There is no denying the importance of project management within a business, and the focus of any project manager is to ensure tasks are completed successfully. The role of a project manager is a varied one that includes budgeting, resource management, communication and risk management. It’s a project manager's job to ensure goals are met, projects are delivered and delays are avoided wherever possible. However, this is not always easy. Below, we have taken a look at three of the main challenges today’s project managers are facing.
1 - Projects Going Over Budget
One of the main things a project manager must keep track of is the budget, even when staying within the budget is difficult. 35% of project managers say that around half of their projects go over budget, which can hugely impact the company’s bottom line. This is largely due to the work required changing, or unexpected circumstances arising. Any business can be affected by going over budget, but SMEs struggle more than most due to not having the funds available to cover the additional costs.
Thankfully, there are things a project manager can do to keep a project within a set budget. Estimating costs accurately makes a huge difference, and there is software available to help with this. Another thing a project manager can do is manage how much the scope of a project changes; if it looks like things might go over budget, the scope of the project can be changed before the costs suddenly rise. This can be done by changing or omitting certain project features.
It’s also beneficial to have a contingency fund, to help cover the unexpected costs that come with a project going over budget. With a fund in place, project managers can reduce the financial impact of a project going over budget and won’t find themselves struggling with a project they can no longer afford.
2 - Being Held Back by Restrictions and Regulations
According to recent figures, around two thirds of project managers are affected by restrictions and regulations in the workplace. This could be in the form of a company using outdated systems or by not being informed of relevant industry regulations before the project began. Any type of restriction or regulation can hold a project back and hinder work, which a project manager then has to handle. They have the challenge of ensuring that work is done efficiently, even when they are faced with hurdles and the wrong resources.
Project managers can overcome restrictions and regulations in a number of ways. For example, regularly reviewing and updating processes reduces the chances of being faced with unexpected barriers. Improving communication can also make a significant difference, as this cuts down the likelihood of someone not being up to date with a task. Project managers should encourage team members to share information with one another, and stay as up to date as possible.
If improving and simplifying operations is not an option, hiring a consultant might be a worthwhile consideration. Someone with expertise in this area will be able to highlight where a company can improve processes to ensure they are as efficient and streamlined as possible.
3 - Difficulties in Approving New Software
Regardless of the industry, businesses are turning to software more and more. However, project managers often face difficulties when it comes to being approved to use new software. A lot of businesses have very specific processes for adopting new software, and this rarely happens overnight. This can be difficult for project managers, who don’t have the time to wait weeks or months before new software is put into action.
A lot of small and medium sized businesses don’t have the budget for the latest software, which can make it difficult for project managers to get updated software approved. Not only do project managers need to showcase why the software is important, but they need to convince those higher up in the company to invest.
Asking for a demo of the software can help project managers to showcase how it would benefit the business, as well as helping them to be confident that it’s the right software for the project type. It’s also a good idea to curate information on how the software will improve project efficiency and reduce costs overall.
Project Managers Need to Stay Ahead of the Trends
The world of project management is always evolving, which is why project managers need to stay ahead of the trends. Understanding the challenges and trends within the project management sector can help individuals to better control tasks, their team and the project as a whole.