10 Typical Project Management Challenges Faced By Businesses

Author: Henry Bennett

One of the most common issues facing companies today is that they concentrate their management efforts on executing individual projects, but fail to understand the impact of these on the wider business. The result is a sub-optimal performance and lower returns for the business as a whole. The typical challenges facing business today when managing projects include:

  1. Misalignment between projects and their business objectives: The purpose of a project is to advance one or more business objectives. Most projects start out closely aligned with these objectives, but gaps inevitably appear. Projects drift and business objectives change and evolve. Without redirection, projects and deliverables end up failing to meet expectations.
  2. Late or delayed projects: Late projects wreak havoc, delaying the time at which a company can start reaping business benefits, thwarting precise payback period calculations and disrupting the long term return on investment.
  3. Dependency conflicts: Most projects are interrelated, sharing people, equipment, resources and deliverables. These dependencies mean that a single project delay has a significant ripple effect on related projects, disrupting schedules, causing resource conflicts and even triggering expensive contingencies, in order to minimise risks.
  4. Execution difficulties: Problematic execution wastes resources, time and opportunities, diverts management attention and hinders project delivery.
  5. Overlapping and redundant projects: Overlapping projects are responsible for major inefficiencies and wasted budgets, time and resources. At their worst, they undermine each other’s progress and potential benefits. Redundant and duplicative projects are also unprofitable, increasing costs, prolonging schedules and diverting resources from more deserving projects.
  6. Resource conflicts: Companies rarely have sufficient resources to staff all projects concurrently. As such, projects compete against each other for resources, and people are often assigned to several projects at the same time. Those with special expertise of scarce skills may be in high demand, causing bottlenecks.
  7. Unrealised business value: A project is a means to an end. Ultimately, every project generates deliverables that the company uses to derive business value. When those deliverables arrive late or are incomplete, the business loses opportunities – whether to earn revenues, acquire customers or perhaps fix a problem.
  8. Diffused decision making: Many executives are unable to obtain the right information at the right time to effectively understand the present position of the business in order to communicate unwelcome surprises and/or communicate potential opportunities before the competition.
  9. No accountability: Failure to continuously monitor and communicate project milestones in real time, and budget performance, dilutes project accountability and responsibility.
  10. Fragmentation: Fragmented planning and resource processes and tolls lead to an inability to systematically communicate and fine tune multiple project scenarios, resulting in regular unforeseen slippages and problems.

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