About The Author
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Dr. Asit Chandra Dash 1 article
Residence: IN Bengaluru, Karnataka
Manager Program Management on Digital transformation, at Sapient
Prince2, ACSM
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A professional with 14+ years of experience in areas of in Development, training, recruitment, people management, and project management and Scrum.


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Project Management challenges in IT

While project management or project manager term sounds very crisp and light from outside considering no technical work involved in it, but it’s not less than running a big and complex business center. It includes resources, projects, deadlines, communications, reporting, budgets, cost, and revenue.On the way to complete the project(s), the team, as well as the project managers, face many challenges to carry out the goal. I have gone through a few points on the same topic, however, I also agree, this discussion is very vast considering other valid points. Few of the common challenges faced by the PM nowadays are discussed in below points.

No clarity in Goals :

The first major challenge that project managers and team members are facing, is on the expectation of the project. If the goals and objectives are not clearly defined, there are chances of failure for the project. When no one is aware of the “whats”, “whys” and “whens” of the project, that will create a lot of confusion and chaos. Starting a project without clear goals, specific direction and prepared plan; it’s like going on an endless road without knowing the destiny and finally, there are chances of getting lost. Also, the time and effort will be wasted. There is also a loss to the business aims too.In order to avoid this, nowadays most of the projects, start with kick-off meetings where people belonging to the team of workers are available, and they try to understand the requirements and goals of the project. Although it's understood that requirement-change by the client is always a part of project delivery, but the team can get the initial context from project kick-off meetings.

Unrealistic Deadlines:

This is another reason which leads to project failure. Sometimes the people from marketing team gives a very unrealistic time and deadlines to get success in project bidding. It helps in getting the project, however, once the project starts, the original workload reveals, and the team struggles to meet the deadline. This leads to client dissatisfaction. In some cases, there are unrealistic expectations coming from the client as well as the stakeholder side. The client wants changes in the middle of the project within the same budget and deadline. This creates a lot of problems for the manager as well as the team members who work. As everything is constant here, the only way to meet this , is to increase the team capacity which is costly for the vendor team.

Frequent Scope change-

Frequent scope change is seen in most of the projects nowadays. Its seen that when the project starts its requirements and ways are different, but as it progresses it is felt in a different way. It even does not look like the project which was initially started. Although it's understood that no project is free from scope change, but the changes should be minimal. A lot of small changes lead to big change, which can create a problem . This puts the project manager in a difficult situation when the project is not completed within the assigned time. Basically, these changes are now taken care as change requests from the original scope of work and considered for other timelines with cost, budget and effort. On the other hand, if it is taken care without extra effort, it can lead to an extension in timelines and resources

Inadequate Skills

A team can really excel if its team members are experienced and efficient. Although it is not possible to get all the star performers in one place but at least 70-80% efficient resources can lead the team in the right direction. They can understand the requirement easily and, they can handle small requirement changes come in between. They are shown the road map and they act accordingly.But nowadays its seen that IT organizations are getting projects, but they do not have adequate well-equipped people with them to work. They only show the number of people available to do the task. In the organization, people are given the task/assignments based on their availability not as per their ability. Sometimes people are forced by leaders to work in other technologies which takes time for them to understand and work. They start working by force, not by choice, which demotivates the people and it persuades them to leave the organization. This leads to loss of efficient resources in the organization and difficulty in getting the people with the right expertise. Once people leave from a project its difficult for the managers to deliver the project in time.

New people joining the team take their own time to understand the requirements to work. Giving training and stating the project work is a time-consuming process to execute the project. Main idea is to keep around 70-80 % core team intact and keep on giving training to newly joined ,in regular intervals.

Improper communication :

Communication is one of the key factors for project success or failure. All Progress needs to be communicated among the stakeholders so that everybody is aware of the track. Risk, issues, and dependencies are to be communicated to the people to take the corrective action before time instead of last moment. Giving assignments and correct next steps to the team is also considered as part of proper project communication. It also needs to be taken care that the communication is effective. Sometimes people depend a lot on email communication and they do not work till the time the email is responded but it’s not a correct communication process when there is some urgency. People should not wait long for the other party to email and respond. They should go into calls and get the things sorted out immediately. It is correct that everybody should go through all the emails however there are chances of missing any emails -due to human errors. So sometimes its also required to communicate the people through chats, calls, etc. That increase the efficiency of communication in getting the work done. If the stakeholders are not communicated properly, they are not able to know the status and progress of the project. The main reason behind this is again the lack of responsibility where a person forgets to communicate the things happening on the ground. It may happen from the PM side as well as the other stakeholder side. Whatever may be the case but in both the case the risk is on the project. So, this is a challenge in project management.

Geographically distributed teams:

Basically, projects need combined effort to finish the goals. It requires team collaboration for the smooth execution.N ow due to the evolution of the distributed models the teams are in different geographical areas. But this also creates lots of issues during the execution of the project. The first problem is the way we think. There is always a thinking of “we “ vs “they”. Here “We” means the people at our shore whom we meet in the office every day and “they” means the people who are present on other shores. This moves us from the working group. People are not taking responsibilities thinking that it will be done from other shores.Sometimes if the development team is from a remote location its difficult for the PM to track regularly. Sometimes it is felt that the people in a remote location are in the dark if there is small miss or mistake in communicating them on updates, action item, and next steps.

Improper Risk identification:

Identifying the risk and getting a proper mitigation plan is one of the major tasks for the project manager. In some cases, it is found that the risks are not identified at all or in some cases its found that the risks are identified in a later stage of project execution. In both cases, it impacts the project. Sometimes it delays the project and sometimes it made the project to stop from execution. The main challenge here is the proper communication of the issues and dependencies which causes the starting of risk. If it is known to the PM in an earlier stage, he can manage to make the project come out of that. But in the cases where there is no early knowledge of the risk, its very difficult for the project manager to mitigate. 

Issues within a team:

This is one of the biggest challenges during project execution. Working with inexperienced and unskilled people is very difficult. As these are the people who develop the code and build the project, without their support it's difficult to progress in the project. One more point to consider is the team conflicts. Blame game, the conflict between the team members, ego clashes are very common nowadays. It is considered that the resolution of these is the responsibility of the project manager in some companies which leads to disturbances in regular project execution. Sometimes senior leadership takes some decision without asking PMs and knowledge of proper project background(eg-resource movement from a project) . That may create delays in project execution and increase the risk of not delivering on time. So now a days few companies started involving HR people to resolve these issues.

No or lack of accountability:

Now a day’s people are not ready to take accountability. It's not their problem but it was not properly communicated to them when they get corporate training. The boundary of the roles and responsibility is not properly defined. They can not understand the priority of the tasks. As the tasks are technical in nature so they must take their own task and get them to closure. In this situation, the PM must acknowledge the team to know about their accountability during project work. But if the team is very big and people are not taking the accountability of their work, it’s difficult for the project manager to give that details to team members one by one.

Diffused decision making:

Although decision-making is a part of the project management process, but sometimes due to external factors the proper decision is not taken. In a few cases, it is seen that there is a decision coming from the senior leadership who are actually not aware of the ongoing situation in the project. This creates a challenge for the project manager to overcome the situation from all sides.


Published at pmmagazine.net with the consent of Asit Chandra Dash
Source of the article: {Linkedin} on [2019-04-04]