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The challenges that can throw your project off track and how to avoid them

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If you’re not careful, your big work project could be thrown off course by the challenges and problems that will inevitably come your way as you work on it. Big and important projects always present a variety of challenges and these challenges can often sink projects if they’re dealt with in the wrong way. Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way, but avoiding such problems won’t be easy either.

We’re going to discuss some of the challenges that most commonly impact businesses and their teams. When you understand what the most common challenges and problems are, you’ll put yourself in a much better place to overcome them. We’re also going to discuss the things you can do to mitigate those risks and avoid them altogether. It is possible, so read on now to find out how to make it happen.

Poor communication 

When people fail to communicate effectively on your team, it leads to a variety of problems that needn’t occur. Miscommunications lead to misunderstandings and errors that can be carried through and implemented in various ways before the mistakes have even been noticed.

It’s a chain effect that can ripple through an entire project and it all starts with poor communication. That’s why you should establish processes and norms for communicating and checking information between the various people working on the project before you even start. 

Not enough access to specialists

Sometimes, an aspect of your project will require a certain level of specialist input by people who really know what they’re talking about. Your business might struggle with aspects of your project if you don’t have access to specialists, and that’s a challenge you’ll need to overcome.

It helps to outsource certain tasks that you don’t have the skills or abilities to complete in-house. Doing so will allow you with an affordable way of accessing the work of people with particular specialist skills that are required during the completion of your project. 

Creeping scope

Scope creep is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face when completing a big project. Your project might start out as one thing and morph into something much bigger and much more difficult to control over time. When this happens, it’s known as scope creep.

Clearly defining your project and its limits is a good idea. You should do this at the very start of the planning phase. That away, everyone can be clear on what you’re trying to do and trying to achieve with your project from day one, and you’ll hopefully keep creeping scope at bay. 

A lack of support from senior management 

When the people above you are not really supporting your work on your project, it can make life very difficult. You should try to communicate effectively to get to the bottom of any problems and find out what’s behind their perceived lack of support.

It might be that they’re not fully in the loop with regards to the purpose of your project and what it might achieve. Better communication and information could change. Or it might be that they’re about to pull the plug, in which case, you’ll want to know about it. 

Keep everyone on the same page

When you have a team of people all pulling in different directions, it clearly doesn’t help you achieve the things you want to achieve on your project. A united front is required when trying to complete a successful project; it’s impossible to do when everyone is working toward different goals.

Keeping everyone on the same page is your task if you’re the individual leading the project. You’ll have to motivate everyone and find ways to ensure they’re staying on track and not carrying out rogue missions instead. It’s a tough task but someone has to do it. 

IT Problems

When something goes wrong with your computer or IT system as a whole, you need to get more information about it and work hard to put it right. Those IT problems can really bring your work to a standstill if you let them. And that’ll delay your project and potentially cause data loss issues.

The best way to combat the potential for these kinds of issues is to make sure you have good IT support in place and improve your own IT skills as well. Doing so will help you to get back on the right track fast when these kinds of problems occur. 

Ignoring risk management

Risk management is not something that should ever be ignored or overlooked when you’re starting a project. Instead, you should carry out an in-depth risk assessment process to identify threats and potential problems that might arise during the project.

Of course, most of the potential threats you identify won’t cause you any problems but some of them might and that’s why you should carry out a risk assessment process nonetheless. You’ll regret not doing it if something goes wrong that could have been easily avoided. 

Unrealistic deadlines

If the deadline you have in place is simply not realistic for the project you have in mind, you should take action early to move it and express your reasons for needing to do so. This will help you to avoid problems and prevent unnecessary crunch time working too.

If a deadline is unrealistic, it makes no sense to carry on pursuing it when you know completing your project to a good standard on time is not going to be possible. By warning early that you’re likely going to need more time, you’ll avoid letting people down at the last minute. 

A lack of accountability

When people completing work are not being held accountable for what they do, it causes problems that ought to be avoided. Everyone on a project should have clearly defined roles, and most importantly, they should be fully aware of what those roles are.

A lack of accountability will result in your project being worked on by people who don’t really have the best interests of the project at heart, and that’s clearly a problem. Don’t let yourself end up in that situation because it won’t be good for the long-term outcomes of the project. Instead, hold everyone accountable. 

Personality clashes and conflicts

On most big projects, there’ll also be big characters and people whose personalities clash. That’s simply the way it is in most human scenarios. To avoid personality clashes, try to encourage team bonding and get people working collaboratively instead.

That way, you’ll be more likely to have people leaving their egos at the door and instead focusing on the importance of the work at hand. That’s better for them and better for the outcomes of the project. In short, it’s best for everyone and everything of personality clashes are avoided. 

Poorly defined objectives

When your objectives are poorly defined, it’s easy to get off track. After all, if no one knows for sure what or where the track is, how can they reasonably be expected to stay on it?

Try to avoid those kinds of vague approaches because they only lead to confusion that’s needed. Rather than letting that happen, hold team meetings that discuss objectives openly.

When your team is working on a project, there are all kinds of challenges and roadblocks you’ll have to overcome. Any project that’s worth completing will present these kinds of challenges but what really matters is how you overcome them. Don’t be deterred from pushing ahead with a project just because it’s challenging.

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