teams may be spread across different parts of the world, often incorporating multiple organizations. Team members include not only company employees but also clients, suppliers, and stakeholders. Virtual teams come with their own set of challenges, such as different time zones and language barriers.

Solution: In a fast-paced global economy, information must travel as quickly as possible. To address this challenge, one of the best options is to use project management software.

Risk Management

Projects often deviate from the initial plan, and the reason for this deviation is sometimes known from the outset. This is why risk management is one of the main issues project managers must deal with. Management experts can gauge a project manager’s expertise by their ability to monitor risks that may arise at any point in a project. These risks could be financial market uncertainties, hidden flaws in the project plan, or unknown factors that could impact project success.

Solution: While it’s impossible to predict all potential risks, strategic planning and information gathering in advance allow project managers to anticipate likely points of failure. With that information, you can develop control measures to better deal with risks.

Team Issues

In a team composed of various members, each with a different personality, managing and attending to their needs can be challenging. With so many people working on a project, disagreements and differences within a team can negatively impact both the project and the work environment.

Solution: The best way to eliminate any issues or negativity within a team is to create a positive work environment. As a project manager, you can also incorporate team-building activities to foster a sense of unity and teamwork among team members.

Project management is a skill that requires time, patience, and perseverance. It requires constant analysis of setbacks and failures, implementing lessons learned from them. When you focus on each challenge and find ways to address them even before starting the project, that’s when you can successfully carry out project management.

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