Cynthia West, Vice President at Project Insight, and her team speak with project managers, directors of operations, vice presidents of professional services, chief financial officers, and other project team members every day. They hear familiar stories repeatedly and have identified some trends, or commonalities, that regularly affect project management success. This slideshow highlights five of the most common project management challenges identified by Project Insight and ways Web-based project management software may be able to help.
Click through for five common project management challenges identified by Project Insight.
Projects are inherently collaborative efforts, and by their very nature project teams are usually comprised of multiple team members, often incorporating multiple organizations and multiple locations. It is essential to manage this asynchronous process well. A centralized project management software solution can help manage this challenge, especially when working across multiple time zones.
Many companies attempt to manage projects using desktop software applications like Microsoft Project and Microsoft Excel. The main challenge with using desktop software to manage projects is that these applications were not designed for collaboration among several parties. At worst, the file is shared by e-mailing the file to all parties on the team. At best, the file may be posted on a network or on an extranet and shared from there.
A project management solution that is Web-based can help solve these issues by allowing project managers and their team members to access project information from any browser in the world, at any time of the day or night. The project information is centralized in one database and posted in real-time, assuring that all project members and executive management can view the most recent information about the project.
Project teams usually have more demand for projects than they have team members or resources to execute the projects. Project managers and resource managers using desktop applications have a challenging time being able to see how much work each resource has across all projects. Teams without a centralized project management solution often use an Excel spreadsheet to manage workloads and find that this is quite a cumbersome exercise.
A Web-based project management solution has the advantage of storing all projects, all resources and their task assignments in one centralized place. A project management solution should be able to drill down to the specifics projects and tasks to show what is causing over allocation.
All projects have assets that belong to the project and/or task. The common-use file sharing frequently employed on networks seems to be the lowest common denominator for project teams. The challenge with even the best file storage systems on the internal network is that team members still complain that they cannot find critical documents. The other problem with this method is that third parties usually cannot access these internal files. This often results in the project manager resorting to e-mailing assets to these outside resources, which can result in version control problems.
A Web-based project management solution can solve these issues by posting all project assets in the centralized repository that is accessible by all participants, providing version control, and e-mail notifications. Another good feature to look for is the ability for the project team to collaborate on project files and assets by posting comments or threads. That way, the entire project history is captured in the documents repository.
Many project team members complain about spending too much time in meetings focused on project status updates. A Web-based project management solution can permit each team member to report back on project tasks and activities throughout the workday instead of relying on status meetings. The beauty of Web-based solutions is that each project resource is empowered to report back on his or her tasks, pushing the responsibility back where it belongs, to the team member.