Roadblocks to Successful Project Management

I found this article very interesting and informative. It talks about the five major road blocks to successful project management and provides solution. In my entire working career, I have noticed that it is really hard for a project manager to perform well consistently especially when they are working with terrible project management tools. As mentioned in the article, I also think the major problem is that there are so many project management tools and apps available that are more complex and time-consuming than the project itself. These tools are usually designed in such a way that it can be used for any projects and this make is hard to customize them as per our need. The following are the top challenges faced by the project managers with the solutions discussed in the article.

  • Too much time is spent for searching project assets and documents: One of the major challenges faced by the project managers is that they spent too much of time in searching emails, reports, deliverables, proposals, lists etc. even when all the information is in the same place. I have seen in many instances that as the projects advances further massive information is collected and even with all the information located at one place it takes so much time to locate the specific file. This can take up major time from the project. Thus, as mentioned in the article, it is important to use the app that allows you to do powerful searches, which in return helps you to save time that would have been otherwise spent for searching information from the massive data collected throughout the project.
  • Team is all over the place: The article states that around 30% to 45% of the employees work remotely and it gets really hard keep track of things especially when team members are working on the same tasks. The breakdown in the communication can cause wastage of time and unnecessary stress. I think the major problem here is many project management applications do not have collaborative features and it gets harder to keep track if so many people are working on the same thing. I like the article’s solution of using a web-based tool with a mobile access and strong collaborative features. This way each team member stays in loop and is notified immediately when someone makes post, comment or updates the document.
  • Priorities are shifting: As we all know, there can be many changes in the project as it progresses. Some of the common changes are project goals, budget, timeline, changes in the scope and reallocation of resources. The solution to this is to make sure that everyone has a strong visual representation of the most up-to-date project progress and timeliness.
  • Individual goals are not clear: With so many members in a team it is always hard to keep track of who is doing what. So it is important to make use of individual to-do lists and work flows so that there is no task redundancy. We used the same approach while working on the project management class. Each team member had their own to-do list, which helped us to stay focused on the task and reduce redundancy.
  • Using wrong tools: As mentioned in the article, I have also noticed that many project managers try to use several different applications to complete tasks bit by bit. This can cause a serious waste of time as it takes more time to update the team member through separate application. So the solution to this is to use one platform that allows you to build your own process. There are some applications that have everything in one application such as smart searches, mobile access, collaborative features, and individual to-do lists. These kinds of platforms can definitely help project manager to be more efficient and productive.

Are there any other major road blocks to successful project management that you want to share and are not mentioned in this article?

6 thoughts on “Roadblocks to Successful Project Management

  1. Oh, my department has lots of experience with these 5 items! (uh oh…)

    Spending too much time on a solution has been a favorite at times. “If we only had X, we could…” “Well, if we could use Y, maybe we would…” –without realization that X is enterprise-based or Y is an entirely new platform that would involve procurement, IT, training, and numerous other resources to launch. While some solutions look like quick steps, the resources and time spent on the back end could easily erase the benefits.

    Our department also has issues with 2, 3 and 4, especially since many team members have non-overlapping schedules. The solution at present involves multiple meetings (some with overlapping agendas), a myriad of email chains, and ever-prevalent “THIS NEEDS TO BE DONE YESTERDAY!!” projects. The end result is a terribly ineffective team; we’re constantly putting out fires and trying to catch up.

    One thing that this article didn’t mention was reporting structure. For my own workflow, the cross-departmental reporting (usually based on project assignments) is among the most detrimental to success. Person A may require an excel doc of data while Person B wants a marketing or demographics analysis of what the data contains. Since the reporting isn’t coordinated, it often results in projects that are similar but require 2x the amount of work, since they each have a different focus point. I’ve often wondered if 3rd party applications could be a useful tool, but it seems like that would lead us to point #5!

  2. I enjoyed reading this blog post. The second item, “The team is all over the place”, really hits home, because I am an offsite individual myself. I have seen multiple occasions in which two offsite team members perform duplicate tasks. Do you think that a project communications plan would assist in mitigating this issue? We had this issue during our field service project, and I felt it was due to the project communications plan not being utilized properly; I feel that if a RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consult, Inform) chart is supplied on a weekly basis, it reduces this possibility.

  3. Great post! The point on shifting priorities hit home. No project has the same parameters from start to finish. Budgets change and projects for particular clients get pushed up in priority on the timeline. Additionally, I think it is also important to note the changing “unspoken” priorities of each team member. Each person wants to champion a particular aspect of the project. While taking ownership keeps the team invested, it can also result in very unproductive meetings, with each person continually circling back to the same topic. Teams need to define what the most important aspects of the project are in a prioritized list. This will help in the selection process down the road and can serve as a reminder, keeping the team on track during future meetings. Anytime a suggestion is brought up, you should measure it against your prioritized goals for the overall purpose of the project. “We want to accomplish A, B, C. Does X idea enhance or detract from those goals?”

  4. Good topic and post. The article raises many valid points about the challenges of modern-day project management.

    Having the appropriate tools in place can facilitate project management, but ultimately the project manager has to make things work with the resources that are available. In our modern age, we’ve come to rely on so many internet-based technological solutions such as share drives, webinars, video conferences, and email, that it seems incredible we were able to send humans to the moon without their use.

    Effective use of human capital is critical to successful project management. Aside from assuring appropriate organization of timelines and assignments, and accessibility of documentation, the project manager has to possess soft skills (i.e., the ability to constructively work with diverse personality types and orchestrate their efforts) that are adequate to keep team members engaged and motivated, and intervene appropriately when conflicts arise. Soft skill deficiency is a roadblock for project managers with even the most honed organizational skills and an abundance of resources at their disposal.

  5. I really enjoy reading this article and blog post. I think it’s a good first article to read, before starting our group project, it helps you identify risk and errors that could come during the project. I consider that the second point, “Team is all over the place” could be critical, because you can lose precious time, considering that we only have 8 weeks to do the project. The project manager could help mitigate that risk, organizing, moderating and leading the group meetings. About points 3 “priorities are shifting”, 4 “Individual goals are not clear” and 5 “Using wrong tools” I would add a little paragraph a few names of apps that can help you remedy those problems, like Trello which is an application that helps you organize task and clearly delimitates tasks between group members to eliminate redundancy, and helps you identify priorities.

  6. I can really relate to the ideas in this blog and article. I have seen these roadblocks and agree these are main factors that can hinder the success of a project. Many times a project will change: goals, budget, and timeline. This obstacle must be dealt with in a collaborative team. Everyone should be on board and have a strong visual representation of the project and changes. As I work in a company where you are usually working with someone that is not within your office, I find that communication and a clear agreed upon vision of the project is crucial to the project’s success and efficiency. I also want to stress that web-based tools can save a great amount of money when completing a project. My firm has gone to all web based tools where everyone is able to see different parts of the project and also share different documents that might be valuable for other areas of the project. Thank you for sharing the article I enjoyed reading this as I have seen this often.

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