10 Common Problems All Project Teams Face

Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi

The more complex decisions involved in a group project, the more challenges team members will face. Some team members may prefer to ignore these issues, hoping that they go away. However, all issues should be addressed immediately to avoid the risk of them developing into catastrophic problems. The following are potential issues that might emerge regarding team management.

1. Poor Communication

Team members who have not yet mastered the art of communication might struggle to work collaboratively in a group. A team member that keeps information to themselves might be missing out on an opportunity to assist another team member. A person who does not share information or care about helping others does not understand what it means to work in a team. Team members with strong communication skills do not hesitate to share any piece of information they find relevant to the project. Some team members even go out of their way to share information that they believe might benefit another team member working on something completely out of their scope.

2. Zero Trust

Teams are built on trust. If there is no trust in a group, they are at risk of becoming dysfunctional. There has to be a certain level of mutual understanding in order for a team to grow and succeed. For example, if one team member does not trust that the leader has the team’s best interest at heart, they may resist taking action or purposefully hinder the team’s productivity. Trust is the foundation for any team willing to succeed.

3. Underlying Tension

Conflict must be resolved as quickly as possible before it grows into a deeper issue. If a conflict turns personal, a team member might be blinded by the issue and become distracted, taking them further from the project’s initial objectives. In order to avoid any conflict from developing into a toxic team environment, there should be a problem-solving process put into place to assist with appropriate team management. For example, leaders can initiate a meditation between conflicted team members. So long as the team members in conflict agree to communicate, they will likely get past their differences and continue to work towards the common goal.

4. Minimum Interaction or Engagement

Team members might become apathetic if they have lost interest in the project. If a team leader notices this occurring, they might need to explore why. Has the project gone off track? Is the team member not being appreciated? Is there a conflict that needs to be addressed to regain a team member’s interest? Whatever it is, get to the root of the problem. If the team member genuinely has no interest in the project, then they might need to be booted from the team.

5. No Long-Term Planning

A project might suffer if there is no precise long-term planning. Ideally, a long-term plan will be presented as early as the project kickoff meeting. While this might not always be possible, long-term plans should be put into place at one of the earlier stages for the group’s advantage. Without a long-term plan in place, it might look like there is no end to the project in sight, resulting in the team members losing interest. No long-term planning means the project appears to exist without purpose, which is not ideal for the business’ growth.

6. No Milestones or Team Recognition

While this may not be considered an obvious problem, it can develop into one if team members feel underappreciated. For any project, it is important to have milestones laid out so that teams can feel proud of their accomplishments and use them to reflect on the progress they have made as a group. One of the things that improves group productivity and team culture is team recognition, which is why it can be a strategy to help avoid team members getting upset on the project.

7. Bad Curveball Management

Changes are expected on every project. Accommodations will likely have to be made regularly. If the team has no idea how to handle these changes, it might make their progress suffer. It is considered a skill to learn how to roll with the punches, which is something you might want to introduce in your team’s training. As unexpected changes often induce stress, team members should know how to deal with this too.

8. Conflicting Goals

Members might have conflicting goals regarding how they expect the project to benefit them as an individual. A team member might be focused on honing their skills more in one area than another. For example, suppose one team member prefers to take an accounting approach on an asset management problem while the other takes a financial approach. In that case, this might cause issues if the teammates cannot agree on what method is best for the specific project.

9. Low Transparency

Transparency is necessary to build trust. There cannot be any secrets within a group, or it might damage a business’s reputation. Team leaders are responsible for establishing a high level of transparency to earn the respect of their team members. If transparency clearly exists at higher levels, it will influence the rest of the group to follow suit.

10. Adopting the Incorrect Team Management Model

Particular clear cut team management models may work for some teams, such as the waterfall or agile model. However, the best team management strategy to avoid issues down the road is to opt for a hybrid approach combining both models. Team members will not be limited by the restrictions from a single model. An alternative, a more flexible approach can be implemented from the start to help members more easily adapt to changing project requirements.

Team members will inevitably face issues up to a project’s completion. But with the correct team management tools, it can make their problems more painless. If members use time tracking software, they can more easily identify the areas they appear too focused on that generate little results. Any team can benefit from using actiTIME to help them thwart any potential problems their team might face.

Originally published at actitime.com

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