Guest Article, published with permission from Noreen Butler
From years of experience, I know first-hand about many of the common challenges Project Managers face. Quite often, Project Managers may underestimate the importance of taking the time to know what challenges lay ahead or just want to avoid them because there is typically a high demand to get a project done as quickly as possible.
It takes time during the planning phase of any given project to create effective project plans, risk strategies, communication plans etc. Depending upon the organizational culture, often times Project Managers by pass critical planning activities, which have a significant impact on the team’s ability to perform and meet the objectives that they are responsible for.
It is time well spent for Project Managers to prepare for challenges and to take the time needed earlier on in the project to learn and understand what motivates the teams that are responsible for making the project a success. This is a very important factor that many Project Managers may miss.
Leading a Team: the challenge of team-building, team development and team management. Specific challenges include how to instill pride in a team, how to support the team, and how to lead a cross functional team in multiple locations.
Lack of Clarity with Project Management Requirements – As every Project Manager knows, it is quite common to bypass some of the detailed requirements due to time constraints. This is always a project constraint later on during the development and testing phase and almost always causes, delays and ultimately impacts the team performance.
Lack of Resource Capacity Planning – It is quite often that there are a lack of resources and not enough planning to truly understand what efforts are involved for each resource. Frequently there is a big emphasis on the technology resources that are required, but not enough emphasis on gaining a clear understanding of what business subject matter experts are needed to support the project initiatives. Generally, resources are also asked to work on multiple projects and are constantly being pulled in many different directions. Over time, team members may feel over worked and under-appreciated, which impacts the overall team performance.
Tips to Overcome Common Challenges for Project Managers:
Team Buy In – Take the time to get team buy in from the start of the project. Ensure everyone on the team is in agreement about the project objectives and their skill sets to perform their responsibilities. Facilitate planning sessions and ensure team members have a clear understanding of what is expected.
Resource Commitment – Work with business and technology line managers to get commitment for resources that are assigned to the team. If this is not possible, resource issues should be escalated during the initiation and requirements phase.
Establish Open Communication – Provide an open dialogue for team members to share if they have too many concurrent assignments. Create an open-door policy so that there are no surprises later on.
Be a Project Champion – Let your team know that you are there to support them with whatever challenges they are faced with.
Be Courageous – Remove fears about raising issues no matter what the political environment is. Often times there are political environments that cause some Project Managers to lose their own personal empowerment to raise issues and risks. Project Managers need to consistently set the stage and lead by example.
Tell me your thoughts in the comments and let’s open a dialog. I would be excited to hear other opinions on this topic.
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