Project management is no easy feat. With less than 3% of companies seamlessly completing projects with success, managing projects is no less difficult than running a small city! Like a city, each team member has an important part to play, a deadline to meet, resources to manage, or budgets to allocate before the final project can be launched. Trying to balance so many different aspects at once can be overwhelming, it's no wonder things fall between the cracks when projects are managed improperly.
Why Projects are Unsuccessful
With power comes great responsibility—all managers understand that. Management is more than just having the ability to plan, manage, and meet deadlines. A great project manager also has the ability to foresee the challenges that may delay or derail a project before anything happens. Some of the most popular challenges in project management can be easily avoided if you prepare your team accordingly.
1. Poorly Defined Goals
Starting a project without clear goals is like going on a road trip without a GPS. If the goals, deadlines, and benchmarks are not clearly defined, the project is doomed to fail.
Solution: Goals and other important dates/deadlines should be discussed and solidified before anything else. Expectations should be clear and everyone should be on the same page before moving forward.
2. Unrealistic Expectations
It's crucial to have well-defined goals, but those goals must also be realistic. Expectations of team members should be attainable, not impractical or flighty. When goals are unrealistic, you set your team up for failure and add tension to the project. If team members are not confident in the work they are preforming, the quality of the overall project will suffer.
Solution: Project managers should weight out the skill sets of their team and the sensible scope of their abilities to get projects done within the allocated time frame and to the appropriate expectations.
3. Lack of Accountability
A project manager’s leadership qualities can really shine when their team is taking responsibility for their individual roles and the project is achieving success. However, when individuals are not stepping up, parts of the project fall apart and things start to derail. As the project manager, it is your role to oversee the entirety of the project and hold each moving part accountable for their role in the bigger picture.
Solution: The project manager should be checking in with every member periodically to make sure they are on track with their responsibilities. Tracking time, or having daily “check in’s” can help make sure everyone is moving in sync with one another or make the project manager aware if anyone is starting to fall behind. Having this knowledge allows you to course correct before it becomes a bigger issue.
4. Poor Communication
Projects require collaboration in order to be successful. Collaboration, in turn, is built on effective communication. Without strong communication, your team is doomed to fail. The most common issues around communication are:
- avoidance or lack of communication
- unclear or misaligned expectations
Solution: Be consistent and clear and do not be afraid to ask for feedback! By understanding your individual team members communication styles, you can better ensure clarity and understanding between the entire team.
5. Resource Conflicts
Companies rarely have sufficient resources to staff all projects accordingly. For teams that take on multiple projects at once, conflicts become inevitable between projects. These conflicts can lead to frustrated team members, missed deadlines, and poor quality of the overall project.
Solution: Tracking resources accurately within a resource management software can help allocate resource usage and time. Take the time to review the project and understand what exactly is needed to accomplish certain goals before allocating the appropriate resources. Plan for these potential conflicts so your team is able to course correct seamlessly.
6. Misaligned Objectives
The purpose of a project is to tackle one or more business objectives. Most projects start out strong, but can lose focus of the overall business objectives as time goes on. When the project manager does not clearly state the overall business objectives, the team will not see the value in the project.
Solution: Making sure that project goals align with business objectives in the initial kick-off meeting is key. A project manager should be able to clearly communicate the short-term and long-term goals of the project. When the team has a solid understanding, then tasks can be divvied up. Using a management software that can help forecast the project is a great way to set forth expectations that you can meet accordingly.
7. Insufficient Team Skills
A team is comprised of different people with different personalities, different skill sets, and different communication styles. When working together, sometimes these differences clash with one another, causing misunderstandings, disagreements, and negative impacts on the project.
Solution: Knowing and respecting the different people on your team is important. Personality tests can help reveal more about team members which help with discovering productive ways to work with one another. When all resources work in harmony, projects flow effortlessly, morale increases, and the business as a whole benefits.
8. Ambiguous Risk Management
It's vital for project managers to know which direction to take in the predetermined “what-if” situations. If contingencies are not properly identified, the project can become flooded with unexpected issues.
Solution: Success is where preparation and opportunity meet. Together, your team should identify potential problem areas and define how to rectify those situations, should they occur. Planning for these events helps your team to confidently and swiftly transition, if necessary.
9. Overlapping Roles
When projects and roles overlap, the results can include wasted time, budget, and resources—among many other inefficiencies. Overlapping projects undermine each team member's progress, and ultimately, lead to the project becoming unprofitable.
Solution: This is another avoidable problem that can be solved with the use of a proper resource management software. By keeping your resources and projects organized, you avoid conflicts and confrontation between various projects. It becomes less of a balancing act and more of a coexistence.
Choosing the Right Project Management Software
As you can tell, implementing a proper resource management software can help to eliminate many of these issues, but with so many options, it's important to choose the right one. One software might work well for one of your competitors, but not your team. Every business is different and each project manager has different strengths, weaknesses, and needs that should be met by their resource management software. With Resource Hero, increasing profit margins has never been easier. Our software is a 100% Salesforce native resource management and time tracking app that helps you streamline multiple projects to learn from real-time feedback. Is it time to begin looking at your options?
Project management is much more than what we see at the surface. It’s a skill that takes time, patience, and perseverance. It requires you to constantly analyze setbacks and failures and implement the lessons learned from each. When you focus on each challenge and find solutions before starting the project, that’s when a project can be managed successfully. Remember, as a project manager, you’re the leader. Your team is counting on you to be on the ball and make sure things are running smoothly. Ready to step up to the plate?