Thoughts of a Project Managers about “Challenges in project management”
We know that project management is not a single word. It is one of the depth areas where you and I can discuss about. There are many skills, processes, tools and techniques as well as knowledge areas. Project management is the combination of all of this. A firm or an organisation will face various types of challenges during the project’s lifecycle. It is not only the particular organisations’ challenge, it is the challenge of a project manager and the entire stakeholders as well. These challenges will increase but may become less acute depending on the company structure and project category.
As I had gone through different projects, with short duration and long duration, I am indeed the opinion that project challenges do not depend on the project size. It depends on several factors.
We can say that the most challenging areas of project management for a project manager are mainly these seven types.
1. Project management triangle: time, cost, scope/quality
The biggest and one of the most important challenges we all face in our projects is the following: We want to deliver the projects to the agreed objectives, on time and within budget. In my opinion as a project manager, schedule management is one of the most difficult tasks in project delivery according to the triple constraint of the project. This time factor must be balanced in relation to the overall scope of the project. A project manager can make every effort to achieve this at the final delivery. If objectives and scope are not clearly identified, the whole project and the team may suffer. Scope changes are also one of the biggest challenges, also known as "scope creep", that I face on many of my projects; in many of these cases, customers have requested a change in specification and final scope. Obviously the same should be revised in the contract as well.
2. Project resources
Every project and every organisation depends on effective deployment and finite adequate project resources, whether it is manpower, machinery or infrastructure. In my opinion, the lack of resources will certainly always be a challenge for a work planning and also for an ongoing task, so the main task of a project manager is to use the resources and to deploy them with reference to the progress of the project with the amount provided in the budget. Proper resource planning and utilisation is also one of the skills of a project manager.
3. Stakeholders and people
Stakeholders are probably the most important resource in any project, and as a project manager I have faced the challenge of controlling their expectations on many occasions. Stakeholder management also plays an important role in project management to become a successful project manager, and stakeholder management is quite important for project success. Yes, it is an organisational role that enables people to be managed efficiently.
A lack of stakeholder engagement is also a risk for a project, as disinterested team members, executives and customers can also ruin projects. In my opinion, only a skilled project manager can communicate openly and encourages stakeholders at every stage of the project to create a great workflow and good team coordination.
4. Project management communication
Project management inputs, tools and techniques as well as outputs and project details should be transparent to all stakeholders and team members who are jointly involved in the project during the project life cycle with the project manager. As a project manager it is my first duty to inform my project team about all project details and techniques that we can use during the project life cycle to achieve the final project objectives. Yes, at many points I have faced major challenges due to a lack of communication, conflicts between the teams and internal politics. If we have a better strong collaboration, this will be always some help for the project management. So, a project manager always needs to make sure that there is proper communication and transparency.
5. Technical challenges
During the project life cycle, a project manager always expects technical changes. I can say that in many cases the technical requirements can change depending on the customer's needs, or the uniqueness of the project. So as a project manager I must always be qualified to face these challenges during my projects. Many times, I have had to face continuous drawings revisions, BOM changes, technical scope creep and so on.
6. Legal and Statutory
We know that a company has to deal with law and legislation when embarking on a project. The organisation must therefore determine which legal system it will apply to its projects when operating at national and international level. There will also be various statutory approvals before and after project execution, such as licenses and government approval, which are required to set up the project. A project manager is therefore always up to date to avoid last-minute project delays.
7. Project Environments
Knowing that a project is not carried out in a vacuum, a project manager, in order to deliver or execute a successful project, must be aware of the internal and external factors that can affect the project.
About the author:
Mahesh Ev is a project manager with more than 11 years of practical experience. He has enhancing exposure of procurement and construction projects through methodical planning, scheduling, application of appropriate project controls, relentless monitoring of costs and risks as well as optimal utilisation of resources.
Key words: Project management, Tip, Guide, Resource management, Communication