Many IT projects succeed or fail based on the competency of their project managers. Furthermore, IT project management is not easy, especially when there are so many things to consider.
A project lead may have to deal with business analytics, data management, hardware installations, software development, virtualization, and a plethora of other IT services. All these should be skillfully carried out to meet the expectations of clients, and secure future contracts and projects.
But this is easier said than done. There are several common challenges in IT project management that can throw a spanner in the works. We’ll look into these in more detail below, which will hopefully give you better foresight for your upcoming project.
1. Poor Communication
Never commence a project without ensuring that you have established clear communication with clients, team members, upper management, and investors. Poor communication will derail or potentially kill off any project, even if your team is highly experienced.
Ensure that you’ve staffed your team with employees that know how to communicate clearly, and utilize all communication channels effectively. Also, be transparent with all stakeholders throughout the planning and execution stages of the project. This builds trust and minimizes potential misunderstandings that could put the project at risk.
2. Scope Creep
Perhaps upper management has decided to source high-value clients such as corporations. In order to please them and secure future contracts, management doesn’t enforce the set features and services agreed upon in the contract.
Now, why is this wrong and will likely lead to problems? Clients will request new features during the project that will lead to scope creep. Your team will have to respond to these extra requests, while also dealing with the original specifications of the project. Therefore, it’s unlikely that you’ll complete the project on time, anger the client, and leave your team overworked and demoralized.
3. Lack Of Training
Is your team properly trained to deal with the wide variety of projects thrown your way? Does each staff member have a specialized skill, or do their skills overlap? These are just some of the questions you should be asking yourself.
If your team lacks training, they’ll be unproductive and may not even be able to complete certain projects. And, if your staff have specialized skills they may lack the flexibility to deal with projects that only require a specific skill set.
Ensure that your team’s balanced with a bit of skill overlap. Train all team members on a regular basis to fill any skill gaps, which will allow them to work on projects that were previously beyond their ability.
4. Contingency Planning
It’s not uncommon for even the well-planned projects to hit roadblocks. That’s why you should always prepare for the unexpected.
During the planning stages of a project, it’s important to identify its riskiest parts and likelihood of failure. Then, ensure that you share this information with all stakeholders so that they understand what to expect as the project progresses.
But that’s not enough. Have a Plan B and even a Plan C in place to deal with any eventuality. Furthermore, you’ll need to assess your contingency plans regularly, as new risks factors may present themselves during the course of the project.
5. Remote Team Management
A part of your team may work remotely, which presents its own set of challenges. Its common for remote teams to slack off or lose motivation when there are no clearly-defined goals, leadership, or organization involved.
Keep your remote team productive by appointing a leader that will make the day-to-day decisions, without having to consult the main office every step of the way. Ensure that all remote team members know how to use online collaboration tools such as Google Docs, Slack, and Trello.
Hold meetings regularly with your remote team via Google Hangouts or Skype, assess their
performance, and set milestones that they’ll have to meet.
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