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?

Project management “Dirty Secrets”

I found this article very interesting and it did somewhat relate to the projects that I was handling when I was running an animation firm. This article talks about the dirty secrets in which the project managers are more than willing to go over the budget than missing the project deadline as their bonuses and commissions depend on the revenue and earnings for that quarter. Additionally, the article also includes the ideas that can be used to avoid the schedule crisis.

When I was running a small animation firm, mostly all the projects came with a strict deadline. Most of the customers wanted their projects to be done quickly and always stressed the deadline. Since our projects involved going back and forth with customers to get the approval on every milestone (such as story boarding, character designing, background designing and compilation) of the project, it delayed our project. Every time when we were closer to the deadline we had to rush the project and finish it on time. We followed the same tactics as mentioned in the article to expedite the project. Some of them were:

  • Don’t worry about the quality; try to finish as quickly as you can.
  • Have the employees work in double shift to finish the project.
  • Skip some approvals required from customer.
  • Hold other projects and have every one work on the current project.
  • Pay overtime.

All of these tactics helped us the finish the project on time but it did reduced the quality of work and we had to rework on some parts eventually. Also, as we had all the employees working on the same project we were late on the other projects. Now, I wish I had followed some of the guidelines mentioned in this article and it could have helped me in avoiding the schedule crisis. Some of the ideas I really liked from the article were:

  • “Do the reality-therapy thing”: I really liked the idea of giving demos to the executive sponsor at the end of each sprint and inform the sponsor (customer, in my case) about the expectation of the schedule of the project. This way the customer has an option to choose between the quality and time as the project proceeds towards the completion.
  • “Do the prioritization thing”: I completely agree that the by prioritizing the task at the beginning of the project can help in reducing the deliverables along the way and also help in reducing the load.
  • “Un-do the kill-the-messenger thing”: I think it is important that at every milestone review, the team members should be allowed to disclose the negative information about the project. This can help in estimating the realistic time for the projects and risks.

Are there any other ideas or guidelines that you want to share with me and are not mentioned in the article? Or are any of ideas that are mentioned the article have been useful to you in avoiding schedule crisis in past?