What to Do When Your Project Goes Wrong

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When approaching a project that a valuable client or upper management has handed you, you need to consider all factors involved that will help you fulfill their needs. These include your team, your project scope, the services or resources you need to outsource and more. There are plenty of moving parts that make up the process and contribute to the final product. Your role as a project manager is to keep them all organized and use them for your stakeholders’ benefit.

Project management includes intense planning and organizing, so you can have an easy-to-follow structure for you and your team to follow. Having structure will offer a base for your project to make the mission more achievable. It will also ensure the spending and timing is limited to avoid over-spending or making your stakeholder wait too long. Your responsibility is to use this structuralized project system so your clients will be satisfied with your team’s quality of work delivered on time.

As a project manager, you can establish this structure with a thorough project plan for your stakeholders’ and your team’s reference. It will be the ultimate guide, including all deliverables and who they’ve been designated to, deadlines to complete these, milestones you need to pass as you approach your project completion and all costs and materials you will be using. By conducting thorough research and planning, you may think that your plan is indestructible.

Obstacles Are Inevitable

Unfortunately, things happen. No matter how you prepare, it’s hard to avoid facing any problems, big or small. Curveballs may be thrown your way, or issues may arise that you didn’t initially expect. While your project seemed flawless and easy to accomplish during your initial planning, things can go wrong whether they’re within your control or not.

This may cause you or your team to feel discouraged as problems occur during your project process. But, this doesn’t have to mean doom. If you know how to approach issues during your project, you can put it back on track and still manage a successful result.

How a Project Can Go Wrong

There is quite a lot of room for things to go wrong in your project. Problems that you encounter may involve issues that could have been avoided and others that couldn’t.

  • Staff emergency (illness, family, etc.)
  • Technical issues
  • Client change of mind for overall focus or deliverables

As the project manager, your role is to guide your project staff through the process to eventually develop an effective final result that will benefit your client. However, if you fail to look at the big picture and all the fine details involved, you may end up overlooking essential components of the project that may lead to panic as you’re trying to meet your project deadlines.

These are avoidable problems that could result from your improper project management:

  • Missed task deadlines
  • Incorrect deliverable completion
  • Overspending
  • Last-minute resource retrieval
  • Unhappy team members
  • Missing project details
  • Overlooked project intentions

Embodying your responsibility as a leader and being an accessible resource for your team can help you avoid significant project issues. If you are present to answer questions or communicate with stakeholders for any questions that arise, you can set your team to be as successful as possible.

Problem Solving Methods

No matter how things have gone wrong, you will need to find a solution to overcome the problems and get your project back on track. As a project manager, you must be responsive, level-headed and approach situations with urgency so they don’t derail your team’s progress.

While you may not have full control over all possible obstacles that could come your way, you can be equipped so you and your team can overcome them and continue making progress. If you fail to adapt to these problems, your project could be doomed to fail due to poor leadership.

If you are aware of what you may face and have solutions planned just in case, there will be no halt in your team’s project accomplishments.

When you onboard the project assigned to you by a client or upper management, you will begin the planning process according to the information they offer and the possible research involved. With a solidified idea of you and your project team development, you will list how you will accomplish the targeted goal.

When shaping your project plan, you’ll want to include the project goals, scheduling and people involved. This is where you should also outline what could go wrong. Spend time and consult with your team to consider all that could cause a roadblock. Like your project brainstorming, think outside of the box for any possible issues and list them. When you find enough plausible problems that could impact your project’s scheduling or task completion, add them to the plan.

With your potential obstacles listed, think of their solutions. Develop concrete plans with all necessary actions to take to overcome them. This may include resources / strategies like:

  • Backup vendors or outsourced materials
  • Staff substitutions if anyone faces an emergency
  • Online file keeping in case of software or computer problems

That way, if any project-related problems arise, you’ll already have an easy-to-follow plan for quick action. This will save plenty of time, so the obstacle will only be a brief blip rather than a project-halting emergency.

Time delays are common problems that you will face when managing a business project. Often, if you are proactive and track the timing of task completion, you can act quickly, so your project continues efficiently moving forward.

Monitor your team’s progress on their assigned tasks to ensure they are working at the best productivity levels. You can use various strategies to determine if they are effectively managing their task timing or if they are facing roadblocks that you could assist with.

  • Holding frequent meetings with individual members and the whole team for task progress and overall project status update
  • Status report submissions listing completed tasks, current tasks being worked on and tasks to be completed to indicate if members are on track, at risk or behind schedule
  • Using time tracking software to observe hours logged to project tasks and determine if employees are spending too much time on some assignments or need help from another team member

actiTIME Time Tracking

Keep your project running as scheduled with actiTIME. This is a helpful tool so you can avoid any project delays. Using the data offered by actiTIME, like your staff’s logged hours, submitted tasks and your overall project schedule, you can take action if you recognize any possible timing issues. That way, your team can produce a useful final product on time that will positively reflect your business. Your stakeholders and clients will be motivated to continue investing in your company, which will promote continued expansion and incoming profits.

Get started with your proactive project management by signing up for a free actiTIME trial now.

Originally published at actitime.com

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