What are the challenges project managers face?
If you can’t predict every obstacle that you’ll encounter, can you even be prepared to deal with certain challenges? Sure. Though some difficulties may be very project-specific, there are also some issues that occur quite frequently.
Team management is not an issue by itself but it does pose some challenges. A team is made up of different individuals and a project manager has to be aware of each team member’s strengths and weaknesses to assign the right tasks to the right person. They also have to make sure that everything is well-understood by your team. Do they know what the project requires? Why certain things have to be done? If everyone understands their job clearly, there are no obstacles to starting off productively. A project manager is also responsible for controlling the workflow in the project and, in general, making sure that the team have what they need in order to work efficiently and achieve set objectives.
Communication with the client
It’s a well-known fact that communication can get tricky. You say one thing but what is the message that the recipient gets? Clear, honest communication is at the heart of every project. Without being able to talk about expectations, requirements, and problems, you’re not able to succeed. It’s often the project manager’s job to communicate with the client – that doesn’t mean the development team is not involved, but the PM facilitates the communication. He or she makes sure that everything is understandable to both the team and the client, that everybody is up-to-date, that no issue is swept under the carpet. Working with a client is not just about getting the job done, it’s about partnership and understanding in going towards the client’s business goal. In order to achieve that, you need established and clear communication standards.
Reporting may seem a very mundane task but it’s also a significant part of a project manager’s work. Being a client, you can expect to be informed about the progress of your project, the issues that arise along with possible ways to solve these, and the plans for next steps.
Working with our clients, we provide them with all the necessary information on daily basis. After each daily scrum, the client receives a short summary of what has been done since the last daily, what hasn’t been done, and what’s going to be done. Additionally, the client receives weekly timesheets of their team members. This way, they don’t only see the result that the team’s work brings – they also see how much time was invested in a given feature. Full transparency is crucial to us and reports are one of the elements that help us make sure we’re all on the same page.
Though it seems like reporting is rather simple, it may also get tricky. Before a PM can report anything to the client, they need to make sure that they have all the data needed. And if they don’t, they have to investigate. Sometimes gathering all the necessary information isn’t all that easy.