How To Overcome Project Challenges

Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 2:00 AM | Leave Comment

Every project has challenges that the project manager must overcome in order to finish it on time and within budget. These challenges may be in the form of tight deadlines, limited funding and not enough resources.

There are ways to overcome these issues and concerns no matter how much difficult they might seem in the beginning.

There are generally five challenges that may be common to all projects. But of course, when there are problems, there are solutions as well. You as a project manager have to be able to tackle them in a methodical and logical fashion.

  1. What to do when Deadlines are tight

    It just so happens that sometimes either the senior management or marketing guys want your team to finish the project yesterday. In other words, they have the deadline too tight and it would seem to be practically unachievable. The first thing you gotta do is to not panic.

    Collect all your strength and try to get the deadline extended. If it is way above your head and you just cannot get it delayed, then re-plan it and present it to concerned authorities. Make it obvious to them by how much you will be late.

    If the delay is more than 10% of the original more feasible deadline, then try and find more resources to help you deliver it within the new deadline.

    If you can’t get the necessary resources, then reduce scope of the project. Identify non-critical deliverable. Get your sponsor to agree that you can complete them after the deadline has passed.

  2. What to do when Budget is Limited

    These days many departments are running a tight ship so far as budgets are concerned. If your project budget has been cut back, then

    • See if you can find another sponsor in your organization to provide the additional funding required

    • You can negotiate with suppliers to take delayed payments

    • To reduce cost, you might want to rent equipment rather than buy

    • Negotiate with suppliers to reduce their costs

    • Reduce staff overtime and offer them unpaid leave when they have down time.

  3. What to do when Resources are limited

    In case your resources are limited, review your deliverable and ensure you focus on the critical ones first. Try and find people in your organization who can be borrowed to your project, without you being charged.

    If you can’t borrow the resources, then take time out each day to prioritize your tasks. Make sure everyone is spending their time wisely and efficiently. Work extra hours if necessary, but don’t let yourself and your team members burn out.

  4. What to do when Scope of the project changes

    Quite frequently, the scope of the project changes. If it does, then start by identifying the tasks on the critical path that must be done at all cost. Stick to them regardless of the change requests that arise.

    You ought to have project tasks prioritized at the beginning and got them approved by your sponsor. Make sure each priority is linked to a business objective, so that they are harder to change.

  5. What to do when Expectations go astray

    Expectations by senior managers and marketing department can go astray. They will always require that your project be delivered with less time, budget and resources. Like I said before, don’t panic.

    Your job as project manager is to manage others’ expectations. The way to do it is by under promising and over delivering. Always keep concerned people well informed, so they know what, how and when you will deliver the project.

In a Nutshell
By following the above tips, you can deliver the project with a smile, and gain a reputation for super-hero like qualities no matter how challenging it can be.

Courtesy of…

This column is © copyright to www.Method123.com and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.

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