Top 6 Common Challenges Of Any Project Manager: Spot And Stop

Written on
April 3, 2020

Who is precisely a project manager (PM)? What are the main functions of the PM? What are the key features of a skilled PM who indeed leads the team ahead? What is the critical problem does PM face every single day? In the following article, we will clarify all these and other matters about such a significant position in any company. Let’s dig into the topic together!

Who is a Project Manager?

Another name of the project manager is just Agent 007. They are completely fearless and can substitute any member of their team if needed; they apply skills to encourage a sense of the common goal within the project team. They face challenges every day and enjoy it!

Project management is a rather strict and controversial process. It is not only communication both with the team and clients, planning work schedules, monitoring project status, and meeting deadlines, but also solving problems that arise at any stage of the Project Lifecycle.

It does not matter, whether you are a Junior Project Manager or a Senior one, to lead a team and show positive results is an always complicated task. The principal goal of any PM is to balance all the elements of a complex project and get positive outcomes of the whole working process.

What challenges can a project manager face? Let’s discuss them together and find ways to overcome such difficulties.

Main Challenges Of A Project Manager

1. PM doesn’t know all the tiny details of the project and tries to manage it with a little information

Research is all you need if you are not aware of all the project items. The number of meetings and information never lets PM be mindful of all technical issues of the project.

Some obstacles appear every day, so as a result of the lack of attention is that a manager often slips out of the project context, and therefore, some deadlines might be skipped, and customers will be dissatisfied.

How To Prevent The Challenge?

There are several meetings where a project manager and the team can discuss all the burning questions and get an agreement. They are:

  • Grooming sessions-meetings, where an organisation holds a discussion and decomposes tasks for the immediate future, ask any questions and clarify all the issues that are currently unclear;
  • Planning sessions - meetings, where the team evaluates current tasks and realizes whether it is possible to fulfill them or not;
  • Demo sessions - meetings, where the team shares with project stakeholders a current result of their everyday work for a particular period. Such meetings are usually held one in two-four weeks (two sprints). The advantage of demo meetings is that stakeholders provide feedback and make adjustments to the team’s work at all the project development stages.

Tips To Overcome The Challenge

  • If the meetings are regular and informative, there will be a productive cooperation with the Product Owner (or someone who performs this function) of the project and all the team members. In such a case, the project manager always knows everything about the challenges and benefits of the project and will be able to assist the employee or give a timely recommendation.
  • A lot of time spent with a team within the working process can resolve bottlenecks and blockers of any project.

2. PM doesn’t prioritize tasks with project stakeholders

Unfortunately, setting wrong priorities can cost a project manager, an arm, and a leg. Task prioritization has always been one of the primary goals of experienced project management. Preferences are often changed at the stage of completion and release.

How To Prevent The Challenge?

Grooming sessions with stakeholders is only one way to prevent setting wrong goals and give a false direction for the whole project.

Tips To Overcome The Challenge

The best solution is to have regular grooming sessions with stakeholders and every time prioritize tasks. If priorities change and there is no opportunity to wait for the next meeting, it makes sense to prioritize tasks exactly with stakeholders and inform the team about current moderations and new priorities.

3. PM misinforms the team

For the busy project manager is always more comfortable to speak to an employee in-person than hold a meeting with the whole team. Such a mistake can also be fatal in a team management process. It can lead to the rumor within the project, misunderstandings among the employees, and consequently dissatisfaction of the project members.

How To Prevent The Challenge?

Create a well-organized communication plan with the whole team. The plan template might be different, but it must be present to lead the working process with minimal misconceptions.

Tips To Overcome The Challenge

Regular meetings with a team will allow informing all the team members about some project alterations;

  • Don’t get meet with people chaotically and tip off the information partially;
  • Write Meeting notes after each session and attach them to the link of the meeting or email them.

4. PM estimates individually the duration of project without technical specialists

There can happen some moments when you have to provide the project estimation to stakeholders rapidly; however, there is not always a developer team to provide a PM with the proper evaluation.

In such a case, the PM can set up a wrong project deadline. Promises to do something tomorrow or the day after tomorrow don’t work! You should have a clear and realistic project deadline.

How To Prevent The Challenge?

Planning sessions with the team. Regular meetings, both with individual employees or the whole team, will help to avoid a crisis.

Tips To Overcome The Challenge

  • The PM should provide a useful evaluation of team members who are involved in the project.
  • Don’t set a deadline for the customer without an initial meeting with technical specialists. They always know more than you!

5.  PM doesn’t know about changes in a project

Scope creep often occurs in the process of project development. Thus it is better to control the project cases from the very beginning. For instance, if the Fixed and Price agreement is set up, all changes have to be monitored by the Change Request Management Plan. Otherwise, you will have to deal with additional tasks that your team also should do without extra payment.

There can also be a problem in performing tasks with outdated requirements. For example, when the team completes the tasks, which are no longer relevant in the current project. However, the group spends time in managing all the functions and requires a payment.

How To Prevent The Challenge?

You have to change the management style. Otherwise, all your efforts to achieve the best result will fail.

Tips To Overcome The Challenge

  • Timely arrange meetings with the team and dig into the very detail of the project;
  • Add tasks with removal or postponing functions for the later period.

6. PM doesn’t warn stakeholders of possible risks

High-level risks which have to be announced to the stakeholders at once are often identified in the phase of initiation and project performance. It is the biggest mistake that a project manager can commit.

A stakeholder is not ready for information like this, and consequently, not only a PM might have serious troubles but also the whole project team.

How To Prevent The Challenge?

The only way to eradicate such an issue is to create risk logs. Inform your stakeholders about all the inconveniences in the project in advance, employing presenting current data and providing them with a solid plan on how to overcome the troubles painlessly.

Tips To Overcome The Challenge

  • Warn the stakeholder about possible risks in every stage of task performance;
  • Impose risk log;
  • Share risk logs with all team members;
  • Work upon preventing potential risks.

Wrapping Up

In this article, we have mentioned the most common mistakes of the project manager that can become a nightmare both for the customer and a stakeholder.

To avoid all these challenges, you have to bear in mind just one thing: a total control of all the tiny project details and timely risk prevention can save the whole project. If you have decided to hold such an essential position in the company, never forget about your team and its critical needs. Together we can achieve everything!

"Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it."                                                              Dwight D. Eisenhower


Article written by
Alina Kiian

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