As a team leader, you have a full plate. Among other tasks, you must ensure that your projects are completed on time and on budget. Even with excellent delegating skills, it is still difficult to complete projects on time. Even more potential problems await you if you have multiple project underway simultaneously.
As you have discovered, most of the project management issues that you face tend to manifest in a few areas. My theory is that if you can solve any one major issue, you will improve your success rate. So, in this article, let’s examine five areas that create problems for everyone who leads a project. Even experienced project leaders should review some of the issues that can throw a “monkey wrench” into the project plan.
Let’s examine these five (5) issues.
- Poor Planning – Some of the most common results of poor planning are missing milestones and insufficient resources. One solution is to outline or map the entire cycle of the project so you can readjust schedules, update milestones, and adjust budgets to match timelines. An updated flowchart of the project also demonstrates to the leadership that the project is on a path to a successful completion.
- Manual Process – Maintaining a manual project plan is likely to fail in all but the simplest projects. Valuable time will be spent updating schedules and emailing changes to team members. One of the simplest ways to manage this process is to use a spreadsheet such as Excel, Google Sheets or Libre Offices’ Sheets to schedule the project. This “project” can be updated and emailed or placed on the team’s network so that everyone is aware of the changes. Depending on your organizational situation, there are special project management software packages that allow each team member to log in and see the status of every aspect of the project that concerns them.
- Insufficient Tools – As stated in the previous recommendation, the most counterproductive thing you can do is to try to manage a project with inadequate tools. There is an abundance of free and moderately priced project management software that provides connectivity with email, internet, spreadsheets, smartphone apps, and cloud-based programs. These software packages eliminate mixing different methods. Therefore, it is best to choose one project management system that will work with all of them. This could likely be a cloud-based, standardized platform that can handle all of your project management needs.
- Monitoring, follow-up and correction – Failure to conduct project reviews is a serious error. Monitoring and correcting the project progress along the way is essential. These reviews can be scaled to the size and duration of the project. This is also an opportunity for the project leader to evaluate the effectiveness of previous decisions. To prevent misunderstandings or complications, review meetings provide an opportunity to reevaluate goals and milestones. By evaluating the project progress in small increments, you’ll be able to quickly make adjustments to budgets, tasks, allocation of resources and many other elements.
- Authoritarian control – Even the most experienced project leader, with the most powerful management software solution is in trouble if the entire team does not buy in to the same goals and a similar way of thinking. One solution is to encourage every team member to think and act like a project leader. Let them know that you expect all team members to communicate effectively and openly, collaborate with each other, delegate tasks, ask for help as needed, proofread documents, report progress, and problems on a timely basis.
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