It is no secret, that project management is more than just following deadlines and overseeing work. No matter the size of the company, managers have to take on various roles to make sure their team reaches the desired result. This role juggling may be well known to the experienced project managers, but for those still ranking up their expertise, multiple hurdles await.
Check out our list of the most common project management daily struggles and their solutions.
- The lack of motivation within the team
When managing a group of people all in pursuit of the same results, you will inevitably find yourself dealing with team members that seem to have lost their drive. It will put your project behind and influence the rest of the team in a negative way. When faced with such a situation, it is important to remember that it is your job, not to only create the plans for the future, but to also make sure the team is motivated to complete them.
Our tip: Always pay attention to what is going on. If you notice someone is losing interest, talk to them one on one and figure out the root problems. This will show the team member that you care and let you find a suitable solution for everyone.
- Focusing on the wrong things at the wrong time
It is only natural that your team will get distracted from time to time, you will too. However, as the project manager you will have to look out and prevent the distractions that can actually hurt your project. While a coffee break is more than necessary to recharge, you have to be aware of unrelated work and inaccurate priority assignments to keep your team on track.
Our tip: A good way to keep track of what your team is doing are daily or weekly meetings where everyone presents their progress and plans. Here you can quickly identify if someone is focusing on the wrong tasks and adjust their course of action before the team suffers a setback.
- Selling the unpopular decisions to the clients and the team
The reality of any project manager’s routine is that unpopular decisions simply have to be made. Whether it is to save money or to make sure the project actually gets completed, you will not only have to make them, but to also sell them to the clients and the team. It is up to you to put everyone on board and in agreement.
Our tip: While this may seem daunting, it is you that holds the facts and logic behind each decision. So when you go in for the sale, make sure to base your pitch on those facts before anything else. Most likely, the other side also bases their decisions on logic and will be more likely to accept a decision backed by facts, rather than anything else.
- Resolving the many many conflicts
However, no matter how reasonable the team and the stakeholders are, there will be conflict. It may be the little things, it may be the big things, but it will always be the project manager that is called in to solve them in a calm and collected manner.
Our tip: Leave all of the familiarities behind. When solving a conflict, forget any personal relationships you may have with the parties involved, only this way you will be able to listen to both sides, see who is in the right and find an amicable solution that would benefit all. Granted, this may seem like an impossible task at times, but go in with a rational mind and you will find it easier than you thought.
- Fixing the issues
Unfortunately for most projects a time will come, when there will be issues and problems to be dealt with. Maybe something is not working out the way you planned, a supplier is late or something else just happened, the solution will have to be found. And it should be a good one that lasts the team for a while, not just provides a temporary fix.
Our tip: Instead of focusing on the consequence of the problem or its symptoms, try and find out the root cause behind it. This will allow you to look at the problem in a broader way and to make sure you can find a solution that prevents the problem from occurring ever again.
- Repeating mistakes of the past
While it is important for project managers to look forward, it is also key to not forget the past. More often than not, teams fall into bad habits and repeat harmful behaviors over and over again. In such case, project managers have to find a way of making the team to learn from past mistakes instead of repeating them.
Our tip: The best way to make sure your team is not repeating mistakes is having them to admit they made them in the first place. Organize a meeting after each project to discuss what was done right and not and have the team members discuss and look for solutions. This way they will be more accepting to criticism and willing to change.
What are you daily struggles as a project manager and how do you solve them? Share with us in the comments below!