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Top problems faced by most project managers & how to solve them

Introduction

In a project environment, the success of your team depends on the accurate and timely delivery of products, services and information. In order to ensure this is done well, you need to know what problems plague project managers in their work. This article will discuss some common and recurring issues that project managers face on daily basis and how they can be solved by investing in a good project management solution.

Inadequate scope definition

The most important thing to do when creating a scope is define it at the beginning of your project. If you don't, your team will struggle with defining their work and making sure they're staying within budget.

Here are some tips for ensuring that you have a clear definition of what needs to be done:

  • Define the scope in terms of what all needs to be done to make the project a success.
  • Speak to the customer & list down anything that's a must have for the project to work.
  • Breakdown the requirements into smaller actionable items.
  • Have a clear expectation criteria against each feature
  • Clearly mention things which are out of scope
  • Decide how any dynamic changes which are not in the scope will be handled.
  • Get a sign off on this from your customer.

Poor team management

Project managers often assign too many tasks to a single team member. This can be because they don't have enough team members or the right skillset to complete all the work in time and budget, or because they don't have the visibility in terms of task assignment to a team member.

The result? Projects that run late and over budget, or even worse—go bankrupt!

To ensure you don't end up in this situation, plan in advance. Identify the team members with correct skills needed for the project to be delivered successfully. Plan the work in small batches or sprints (say 2weeks). Identify & list any team & individual holidays.

This gives you visibility in terms of number of hours/ days each person with a different skillset is available in your team.

Then assign the work accordingly.

Poor planning and execution

One of the biggest problems faced by most project managers is poor planning and execution. Poor planning can lead to poor quality, which can lead to lower customer satisfaction, which can lead to lost revenue.

To avoid this, ensure you have done the time calculation as stated above & you know how many hours each of your team members is available.

Do not assign 100% of the work based on available capacity. For example, you have 80 hours of designer's time available in the next two weeks, assign tasks to them which covers 70% of their time. i.e. ~ 56 hours of work.

This allows your team members to have sufficient buffer time even if they go above their scheduled time for these tasks. This also accounts for the time spent in meetings/ clarifications & other project related activities where your team members are not actively working on the task.

Poor communication and collaboration

Communication and collaboration are two of the most important aspects of project management. If you have these two things working together well, then your project will be successful. However, if they don't work together well it's very easy for things to go wrong on a project.

Some tips to avoid this:

  • Add a blocked/ stuck status in your task items that your team members can put the task into if they are not moving forward for some reason. Ask them to update areas on what is blocking them so you can go through it & help unblock them.
  • A15 minute standup/ scrum call every day goes a long way in understanding what the team has achieved yesterday, what are they going to work on today & if they need any help.
  • Proactively update your customer/ client about the status of your project. If you notice it's going off track & there are chances that the next milestone is going to be delayed, update your customers as early as possible & show them what steps are you taking to mitigate this. Don't wait for the last day to communicate.
  • If your team members have any questions, needs further clarification on features they are working on, speak to your customers to find out the answers &share with your team as soon as you can.

Lack of visibility across projects

A common scenario in smaller teams is that there are team members with certain skills working in different projects simultaneously. If you have one or more people who are working on multiple projects, it's critical that you have a better visibility across projects to know how much work to allocate to them.

Similarly, as a business head, owner of a small business or agency, it's critical that you have an understanding of where your customer projects are. You don't need to dive into a lot of details into each of customer projects your teams are working on, but you must have the visibility on a high-level to answer the following:

  •   How many customer projects are we currently working on
  • What's some of the basic details of these customer projects such as Start/End date. Cost, Customer etc.
  • Are these projects on track? If not, can you help your team put them back on track? Eventually you would like your projects to be delivered on time & with quality to ensure your customers are happy to generate repeat business from them.

A Project management software can help you see the big picture, manage your team and clients, budget and time. It’s an invaluable tool that will help you do all of this in an efficient way.

It's essential that the project management tool you are using is used by everyone in your team. Right from the team members, the project managers & including the customers. When everyone is on the same tool, communication & collaboration becomes easy & it also helps keep people accountable.

Project managers should invest in the right project management software solution to avoid these problems.

Project managers should invest in the right project management software solution to avoid these problems. The right solution will help you with resource management, planning and execution, communication and collaboration, visibility and more.

If you are not using a Project Management Tool already, or if the tool you are using doesn't allow you to manage your project end to end, right from the first customer meeting to the delivery of the end project to the customer, consider giving Anywhere a try.

With Anywhere our goal is to give your teams a tool that ensures your projects are on track & delivered on time. It also gives you useful insights about your team & customer projects.

Conclusion

As a project manager, or agency owner you need to have the proper tools in place to ensure your customer projects are delivered on time & you have happy customers who not only give you repeat business but also refer your services to others.

Every customer project is different than the other, having aright tool will help ensure you have a well-defined process that your teams are following which eventually leads to expected results.

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