4 solutions for common project management problems

Projects are a fact of life. That’s why an effective, step-by-step project management process can benefit everyone. But, even with a process in place, problems can arise.

iStock_000026784565_SmallAddressing issues early can increase effectiveness and determine success, says Eileen Twitchell of the Corporate Education Group, who led a recent NICSA webinar entitled, “Project management for everyone: a non-technical approach.”

Here are solutions to 4 common project management problems:

Problem #1: Lack of clarity

Solution:  Ask more questions and do your homework upfront.

The initial information-gathering phase of a project is one of the most important. Remember:  There’s no such thing as a stupid question. Begin with the 5 Ws:

  • Who are we doing it for?
  • What are we doing?
  • When are we doing it?
  • Where are we doing it?
  • Why are we doing it?

Then review your draft project description with all stakeholders to ensure everyone’s on the same page.

Problem#2:  Project goals aren’t measurable (or attainable)

Solution:  Make a smart checklist that defines specific, measurable objectives.

Ask: What does “done” look like? What does “success” look like? Goals must be attainable and relevant to keep everyone engaged and focused.

Problem #3:  Scope creep

Solution:  Define scope clearly upfront.

The traditional project management model has a triple constraint:

  1. Time
  2. Scope
  3. Resources

Scope creep happens when the project’s scope grows, but time and resources don’t change. When scope is clearly defined from the beginning, it’s easier to avoid.

Problem #4: Time crunch

Solution: Factor all steps carefully into the timeline.

Scope the entire project out and put it in writing. Break it down into major categories and then break it down further to the task level (use verbs!). Most people underestimate how long a task will take to complete.

How would you rate the success of past projects you’ve worked on? Do you have suggestions for making the project management process easier? Please share your thoughts with NICSA.

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