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Ten Project Management Difficulties Faced By Client Teams (And Helpful Solutions)

You don’t have to be a project manager to understand the pain of dealing with project management difficulties from beginning to end.

Like you, owners and agency leaders face project management issues on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter if you’re a big enough company to hire in-house project managers or if you do everything yourself.

Projects can drift off track, go over budget, or deplete your most valued resources.

At RisePath, we understand project management and the challenges that client service teams confront in the real world. To assist you, we’ve compiled a list of 10 typical project management issues and solutions that you can start using immediately.

Project Management Difficulties

1. Identifying and resolving workload management issues

Workload management is difficult in any industry. And it gets easier as the work becomes more physically demanding.

The more creative the work and the deeper into professional services you go, the more difficult it is to accurately gauge workload and capacity.

It’s even more difficult to hold team members accountable to whatever criteria you’ve established.

What is the best way to tackle this obstacle?

Some sorts of client work are more difficult to measure than others, but it’s not impossible. In many circumstances, paying more attention to the metrics utilised can help with task management and assessment.

If a shortage of capacity is the root of your task management problem, staffing up and reskilling are both viable options.

Another strategy to deal with this issue is to keep a careful eye on your resource planning when you assign additional work to team members. 

2. Refraining from allowing specific customers’ scopes to expand.

Scope creep is one of the things that keeps project managers awake at night. It’s an ever-present danger that lurks around every corner.

When a project’s specifications or criteria change in the middle, project deliverables become more complex and go beyond what was originally agreed upon with clients.

Scope creep happens frequently, and it usually comes from the most well-intentioned team members. They detect flaws in the strategy and desire to correct them.

Alternatively, as an agency leader, you might be wondering why something doesn’t have a certain feature or making last-minute revisions in response to a recent request from the firm or agency owner. It occurs again. You experience scope creep from both sides as an owner or agency leader: as the victim and as the culprit.

What is the best way to tackle this obstacle?

You’ll never capture everything precisely the first time you prepare a whole project in advance. This is plain and simple reality. As a result, the best course of action is to prepare for it. Consider not if you’ll experience scope creep, but when it’s most likely to occur or which customers have the ability to do so.

Intentional iteration is the best approach to scope creep: you know things will change, so establish the tone with the team from the first meeting. Tell them that if something comes up that’s out of scope and they don’t think they’ll be able to say no, they should bring it up right away.

If it’s worthwhile, the scope (and thus the timeline) must be changed. If not, the idea, feature, or anything else is threatening, scope creep should be terminated right away.

3. Documenting the procedure for all clients and keeping it up to date

Another typical project management difficulty, comparable to scope creep, is producing and maintaining accurate, accessible, and readily available process documentation across all customers.

Great process documentation makes it easy for new team members to get up to speed fast, which is especially useful when a member of your team leaves and you need to add someone new to a client.

It also serves as a check to see if your team is following the process to the letter. Teams must look to process documentation for answers when a dispute develops.

What is the best way to tackle this obstacle?

Setting aside regular time for team leaders to process paperwork is the best method to tackle this difficulty. To be honest, the finest project managers will figure out a method to accomplish this.

You’ll have to start from scratch if process documentation isn’t happening at all. If this describes your situation, your first step will be a little meta: you’ll need to create process documentation on how to record processes.

Better tools for the mundane tasks that come with being a project manager could also be beneficial. The math is simple: you have more time to accomplish essential, creative work when you spend less time updating tasks and sending repeated emails.

4. Managing the expectations of clients

Every business decision is weighed against the factors of cost, quality, and timeliness. However, not every client comprehends this in the same way. Even when you have fantastic clients, managing their expectations can be difficult.

What is the best way to tackle this obstacle?

The majority of client expectations concerns boil down to a lack of proactive communication. You’ll keep ahead of client expectations if you or a team member can communicate clearly (and sometimes often) on all essential aspects of a project.

As previously stated, adequate documentation may be used to ensure that everyone is aware of the assigned duties, due dates, and requests. Maintaining a transparent client connection requires creating a paper trail and correctly recording who is asking for what on a project.

5. Ensuring that all stakeholders are aware of the project.

Stakeholders don’t seem to have a vision for what’s involved in the project, which is one of the reasons for several of the issues on this list. Sometimes it’s the fault of the stakeholders, but most of the time it’s due to a lack of project visibility.

They aren’t going to make the best decisions if they can’t see clearly what’s at stake.

What is the best way to tackle this obstacle?

Aside from enhancing your personal communication skills, utilising the correct project management software for small business (we happen to be lovers of RisePath PlanCentral, thanks for asking!) can be the difference-maker in turning disengaged stakeholders into active project stakeholders through improved project visibility.

6. Managing and meeting client deadlines on a regular basis

Agencies, particularly creative agencies, have a horrible reputation for missing deadlines. The truth is that this is a widespread issue in the business sector.

And project managers have a difficult job: they must persuade a team to fulfil deadlines and prioritise work effectively, but they have no actual enforcement authority.

You have a leg up here if you’re an owner or agency leader because you have enforcement authority. You can’t just instruct the illustrator to sketch quicker, though. It’s a significant challenge.

What is the best way to tackle this obstacle?

The solution here is contingent on the reasons why your team fails to meet deadlines on a regular basis. Prioritization, project planning, staffing, and knowing when to say no are all important.

7. Having a dependable foundation for goal tracking

It’s difficult to succeed when you don’t have a clear framework for assessing progress toward project goals, which is related to the first difficulty in this article.

Better goals may help with any endeavour, no matter how creative it is or how difficult its completion appears to be. Make sure your objectives are SMART so you (and your team) can tell when they’ve been met.

To refresh your memory, SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

What is the best way to tackle this obstacle?

Take a moment to assess and, if required, realign your goal-setting and goal-measuring framework to the SMART goal method. Although SMART objectives aren’t for everyone, their foundational flow may truly assist teams to grasp what’s feasible and what’s too much to expect.

8. Maintaining effective communication between the team and the client

We’ve already suggested that leaders improve their own communication, but that’s not all. Your team also needs to improve internal and external communication among members and clients.

It’s always more difficult to change others than it is to change oneself, and many professional project managers have struggled to foster an effective communication culture within their teams.

What is the best way to tackle this obstacle?

You may boost your team’s relationships and morale by taking little actions like setting aside time at the start of meetings for icebreakers and unstructured chats.

Consider putting in place a well-thought-out project management communication strategy that allows team members to readily monitor, access, and comment on tasks and subtasks. Avoid the email black hole for project data by ensuring that your team has all they need to improve client interactions and collaborate more effectively across departments.

9. Taking care of recurrent tasks

In the workflows of professional project managers, repetitive chores are prevalent (and anyone currently fulfilling that function). There are many software programmes available to help you save time on regular chores, but not all of them work equally well.

Not all tools and software, for example, make it simple to schedule or set up a project in which the same work must be completed many times. The best solutions give you options here, allowing you to choose between two options:

  • Set the job to recur on a regular basis.
  • For simpler management, create a template and manually pull a formatted version of that project or subtask.

What is the best way to tackle this obstacle?

Using the correct software tools, a lot of the repetitious work in project management can be reduced or even eliminated. It’s difficult to feel like you’re doing truly good project management if your current technology doesn’t allow you to easily manage or set up recurring tasks.

If you have a lot of things to deal with each day, this will drastically reduce the amount of time you spend manually managing the project.

10. Choosing software that is tailored to the needs of your customer service team

On the market, there are dozens of project management software products. Although most of them execute the same core activities, there is a great deal of variation in how they accomplish those core functions, as well as what they offer in addition to core project management.

It’s critical to assess whether you’re utilising the correct tools for client service teams.

What is the best way to tackle this obstacle?

Recognize that not every tool is appropriate for every company. You probably don’t need the most expensive option on the market, and you certainly don’t need one designed for a different sector.

Make sure the tools you employ will fit in with your current workflow. If you’re currently using another project management software for small business and are hesitant to switch because it will disturb your present workflow, RisePath has got you covered.

Our outstanding customer success and support teams can assist you in achieving your goals. Contact us today to see how easy and affordable switching to RisePath PlanCentral can be for your client services staff.

RisePath PlanCentral helps you relieve project management headaches 

Consider RisePath PlanCentral for your project management needs while you search for the proper software tools for your business. Collaboration aids firms in overcoming project management difficulties of any complexity or scale.

And it’s built to work with you regardless of your level of comfort – whether you’re a project manager or an agency owner. 

Asha patel

Asha has been a program manager, project manager and product manager for multiple Fortune 500 global companies. She has experience with implementing many successful technology, operations and product management projects.

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