6 Challenges Faced By Every Project Manager

By on January 12, 2016

Who doesn’t want things to go as planned, especially at workplace. But, that’s rarely how things works. Project Managers in particular are bound to come across some problems, few of which are inevitable and perceived as normal. But there are some problems that can come unexpectedly. The only way to tackle those situations is to be well prepared for them.

Below I have tried to jot down a few common problems that most project managers complain about, or have to struggle with at some point of time. Take a look at those and see if you can resonate with those. Also learn about the ways to resolve those problems and avoid them from happening again.

Time constraints

Human resources, financial resources, and time management – these three things combined together form the recipe for project success. Out of three, time happens to be a dominant factor. For project managers, time is never enough and most of them are often complaining about running short on time. Discipline is only way to make the most out of available time is to follow a schedule religiously. And by discipline, I mean having consistency in work schedule. It means sticking to a specific work routine and making everyone stick to them as well.

Difficulty in contacting right people at right time

A lot of employees these days work remotely and so, managers cannot personally interact with them whenever the work demands it. International clients too can be situated across countries who again can be difficult to get hold of due to difference in time zones. The only way to reach them is through communication software. However, at times when they need to be urgently communicated, they can be unavailable. This is a common problem faced by a lot of project managers. Inability to communicate with international clients or remote workers can cause delays and setbacks.

To avoid that from happening map out the timings when all the parties are supposed to be available for interaction. Select a timeline that everyone is comfortable with after taking into account all the time zones where employees and clients are located. Let everyone know when they should be available for discussing updates. You will have to decide these things during the planning phase to avoid any sudden surprises and situations where the project comes to a halt just because the manager is unable to reach someone in order to get things going.

Unclear requirements shared by clients

It happens very often and can be quite troubling. A lot of times clients themselves don’t know exactly what they want. They sometimes may not be able to list-out all the requirements in the beginning of a project until they have reached a certain point in the execution phase. If this happens a lot with you as a project manager, make it a point to discuss it with the clients and decide when all the major decisions will have to be taken.

Discuss the degree of leverage allowed in the project execution and how much scope should there be to introduce new changes and modify the requirements. Sometimes a project manager has to prompt the client to fully explain what kind of work they want done. Managers need to be articulate when it comes to laying down project requirements, targets, and goals. By confirming the requirements in their own words they can persuade the client to be more specific and rule-out everything else that does not seem to go with the project.

Clients are not satisfied with the results

Again, this is also a very common scenario which happens quite a lot so am sure all managers would resonate with this one. Sometimes there can be a huge deviation between what was expected from what the teams achieved. For project managers, this would mean putting in extra work hours, more resources, and time to bridge that gap in performance. One of the biggest reasons behind clients unhappy with the outcome is the failure to discuss progress with them from time to time or simply failing to understand the requirements in its real sense in the first place.

Don’t let that happen. Be very particular about discussing all the updates as soon as they come with all the key people involved in the project, especially with clients. This will allow you to make sure that the project is headed in the right direction. Understanding what the clients want is not just about knowing the technical requirements of it. There is a lot more to it. There is a need to know the rationale behind why the clients wants what he wants. Try to understand the subjectivity behind everything. This will help you pan out the details in the exact same way as the client desires.

Sudden changes in requirements/priorities

Sudden change in requirements calls for change in the pace of project also. This is where change management philosophy comes. Change in priority would mean putting all the currently ongoing activities on hold, and getting start working on the new set of requirements with immediate effect.

In order to do that, managers should always remember not to get too comfortable with any one situation. In their mind, they must always be ready to incorporate any and every change that may come in the way of project. Create the pace of activities and tasks while also leaving plenty of room for incorporating changes without much resistance. Don’t forget the rules of change management to escape the shock of sudden unpleasant surprises.

Personal conflicts brewing at workplace

Nothing hampers productivity like personal conflicts at workplace. It’s the people who form teams and they find it easier to work together when there is harmony in professional relations. It is the job of project manager to keep that sense of togetherness alive or else teams may find it very easy to drift away from each other. Blame games are often a results of disharmony in professional relations at work. If you sense distance growing between team members, you might want to take some steps, such as conducting team-building activities every now and then to keep that spirit alive. Don’t let personal disagreements come in the way of employee performance and project success.

Have you faced any of these challenges? Is there anything you would like to add? Feel free to comment and shares your views.

Shikha Menwal

Shikha Menwal is a content writer at ProofHub. Her academic credentials include a bachelor’s degree in computer sciences. From lifestyle, to technology, and management, etc. She has written about myriad of industries in her writing career during the last three years. In her free time she loves to watch comedy shows and read spiritual journalism.