“5 Challenges and How to Overcome Them While Managing a Project”
Project management is a crucial part of any business. It has undergone dozens of changes in last few decades because of the rapid development of technology and the need to stay competitive in the modern business landscape. Among other things, successfully positioning a company on the market has a lot to do with effective project management.
To be a successful project manager, one needs to have many qualities. A manager has to be able to plan projects, and at the same time, assign the best people or team for each task. And what seems to be more important, to be able to adopt a proactive mindset instead of the reactive mindset to be able to anticipate challenges and find on-the-go solutions to problems as they arise.
Project management has a tremendous impact on business as a whole. But somehow managers fail at adopting a holistic approach to project management, wasting their time and energy on micromanagement of individual tasks, in the end losing focus on deadlines, assets, and resources.
Because of the ability to provide the full control and insight over the project to managers, project management tools became widely popular these days. Here is the list of some common project management challenges and how a project management system helps managers to overcome them.
Essential Skills of a Project Manager
A successful Project Manager should have adequate levels of discipline for initiating, planning, executing, and managing all of their resources with the company goals and budget in mind.
- A Project Manager should not micromanage; this falls away from leadership and rather approaches control issues. If you are too analytical, then you lose the focus of the overall goal
- A good Project Manager is always striving to be better. You evolve with the company and adapt while maintaining team communication and reaching for improvements
- Project Managers can effectively communicate everything they need to have done in a clear and concise manner. They avoid any vague instructions or descriptions while guiding everyone on the team in the same positive direction
- Effective risk management is also an essential skill for a Project Manager to have. They should encourage their team members always to voice their concerns, and they should always maintain a project risk database that can track all these grievances and concerns
- Finally, time, budget and equality should always be at the forefront of a successful Project Manager’s mind. The primary objective is to get the projects done efficiently and on time. To do this, always communicate with your team the importance of staying within the timeframe and budget, while still delivering high-quality results
Project Management Process
Project Management is the initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing of a team to achieve a goal successfully. The Project Manager is responsible for determining what work needs to be completed, what reports need to be generated and reviewed, who will need to be involved with the project, and how each phase of the project will need to be controlled and approved.
There Are Five Phases of Project Management
Project Conception and Initiation
Project Conception and Initiation is the beginning phase of any project. It is where an explicit goal is defined, and research is done concerning the project and its feasibility. Once it is decided that the project should continue then the Project Manager will need to create then a project charter or initiation document that will outline the purpose of the project and the overall requirements of the project.
The Project Planning phase of any project will develop on creating a roadmap that will outline the specifics and goals of the project. Set specific goals, establish measurable criteria so that you can measure the success of the goal, attain information to achieve and identify the most important goals of the project, be realistic about the project goals and willing to work toward making them, and create a timeframe in which the goals will be accomplished.
Project Execution is the third phase of the Project Management process. In this phase, the Project Manager will begin to develop their team, assign resources, execute management plans, set up tracking systems, task out the assignments, participate in status meetings, update the project schedule, and modify any project plans as needed and as you see fit.
Project Performance and Monitoring
Project Performance and Monitoring is another key component in the Project Management process, and this is when the Project Manager will analyze KPI’s, or key performance indicators, to determine if the project is progressing as it should and moving toward the goals. The project objectives, quality deliverables, effort and cost tracking, and overall project performance will all be analyzed, tracked, and monitored in this phase.
Project Closure is the fifth and final stage in the Project Management process. At this point, the project has been completed, and the Project Manager is responsible for creating a report that specifies what had been accomplished. They will also generate a final project budget, and collect all the documents and deliverables from throughout the project.
Handling Multiple Projects at The Same Time
It has become pretty common, even for the small startups, to have many projects going simultaneously, and the same people or whole teams often work on several projects at a time, which may or may not have the same deadline.
It can very quickly become a project management nightmare to delegate all of the tasks and to be available for anyone who has a question about some issue. With project management tools, all of this becomes very easy and time efficient. Project managers can access the project page with just one click and have a look at the project as they happen.
The straightforward but informative user interface allows project managers to see all kinds of project relevant information, project status, progress, and how much time has been spent. On top of that, a built-in chat allows managers to see whether the team members have any questions on anything.
Advantages of Having Project Management Software
Another significant advantage you find with Project Management Software is the ability to control the costs of the projects. The software also allows the Project Manager to access valuable information regarding their risk management, forecasting, and all of their available budget information.
Document sharing is another advantage that can be essential especially when combined with the ability to communicate with team members in real time. Every member of the team is kept up to date on the progress and any issues or changes that occur, and the Project Manager has everything available in one easy and convenient location.
There is also dashboard-based software that doesn’t even require a lot of training before it can be used. The software is straightforward and easy to use and thoroughly benefits everyone on the team.
Disadvantages of Having Project Management Software
With any advantages, there are typically some problems that must be taken into account. Before implementing any Project Management Software, it is important to check the system requirements needed to run the software successfully and efficiently.
Since you will be working with some complex reporting software, it is also important to understand the parameters and current needs of the company so that information can be established under the characteristics of being required or optional.
Project Delay Due to One Incomplete Task
To stay competitive and to be able to build an excellent reputation with clients, projects have to be completed before the deadline. But what happens when one of the recurring or inter-dependent tasks fails to be completed? All other duties are delayed, and the project is destined to either be late or fail due to all the micromanagement work that needs to be done.
This is where a project management tool can save the day. First, it provides access to several project templates you can use for your project, which saves time right at the start. Then, with a Task Dependencies option, you can move all the inter-dependent or recurring tasks with just one click; this saves a lot of time and allows the managers to focus on the task that caused the problem by assigning additional assets or resources.
Task Dependencies are the logical relationships between different tasks and activities. There are four types of task dependencies:
- Finish to Start: The most common of the dependencies and it just means that the next job cannot be started until the first task is completed
- Start to Start: Do not require that both tasks start at the same time, rather the second task cannot be begun until after the first task has started
- Finish to Finish: Both tasks do not have to be completed at the same time; the only requirement is that the first task is completed before the second task can finish
- Start to Finish: The second task can finish at any stage after the first job has begun, but the second task can only finish the first mission has started
Dependencies are created based on the works that are available. With Project Management Software, the Project Manager can create dependencies for their task based on the projects they need to be completed and in what timeframe.
Writing a Report for a Client in the Middle of Ongoing Project
Many customers want to have an insight into how well the project is progressing, just to make sure everything is going according to plan and that their needs are going to be met. But for a project manager, this means that they have to stop doing everything just to be able to write a report. This also means that he/she has to ask each team member individually how he/she is progressing and to estimate time and check if there are enough resources for the project to be completed.
Project management software has a built-in option to generate a project report with just a couple of clicks. This report contains everything that the client needs, from the summary of the project status and breakdown of tasks, to when the tasks are due and overall project financial reviews. Within minutes, managers can have the report done and sent to a client via email. This time-saving feature is one of the greatest benefits a project management software has to offer to its users.
Also, project management tools can be used to set up a billable amount for tasks. Furthermore, it generates an invoice which can be sent to a client. When it comes to finances, some of these software tools allow managers to use financial add-ons to prepare estimates and track project expenses.
What Is Included in a Project Manager Report?
A Project Manager may need to write a report for various reasons, and the primary objective of these reports is to supply the client with relative and valuable information on the project’s progress. Some reports may just dictate updates of the project’s progress and others will also fill the customer in on if the project is proceeding on schedule and if it is remaining on budget.
Other times reports may need to be a bit more detailed and may even include six key metrics. These six key metrics include scheduled deadlines, cost, use of resources, scope changes, quality control, and action.
With Project Management Software, it is easier to generate these reports because they can be more detailed.
Project documentation is also a crucial part of successful project management. And as the project progresses further down the line, the documentation can pile up and become scattered throughout the offices. This makes project management harder. Not to mention all the leg work when someone in the team has to access the documentation that is needed for the task.
Project management software has built in some of the neatest team collaboration tools and documentation sharing features. With everything in the cloud, team members can access any uploaded documents and get necessary information for further progression or change the material by adding new project-relevant info.
Lack of Accountability
Legacy project management methods fail at emphasizing the responsibilities of each team member; this can lead to a lack of responsibility during the project and especially in situations when problems occur.
A project management tool allows managers to assign tasks individually to team members. On top of that, all the employees onboard the project can see who is assigned to each job; this is a great way for employees to become more responsible and dedicated to completing the task in time.
A Gantt Chart
A Gantt Chart is commonly used in Project Management and is a handy and useful way to show and display activities, especially during the process and planning phases of a project. A chart typically includes information regarding what the tasks are, when each task begins and ends, how long each is scheduled to last, where certain tasks can overlap, and the start and end date of the entire project.
With Project Management Software, it is now easier than ever to create, edit, and print these reports so that you can display relevant and valuable information about each project including who is doing what, what resources are being utilized, and track how each task within the project is progressing.
Project Management Software is one of the easiest ways and an effective management tool to help overcome the top five challenges that Project Managers face. It provides a straightforward and practical solution to keep all information updated and easily shared with team members who are on the project.
David Miller is a researcher who has several years of experience in the field of teaching, project management and training. He is associated with prestigious brands and many leading organizations for his expertise in project management. Currently, he is pursuing research on the effectiveness of project management software and is also a contributing author with ProProfs.