9 Common Project Management Issues and How to Solve Them

Every business handles multiple projects, whether for expansion or specialized tasks, which requires extensive planning and management. Otherwise, project teams may face unexpected threats that can alter their plans.

Project managers should learn the most common project management issues and how to overcome them in order to anticipate risks and establish backup plans.

9 Project Management Challenges

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Leading a business project can be overwhelming, as managers are often met with several challenges. The most common project management issues include-

1. Unclear Goals and Criteria

Without transparency, different departments within a company could remain unsure of performance goals, timelines, and success criteria. This can create several management issues, as a significant element of project management is planning. In fact, studies show that approximately 39% of business projects fail as a result of undefined goals and poor project planning.

It is also vital to have a criterion to adequately monitor performance and progression toward goals, allowing managers to ensure they meet deadlines.

How to resolve the issue-

Many businesses use the SMART or CLEAR methodology to set clear project goals and avoid confusion regarding employee responsibilities. The SMART method ensures that goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. On the other hand, the CLEAR strategy stands for collaborative, limited, emotional, appreciable, and refinable.

2. Lack of Communication

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Poor communication can lead to forgotten tasks, overlapping operations, and the inability to reach performance targets. Since teams are assembled using qualified individuals to complete a specialized project, members need communication to encourage teamwork.

Otherwise, employees could duplicate tasks, wasting resources and reducing efficiency. This could even cause conflicts between team members, creating a hostile work environment and delaying the project.

How to resolve the issue-

Especially in a project team, managers must establish an open line of communication to address questions and concerns. Many businesses use management software that directly connects employees to one another, regardless of their department. Management solutions make it easy to share data, encourage accountability, and check-in on peers.

3. Poor Budgeting

For many companies, a restrictive budget is the biggest challenge they have to overcome. Without strict cost management strategies, teams could drain their funds before finishing their operation, creating complications and an unfinished project.

How to resolve the issue-

Managers should collaborate with all involved departments to create a realistic budget to avoid cost overruns and quality issues.

4. Unqualified Staff

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A project team is as strong as the least qualified employee, making it critical that all members bring a valuable skill to the operation.

Managers are responsible for designating tasks for each employee based on their expertise and experience. Therefore, having inexperienced members can lead to poor execution and an unsuccessful project.

How to resolve the issue-

Before assembling the team, managers should create a list of employees that possess the skills necessary to complete the task. After assessing each worker, management should then speak with each person to determine their availability for the project.

5. Lack of Accountability

A project can only be completed if every employee has a defined role with outlined responsibilities and duties. Otherwise, managers may find that team members procrastinate or are unsure of their assignments.

How to resolve the issue-

Prior to filling each role, managers should already have each position outlined so employees understand the common goal and individual expectations.

6. Scope Creep

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Scope creep, also known as requirement creep, refers to how project requirements increase as they continue the lifecycle. Requirements could include features, functions, resources, costs, approval, and deadlines that the project must consist of or meet.

While scope creep can be beneficial to project teams with clear performance targets, it is often a stressor for businesses that do not have a clear idea of the desired outcome.

How to resolve the issue-

The best way to counteract scope creep is through preventative measures by proactively engaging clients in the planning phase. Clients must give defined benchmarks and expectations when it comes to yield, quality, and costs. By the end of the planning period, there should be nothing left to guesswork.

7. Poor Risk Management

Projects very rarely go exactly as planned as there are always external factors that companies can't prepare for.

Therefore, project managers need the foresight to be able to identify and anticipate potential threats. This enables the team to develop best and worst-case scenarios in order to create respective contingency plans.

How to resolve the issue-

Again, it is the project manager's responsibility to draft several alternative plans in case of an emergency. With proper risk management, teams can mitigate risks before they are able to compromise the project's progress.

8. Unrealistic Deadlines

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While every company wants to complete projects as soon as possible, the team is comprised of employees that already have other responsibilities to fulfill. Therefore, it is vital to have realistic performance expectations and deadlines when planning a project.

Short deadlines can significantly impact output quality and employee satisfaction. On the other hand, extended deadlines can elongate the project, increasing labor costs.

How to resolve the issue-

Project management should collaborate with all stakeholders and team members to assess everyone's schedules and create reasonable targets.

9. Poor Stakeholder Engagement

While stakeholders may not be directly involved in a project, it is their right to know exactly what teams are working on and how it will impact the company. By not informing stakeholders of ongoing and future projects, the uninvolved client may cause problems at the operation's final stage.

How to resolve the issue-

Stakeholders and management should all be present during the project's planning stage to ensure all parties agree on the expectations and have the chance to provide feedback.