Overseeing a project is a big responsibility. Projects have many moving parts and varying levels of risks. A project manager not only has to focus on a project as a whole, but they also have to deal with the day-to-day runnings of the project that affect schedule, budget, scope, resources and more. While there are many challenges we could talk about, below lists our top four that we’ll discuss.
Scope creep happens when a project goes beyond its initial planned objectives and takes on a different path. Many times, requests for edits and changes to a project can lead to scope creep and if this persists, it can lead to a failed project. Like the name suggests, if a project manager is not paying close attention, it is easy for them to miss when these changes creep in with the rest of the existing requirements. It is important for project managers to properly evaluate requests to determine if they still fall within the project’s goals and objectives. If they do not, it is their responsibility to communicate the effects these requests will have on the project’s budget and timeline.
A project needs clear goals and objectives. These help to define the project’s purpose, what the outcome should be and steer it in the right direction. Project managers need to make sure that they ask the right questions and do proper planning for the project. Having unclear goals where the team is not sure of what they need to achieve can easily set up a project for failure.
Every task within a project has a timeline for when it can be completed. With proper planning and goal setting, you can determine how long tasks within a project should take and set key milestones for the project, including a realistic completion date. Unreasonable deadlines happen when they are set for a project without evaluating the real-time effort needed to complete the work. Sometimes, these requests are made by stakeholders or clients who do not understand the work that needs to go into the project. Due to these pressures being placed on the project manager, they in turn may push the team to attempt to achieve the impossible. As a result, team stress levels will go up, productivity will drop and the project will be at risk of failure.
Resources are a big factor in project success. They are the ones doing the work and are part of the project team. It is a project manager’s responsibility to make sure that the team doing the work is clear on their tasks and objectives, have the right skills to perform the work, are able to provide quality and be accountable for their actions. When team members don’t get along or don’t have the right skill set, the project will suffer. Poor communication, language barriers and even geographic differences can prove to be challenging for a project as well. It is important that the project manager is able to analyze a team’s weaknesses and strengths and come up with possible solutions that can combat these problems should they arise.
In conclusion, every project has its challenges and the project manager is the leader responsible for lessening or eradicating the challenges faced in a project. With proper planning, goal setting and clear communication, project managers can arm themselves to take on the challenges that are within their control.