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5 Common Project Management Challenges and Solutions to Tackle Them like a Pro

project management challenges, ntask

Project management is a comprehensive and complex field of work that requires extensive practice, skills, knowledge, and expertise. Despite the plethora of resources, certifications and expert advice available today, project management continues to hold its place as one of the most challenging professions.

A study by Gallup shows a staggering fact that only 2.5% of companies successfully complete 100% of their projects. The reasons behind this phenomenon can be many and although frameworks such as agile project management have streamlined this field to a huge extent, project managers continue facing issues and roadblocks on a daily basis.

Did you know, according to a research by PMI, for every $1B invested in the US, $122M was wasted due to lacking project planning and performance?

Each project is unique with reference to the scope, objectives or client requirements, and there is no common template to ease the project development lifecycle. Although, the problems each project faces may be different, there are some issues that are stumbled upon more commonly than others.

Based on research and findings by research giants, such as PMI, Gallup, Deloitte, Gartner, LiquidPlanner and more, here is a list of the 5 project management challenges commonly faced by project managers and Agile teams.

Unclear Goals

A study by PMI shows that 37% of project failures are due to a lack of clearly defined objectives and milestones to measure progress.

The process of setting both short-term and long-term goals for a project needs to be efficient and well thought of. The absence of unclearly defined goals does not only pave way for unnecessary confusion and miscommunication but also may lead to missing important milestones.

Milestones help measure your team and project progress. Without having a properly defined set of goals in hand, a project manager is bound to lose track of where the project is going in terms of cost and time. An efficient way to tackle this is to follow the SMART rules for goal setting.

Inadequate Communication

According to Deloitte, 32% of professionals cite inadequate communications as one of the biggest barriers to successful technology implementation.

It is no secret that miscommunication or lack of communication can have a dire impact on any project and team collaboration. When it comes to project management specifically, communication needs to be timely and transparent.

Be it a one-on-one discussion, daily scrum or weekly sprints, the team needs to be at par with exactly where the project lies and everything that comes with it including issues, prevailing risks and customer requirements.

According to PMI, for every $1 billion spent on a project, organization risk $135 million. Furthermore, another research indicates that about 56% of this expense ($75 million of that $135 million) is put at risk due to ineffective communications.

Misestimating Expenses

One of the most common project management challenges is the failure to estimate expenses correctly. Did you know that a study by Liquid Planner presented the finding that managing project costs were the principal problem faced by manufacturing project managers in 2017 (49.5%)?

Cost misestimating can lead to staggering complications in any project development lifecycle. A project revolves around numerous entities, each incurring a significant amount of expense, such as equipment, software, human resources, consultation, and other unplanned overhead costs.

It is no wonder that according to a study by Deloitte, 22% of professionals consider budgeting issues as a leading roadblock to project implementations. For this reason, it is absolutely critical to adopt a project management tool that can efficiently calculate, project and help you monitor project costs along the way.

Risk Mismanagement

Poor risk management is one of the most common project management challenges. According to James Lam in Enterprise Risk Management: From Incentives to Controls, strategic risks account for about 60 percent of major turndowns in market capitalization. He also added that operational risks contribute to 30 percent and financial risks about 10 percent to that downfall.

At any level, project managers and teams need be on a constant lookout for potential risks and plan to avoid or mitigate the impact of these risks, altogether. John A. Wheeler, Research Director at Gartner says that only 25% of companies view risk management as an important strategic tool.

This research indicates the dire need to adopt risk management strategies. By having an effective risk management software in place, project management teams and managers can achieve a significant control on the projects through timely risk identification and strategy alignment.

Simon Andras is an Account Executive at Higher Click. Andras advises keeping risks in check so you can take preventive action to avoid it, or you can control it with corrective measures.

Unrealistic Deadlines

A research by Wellingtone indicates that only 37% of teams in the U.K. reported completing projects on time more often than not. Moreover, according to Liquid Planner, meeting deadlines was the second largest issue faced by project managers in manufacturing (45.8%), making it one of the more common project management challenges faced by Agile teams today.

It is normal to have delays in achieving different milestones in a project; however, you can prevent the project from going off track by monitoring the project from the very beginning. It is also important to keep the customers in sync in case sudden customer requests for changes are posing threats to the timely completion of a project.

Timing activities and using Gantt charts can contribute a great deal to helping the team stay on schedule.

What project management challenges have you come across and how does your Agile team tackle them? Share your story in the comments below.


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