How to Beat the Biggest Challenges Confronting IT Project Management

IT project management is not an easy field. If it were, everybody would be doing it. No, it takes a combination of fortitude, intelligence, and skill that few people possess, and even among those who do, there's still a lot to watch out for. Several common problems have a way of cropping up in IT projects, so knowing what they are ahead of time will give you a better idea of how to overcome them.

What are the Biggest Challenges in IT Project Management?

Challenges can take place at any stage of IT project management, which is why there are so many different types of issues to tackle. Having an idea of what may be ahead, though, is the first step toward getting past the worst problems.

Changes in the middle of the project. 

These may be the worst challenges a project can face. Why? Because there's a very real possibility all the work done and the resources expended in pursuit of a goal are about to be wasted. Whether it's a change in technology or a change in the project's scope, it's a change that might mean waste.

Challenges facing IT project management.

How to beat it:

It's important to ensure the project team is sufficiently agile to keep up with these changes, but there's a better way to beat this problem: rapid movement. By planning sufficiently, early-stage snags are largely removed, and the project can be completed quickly. This way, if changes do crop up later—and they're likely to—it will take a whole new project to resolve them.

Poor communication.

Poor communication swamps a lot of projects before they can really even begin. Without the right communication, it's hard to tell where anyone is in terms of action items completed and components of the project assembled. It's tough enough when everyone's in the same building, but it gets far worse when trying to manage different teams in dispersed environments.

How to beat it: 

The right project management software can be a huge bonus in terms of overcoming inadequate communication. Such software can offer visual roadmaps with regard to who should be where in what phase of the project. It also helps reinforce accountability. So consider setting aside regular, but small, chunks of a day or week to hold “where are we now” meetings, and establish plenty of milestones to give insight into the overall project's performance.

No one knows what they want. 

It's one thing to have a project with a clear beginning, middle, and end. It's another thing entirely when no one's certain what “success” actually means. This can pose a huge problem when new technology or new methodology is involved. Sometimes, the lack of clarity comes from above, and sometimes it comes from within. The response may change depending on the circumstances.

How to beat it: 

Do everything you can to establish clarity. If the lack of clarity is within the project team, effective communication can resolve it. A little over-communication on deadlines and milestones may be useful, while too much will seem patronizing and dry up morale. If the lack of clarity comes from higher up in Challenges facing IT project management.the organization, there's little that can be done in response, but to try to communicate clearly, and attempt to establish a baseline.

Working with the remote.

Telecommuting is a great thing, especially for the worker. Fewer time-wasting meetings, no time-wasting commute, very little time-wasting contact with fellow employees who are dying to fill you in on their latest Game of Thrones theories despite the fact you don't even have HBO. For IT project management, though, telecommuting is tough to work around. It's bad enough to have people in a different building, but it's more challenging to have people in a different town, county, or time-zone.

How to beat it: 

Communication is again the overriding principle. Using project management tools to keep everybody on task and accountable is the way to go. With remote operations, there's one peculiar advantage: visibility. Remote stakeholders aren't as immediately visible as those in the office are, so giving those stakeholders extra visibility becomes a desirable reward. It can be used as both positive and negative reinforcement to help keep everyone on task.

Overcoming the remote challenge can also be done with video conference calls, a Microsoft team, WebEx team, or Slack-type collaboration tools. Additionally, consistent 10-minute video stand-ups will keep roadblocks out of the way and serve to reinforce clarity.

A lack of good practices.

Challenges facing IT project management.Having good practices going into a project can remove a lot of smaller problems from the earliest stages. That helps the project team hit the ground running, and makes the whole thing go more smoothly. Better yet, it improves morale. A project that starts off well has momentum behind it, and momentum tends to make the whole project feel smooth. Without a set of good project management practices, the project can choke in the early going, crippling momentum — and morale.

How to beat it: 

This one's the simplest challenge to beat: Simply have good project management practices. In fact, good project management practices like open communication and agreed-upon expectations can go a long way toward making some of the other challenges easier to overcome. It won't inherently fix all of the problems by itself, but it will help make for the best start and the best ultimate conclusion to a project.

What to Do When Advance Warning Isn't Enough to Solve IT Project Management Problems

Now that you know some of the biggest challenges IT project management can tackle, you should be better equipped to easily resolve these issues. Sometimes, though, not even all the best advice or warnings can help you get through every problem. When that happens, just reach out to us at UTG. We've got an extensive background in many IT project management functions, from managed IT services to security and compliance. So when there's a problem you can't tackle, just drop us a line and let us help work the miracles the best IT project management professional can pull off.

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