Updated: Jul 29
Project management is a crucial aspect of any organization, especially project-based ones. It involves planning, organizing, and controlling resources to achieve specific goals. However, despite its importance, project management is not without its challenges. The Project Management Institute (PMI) conducts regular surveys to identify the most significant project management challenges that organizations face. In this blog post, I will discuss some of the largest project management challenges based on PMI survey data and how to overcome them.
Source: PMI Survey Data.
Poorly trained Project Managers
Poorly trained project managers can be a significant challenge to successful project performance in organizations. Without proper training, project managers may not have the necessary skills to effectively plan, execute, and control projects. This can lead to cost overruns, missed deadlines, and poor-quality deliverables. Organizations can address this challenge by investing in training and development programs for their project managers. I can assist with project management training based real-world experience and using case studies from my experience.
Attempting to run too many projects
Attempting to run too many projects simultaneously can also be a major challenge to successful project performance. When organizations try to juggle too many projects at once, they risk spreading their resources too thin, resulting in delays, decreased quality, and increased costs. To address this challenge, organizations should prioritise their projects and ensure that they have the necessary resources to execute them effectively. I can help assess and address resource shortages in project management.
A lack of project funding
A lack of project funding can also hinder successful project performance. When projects are underfunded, they may not have the resources needed to achieve their goals.
See my blog post: https://www.markcowleyservices.com/post/4-key-steps-to-successfully-creating-a-project-control-budget for more guidance on estimating and establishing a robust project control budget.
Organizations must ensure that their projects are appropriately funded, and that funding is allocated based on the project's strategic importance.
Inconsistency in approach
Inconsistency in approach can also be a challenge to successful project performance. When different projects are managed using different methods and tools, it can be difficult to compare and evaluate their success.
To address this challenge, organizations should establish standardized project management processes and tools. I can help with development of such processes and tools and support the implementation of them including training of project personnel.
Doing the wrong projects (lack of strategic alignment)
Doing the wrong projects that lack strategic alignment can lead to wasted resources and missed opportunities.
To avoid this challenge, organizations must ensure that their projects are aligned with their strategic objectives, and that they are prioritizing the right projects.
Lack of appropriate software
Lack of appropriate software can also hinder successful project performance. Without the right software tools, project managers may struggle to track progress, communicate with team members, and manage project risks. Organizations should invest in software that is specifically designed for project management. I can help with the selection of the right software tools to support project delivery in your organisation.
Lack of senior management (internal stakeholder) support
Stakeholder management is also a critical challenge that organizations face. The PMI survey data shows that stakeholder management involves identifying, analyzing, and managing stakeholders' expectations, interests, and involvement in the project.
Lack of senior management (key internal stakeholders) support can also be a significant challenge to successful project performance. When senior leaders are not invested in a project's success, it can be difficult to secure the resources and support needed to execute the project effectively.
To overcome this challenge, it is essential to identify all stakeholders and their needs and expectations at the outset of the project. Regular communication and engagement with stakeholders can help ensure that their needs and expectations are met. See my blog post: https://www.markcowleyservices.com/post/a-cautionary-tale-of-a-rookie-mistake-in-stakeholder-management on the importance of stakeholder identification & management.
Poor resource management
Resource management is another significant challenge that organizations face. The PMI survey data shows that resource management involves managing resources such as people, time, and money.
Overcoming this challenge requires a clear understanding of resource needs and the availability of resources. It is essential to have a resource management plan in place that outlines how resources will be allocated and managed. I can assist with developing a resource planning and allocation process for your organisation.
Poorly trained Project Sponsors
Poorly trained project sponsors can also be a challenge to successful project performance. Without the necessary skills and knowledge, project sponsors may not be able to provide the support and guidance needed to ensure project success.
I can help to train & coach your project sponsors on their role and understanding of project management and execution.
Lack of governance
Lack of governance can also hinder successful project performance. When there is no clear governance structure in place, projects may lack direction and oversight. Organizations should establish a governance structure that ensures projects are aligned with the organization's strategic objectives and that progress is monitored and reported regularly.
I can help develop and put in place a project governance system for your organisation.
Lack of planning skills
Project planning is another significant challenge that organizations face. The PMI survey data shows that project planning involves developing a detailed project plan that outlines project goals, scope, resources, timelines, and risks.
To overcome this challenge, it is essential to have a comprehensive project plan in place that outlines project goals, deliverables, timelines, and resource requirements. Regular updates and reviews of the project plan can help ensure that the project stays on track.
Project Planning is one of my strengths and in which I have extensive experience. See this blog post: https://www.markcowleyservices.com/post/5-key-steps-to-create-the-perfect-project-plan. See also these posts too:
Ineffectively implement EPM/ PPM solution
Ineffectively implementing EPM/PPM solutions can also hinder successful project performance. When software solutions are not implemented effectively, they may not provide the expected benefits.
Organizations should ensure that they have the necessary expertise and resources to implement EPM/PPM solutions effectively.
I can help with the selection and implementation of project performance management software, I am a recognised authority on project digital delivery planning and solutions.
Poor risk management
Risk management is a critical challenge that organizations face. The PMI survey data shows that risk management involves identifying, analyzing, and managing project risks.
To overcome this challenge, it is essential to have a risk management plan in place that identifies potential risks and outlines mitigation strategies. Regular reviews and updates of the risk management plan can help ensure that the project stays on track.
I can help to implement project risk management best practices and tools (including digital tools where possible).
Frequent changes to scope/managing change
The PMI survey data shows that managing change is the most significant project management challenge that organizations face. Change can come in various forms, such as changes in scope, resources, or timelines.
Managing change requires a flexible project management approach that allows for adjustments to be made when necessary. To overcome this challenge, it is essential to have a change management plan in place that outlines how changes will be evaluated, approved, and implemented.
I can help implement a standardised, proactive and robust project change management work process.
Poor project selection process.
Poor project selection process can also lead to projects that are poorly aligned with organisational goals or that lack the necessary resources.
Organisations need a project screening procedure that ensures the projects that align with the organisations' goals and objectives and also takes into consideration resource availability.
Lack of visibility of project status
Lack of visibility of project status is another challenge that organisations face when trying to achieve successful project performance. When project stakeholders do not have a clear understanding of a project's status, it can be difficult to identify issues early and take corrective action. This can lead to missed deadlines, cost overruns, and quality issues.
To address this challenge, organizations must establish clear communication channels and reporting processes that ensure that project stakeholders have access to up-to-date information about project status. This can be achieved through the use of project management tools that provide real-time information on project progress, milestones, and risks. By having clear visibility of project status, organizations can take proactive measures to address issues and ensure that their projects are delivered on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards.
I can assist to set up project status reporting and dashboards wherever possible driven from digital tools and information.
Source: PMI Survey data.
In conclusion, project management is an essential function in any organisation. However, it is not without its challenges. The PMI survey data shows that managing change, resource management, stakeholder management, project planning, and risk management are the most significant project management challenges that organisations face. By having comprehensive plans in place and regularly reviewing and updating them, organizations can overcome these challenges and successfully complete their projects.
Do get in touch if you feel I could help with the project management challenges in your organisation.