Starting a project can sometimes feel like being at the beginning of an obstacle course race. If you have ever participated in one, you will know what I mean: there are going to be challenges, is exhausting, messy, and there might be a few tears along the way. Project management works a bit like an obstacle course race. Although you have to do as much preparation as possible for months, and you feel that you are ready for it, you can’t plan for the obstacles that you’ll encounter during the course of the project.
However, with the right software at your fingertips, any project management challenges that arise during the race can be mitigated.
The importance of project management in business
The role of the project manager is key in the success of a project. Sticking with the sports theme, the role is a bit like a coach who analyses every move the team does and is ready to call a timeout, if necessary, to redirect the strategy. The project manager is responsible for not only designing the project, but making sure that it’s realistic and is executed within the agreed time frame by the project team, as well as the management of it.
Starting from scratch as a project leader can feel a bit daunting: deadlines, management of the project team, reporting and goals needed to be met in order to complete the project and make it a success can make the project manager and feel like it is an unattainable goal.
Luckily, there are more than 700 project management software options in the UK that can help address some of the unexpected challenges that may arise during the management of a project – looking at improving collaboration, visibility and a more agile approach to project management.
In this post we’ll help you identify the main challenges that can emerge during a project and, most importantly, how to target them using the right software.
Problem number one: Communication
At the beginning of a project keeping track of communication is an easy task. However, as the project evolves and more people get involved in it project team grows, both management and keeping communication efficient can become a challenge: emails pile up with the risk of being left unread.
- Solution: Opting for a project management software that allows your team to share documents and have real-time conversations can dramatically decrease the number of emails and streamline communications across teams. The BBC implemented Slack to improve collaboration across the teams involved in the launch of a new trial of streaming matches in Ultra High Definition (UHD) during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Through the use of a dedicated channel for the project, the project manager and teams could easily report any incidents and updates with all the members involved in the project, being able to tackle any incidents almost in real-time.
Problem number two: Visibility
Once the project is up and running, it can be more difficult for the project manager to keep track of different aspects of the project, for example what tasks have been actioned and which ones haven’t.
- Solution: Allow teams to organise and share projects in an agile way, for example on a common platform where they can communicate with each other and see what the other team members are working on. American restaurant chain BurgerFi used Trello to unify the goals and objectives and share them with the 300 staff that the company has across the country. By implementing Trello, the company has improved its employee communication and visibility of projects being done across different teams.
Problem number three: Scope
‘Scope creep’ is probably the most feared term for a project manager. If you are not familiar with it, it’s defined as “any changes, continuous or uncontrolled growth in a project’s scope, at any point after the project begins.”
Developing (and sticking to) a project scope is one of the most important tasks for a project manager, with 27% of projects going over budget. When looking to create the project scope it’s important to take into account the work that needs to be done to achieve the goals, the required staff members and the budget.
- Solution: To ensure you’re on top of the project make sure you’re keeping track of the important features to avoid any unexpected changes in the scope. Choosing an agile software solution that allows you to have visibility of budget and resource management, as well as time and expense tracking, will help you stay on top of this. John Lewis Partnership used Asana to help manage different projects in the UX team to design internal HR solutions aimed at employees. The team used the tool to help manage the workload and keep track of the workflow, making sure there were no unplanned tasks crawling and all team members were up-to-date with the progress of the project.
Choosing the right partner
Some obstacle course races are based on teamwork and if you don’t have the right partner on your team, you’ll lose the race. The right software can be the perfect teammate. For more information on project management software, why not looking at our listing to find which one would be most suited to your needs.