10 Major Project Management Challenges and Ways to Overcome Them

Vikram Deo

Vikram Deo

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: July 6, 2021

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A study by Harvard Business Review revealed that almost 70 percent of IT projects face delays in completion. Besides, one in every six projects costs more than 200 percent of the estimated amount.

As a project manager, it’s your responsibility to manage and balance different project elements — time, scope, money, and people. In other words, managing projects is not a cakewalk. You have to ensure proper communication while also foreseeing potential risks, amongst other things. 

To help, here is the list of the 10 most common challenges faced by every project manager, and how you can overcome them. 

Most Common Project Management Challenges

Challenge #1: Keeping Teams on One System 

For every project manager, one of the major project management problems is to ensure that all the team members stay aligned. Moreover, with the growing remote working work-culture, it has become tougher than ever. 

For smooth operation, the project manager needs to know what every member is working on and what they require to remove the possibility of duplication of work. 

How to deal with it?

It’s crucial to keep your entire team on the same page. You can do that by bringing all the communication about the project on a single platform. 

There are many project management tool to compare like as Monday vs Trello and Asana, that enable managers to assign and schedule tasks to every employee. Project managers can have a clear view of the calendar and stay on top of your schedule. 

Looking for Project Management Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of Best Project Management Software solutions.

Challenge #2: Lack of Clear Goals and Objectives

A study found that 30% of projects fail due to a lack of properly defined project goals and objectives. 

Clarity is one of the quintessential requirements for the successful completion of the project. Without clearly defined goals, project managers and other team members may not know what exactly to expect from the project. 

How to deal with it?

The best approach is to set SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. A project manager needs to come up with a way for quantifying project progress by setting up different milestones. 

Challenge #3: Inadequate Team Skills 

In simple terms, the success of project completion highly depends on individual skill levels. You can create an ideal work environment for your team members. But if they aren’t skilled enough to perform assigned tasks, it can put the development of the project at risk. 

Most often, tasks are assigned based on availability and not on their expertise. This is a huge project management challenge that can be solved with experience. 

How to deal with it?

A collaborative project management guide first pre-determines the core set of skills needed to accomplish the workload. Thereafter, they assess the strengths and weaknesses of the available workforce. This helps them determine if they need additional staff or require training to enhance their knowledge. 

Challenge #4: Team Work Challenges 

To manage teamwork successfully requires equal participation from every member. However, the team consists of varying personalities, and catering to every individual’s needs can be challenging for a project manager. 

With so many individuals involved in a project, some disagreements are bound to happen. It can have a negative impact if not handled properly. 

How to deal with it? 

As a project manager, you need to find ways to help members connect with one another. For instance, you can organize a happy hour meeting every week with the sole purpose to help members get to know each other. 

This will help remove any issues or negativity between them, fostering a positive work environment. Building trust amongst team members can go a long way. 

Challenge #5: Unrealistic Deadlines

In this world of fierce competition, clients, and stakeholders are often seen setting unrealistic expectations from their employees. As a result, most project deadlines slip for having an impossible timeline set for project completion. 

A well-disciplined project manager would know the capability of the project team. They should negotiate the project timeline accordingly so that the quality of the work doesn’t get compromised.

How to deal with it?

The best approach is to take inputs from all the stakeholders and collectively decide on a deadline. With proper planning and alternative analysis, this project management problem can be taken care of.

Challenge #6: Resource Deprivation

Another reason for a project backlog is generally the lack of resources. It could be in terms of money, resources, or even time. Most project managers consider financial issues as one of the major obstacles in project completion.

It’s essential that the management offer sufficient resources to run the project effectively.

How to deal with it?

The project manager needs to adopt a proper planning procedure. Avoid making any unrealistic assumptions to avoid cost overrun and strive for better results.

Challenge #7: Risk Management

Projects rarely go as planned. One of the important aspects of project management is having foresight for identifying potential risks. Risk management is one of the most common projects management challenges that managers have to deal with. 

These risks can be in the form of hidden flaws in the project plan or the fluctuating market demands. But these unknown factors can impact the success of a project. 

How to deal with it?

It’s impossible to predict every potential risk, but the risk can be minimized with strategic planning. Besides, it is the responsibility of a project manager to develop alternate plans if the projects start to spiral out of control.

There are many risk management solutions that collect and analyze previous as well as current market data to help identify and mitigate risk. 

Challenge #8: Project Quality Management

Very often, project managers are seen struggling with maintaining the quality of the project defined. They have a hard time keeping track of the performance level of every team member and ensuring that they are adhering to quality standards.

How to deal with it?

Luckily, there are many quality management tools available in the market. However, the trick lies in choosing the right technology for your project team. A well-designed quality management software will ensure that you get full visibility into all your tasks. Further, it sends out immediate alerts in case the quality of the work drops from the pre-defined level. 

Challenge #9: Lack of Communication

Sometimes lack of communication, or miscommunications, gets in the way of delivering projects on time. Whether you are giving instructions or seeking information, there’s always a challenge of maintaining open and transparent communication.

Effective communication is highly critical for a successful project. In fact, Deloitte revealed that 32% of professionals describe communication as the most significant issue in project management. 

How to deal with it?

To avoid any conflicts or delays caused due to miscommunication, the project manager must establish a clear communication line. They can rely on a collaborative platform to ensure that all the information is clearly communicated to everyone involved, without any confusion. 

Challenge #10: Lack of Accountability

Accountability is very important, but only a few teams have it. When team members feel responsible and try to take accountability for the tasks assigned to them, only then a project team can perform well as a whole. 

How to deal with it?

This project management problem can be easily solved by clearly defining every individual’s roles and responsibilities. Once the roles are defined, it becomes easy to trace back the accountability of a task completed. 

Wrap Up

Project management is much more than just aiming to complete the project on time. It’s a skill that requires patience and perseverance. Effective project management skills can be acquired with experience and adequate training to help evaluate and improve one’s skills.

Remember, continuing learning is the first step towards overcoming any obstacle that comes your way. 

Vikram Deo
With an experience of 11 years, in the industry, and having the uncanny ability to convert difficult concepts into engaging content, Vikram has the ability to perfectly insert gusto into content. When he is not researching about new marketing concepts and writing to attract, he enjoys the occasional fictional books and loves playing with his 2 dogs When he is not researching about new marketing concepts and writing to attract, he enjoys the occasional fictional books and loves playing with his 2 dogs"

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  1. Great post Vikram! I’ve been using Restyaboard for my business for over a year now. The best opensource project management software with an easy to use UI and tons of integrations. I love it. It helps me to be more efficient with my clients and make better profits.


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