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Top Project Management Challenges Cheat Sheet by

Top 10 Project Management Challenges
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Introd­uction

Balancing the elements of a complex project - time, money, scope and people - is one of the jobs of a project manager. Project management training is an essential step for managing the unexpected obstacles project managers can face on a daily basis. To help put things in perspe­ctive, here is an overview of the top 10 project management challenges that project managers can encounter on the job.

PM Challenges Within Corporate Projects

1. Undefined Goals – When goals are not clearly identi­fied, the whole project and team can suffer. When upper management cannot agree to or support undefined goals, the project in question typically has little chance of succee­ding. The project manager must ask the right questions to establish and commun­icate clear goals from the outset.

2. Scope Changes – Also known as scope creep, this occurs when project management allows the project's scope to extend beyond its original object­ives. Clients and superv­isors may ask for changes to a project, and it takes a strong project manager to evaluate each request and decide how and if to implement it, while commun­icating the effects on budget and deadlines to all stakeh­olders.

Teamwork: Challenges For Project Managers

3. Inadequate Skills for the Project – A project sometimes requires skills that the project's contri­butors do not possess. Project management training can help a project leader determine the needed compet­encies, assess the available workers and recommend training, outsou­rcing or hiring additional staff.

4. Lack of Accoun­tab­ility – A project manager's leadership qualities can shine when each member of the team takes respon­sib­ility for his or her role in achieving project success. Conver­sely, a lack of accoun­tab­ility can bring a project to a complete halt. Finger­-po­inting and avoiding blame are unprod­uctive, but all-to­o-c­ommon features of flawed project manage­ment. Learning to direct teams toward a common goal is an important aspect of project management training.
 

PM Challenge: Dealing With Risk

5. Improper Risk Management – Learning to deal with and plan for risk is another important piece of project management training. Risk tolerance is typically a desirable project manager trait because projects rarely go exactly to plan. Gathering input, developing trust and knowing which parts of a project are most likely to veer off course are aspects of the project manager's job.

6. Ambiguous Contin­gency Plans – It's important for project managers to know what direction to take in predefined "­wha­t-i­f" scenarios. If contin­gencies are not identi­fied, the entire project can become mired in an unexpected set of problems. Asking others to identify potential problem areas can lead to a smooth and successful project.

PM and Commun­ication Challenges

7. Poor Commun­ication – Project managers provide direction at every step of the project, so each team leader knows what's expected. Effective commun­ication to everyone involved in the project is crucial to its successful comple­tion.
Project management training includes an emphasis on written and oral commun­ication skills
Proper commun­ication can help increase morale by establ­ishing clear expect­ations
Good project managers keep commun­ication and feedback flowing between upper management and team leaders

Managing Expect­ations: Important PM Attribute

8. Impossible Deadlines – A successful project manager knows that repeatedly asking a team for the impossible can quickly result in declining morale and produc­tivity. The odds of succes­sfully completing a project under unreas­onable deadlines are generally not feasible expect­ations.

9. Resource Depriv­ation – In order for a project to be run effici­ently and effect­ively, management must provide sufficient resources. Project management training shows how to define needs and obtain approval up front, and helps project managers assign and prioritize resources throughout the duration of a project.

10. Lack of Stakeh­older Engagement – A disint­erested team member, client, CEO or vendor can destroy a project. A skilled project manager commun­icates openly and encourages feedback at every step to create greater engagement among partic­ipants.

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