According to an IBM study, only 40% of projects meet schedule, budget and quality goals. Further, they found that the biggest barriers to success are people factors. To beat this statistic it is important to have a closer look at the main reasons why projects fail. Interestingly, whether you are overseeing the improvements in a department, leading an innovative IT project, or building a startup, the challenges are often very similar.
Let’s have a closer look at the top challenges threatening your project’s success and how to overcome them.
1. Leadership challenges
If you have a favorite sports teams, you understand this principle. The same team that performs poorly under the leadership of one coach, can show improved results under the direction of a new coach. Similarly, improving your own leadership ability is the easiest way to increase project success since you have 100% control over it. Better leadership skills can help you improve your team’s communication, cooperation, productivity and more!
2. Team challenges
The dream of every project manager is to have a great team, but few get to experience it. A great team has the skill set necessary to move project from start to finish, the right personality mix to work well together, as well as enough diversity to challenge and push each other to achieve the best results. Having a dream team can be a reality. There are assessments you can use to improve your team synergy, creativity and agility. We can help you improve your team, contact us here to begin the conversation.
3. Communication challenges
A lack of effective communication is one of the most common challenges found in failing projects. Over the years, we have worked with organizations that have had these types of challenges:
- ineffective meetings eating up too much precious time
- infrequent meetings making it impossible to get the responses necessary
- important emails that were being buried and forgotten
- inefficient processes that resulted in a workload that was being duplicated
- implementation issues stemming from departmental wars that threatened the project
Effective communication can be tricky, but it is essential. The key to resolving this challenge is to communicate the right information to the right people at the right time in the right way.
In essence, stop being afraid of over-communicating your ideas; most projects fail due to lack of communication.
Conflict can bring even the best performing teams to a halt and can turn a great work environment into a nightmare. It sucks so-much-needed energy and it turns your team into zombies who fail to deliver innovative solutions.
A great way to lower conflict and communication challenges is to set clear expectations and establish the vision right from the beginning (or as needed). It is also important to identify sources of potential conflict among team members before they happen. Once you can anticipate potential problems, you can prevent them or resolve them early, before they bring your team to a halt.
5. Change friction challenges
People naturally resist the change, especially when it involves ideas they did not help initiate. It is crucial that project managers understand that change friction is natural. The reality is that some team members will have more difficulty embracing change than others. These individuals value stability and can foresee potential threats. Take advantage of these strengths by asking them to map out potential risks and find appropriate solutions to resolve them. You can also make them feel more at ease by extending deadlines and underlining which components will remain the same after the initiative is completed.
6. Accountability challenges
As we all know, projects would run much more smoothly if each team member did what they were supposed to do. On the other hand, when tasks start falling through the cracks, the project can come to a grinding halt. Remember, finger pointing and avoiding responsibility is unproductive. Ensure that proper accountability procedures are established from the beginning to keep your project moving in the desired direction.
7. Engagement challenges
A disengaged stakeholder can be a fellow team member, a client, a CEO, a board member or a vendor. Someone who is disengaged is not contributing to success of the project and they can destroy the project at any stage. It is your responsibility as project manager to continue communicating the vision with all the stakeholders and keep them engaged in the project.
What is standing in the way of your project’s successful implementation? How can you turn the obstacle into a stepping stone? Let’s move things forward!
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