Project management is filled with obstacles and challenges in the successful completion of a given project. Although many of these challenges possess unique characteristics to each project’s respective industry, project management offices (PMOs) will face three common problems.
Take a look at what these challenges are and how they can be reduced to improve the outcome a company’s projects.
Changes in Project Scope Challenge a PMO
An ideal project would clearly define expectations and scope prior to starting a project. However, project management is not inherently ideal. As the project grows and adapts to demands, which may be the result of changes in risk management, the scope of the project may become larger. As a result, the original timeframe and deadline schedule may be incapable of meeting the new requirements, and budget constraints will become more evident.
To prevent project creep, PMOs need to consider what changes may impact the overall course of a given project. For example, a PMO may extend all project deadlines by 30, additional days to account for inclement weather. Alternatively, the PMO may make recommendations on the best course of action to take if a project appears to deviate from the planned deadlines.
Project Sponsorship Changes Evoke Challenges Throughout a PMO
Sometimes, a company’s goals and direction change. Unfortunately, this means a project management team’s work could be placed on the proverbial backburner. For extensive, lengthy projects, such as those in the oil and gas industry, a PMO needs to be ready and willing to adapt to a company’s demands. However, these demands must be within reason.
Asking a PMO to complete all projects within five days would be impossible, so the PMO needs to maintain full accountability and documentation to show current projects’ progress and value to the organization. Failing to maintain this degree of accountability may result in the failure of multiple projects.
Problems in Resources Define the Third Challenge
Regardless of executive-level leadership and financial support, a project is only as good as the amount of available resources. If material or labor resources suddenly change, the goal of the project may be threatened. Yet, a PMO cannot reasonably purchase all materials and hire additional workers when not needed.
This resolution for this problem rests with careful analysis of project tasks and activities and effective risk management. The PMO needs to understand what factors may influence resources throughout the project. Furthermore, a comprehensive risk analysis should be a routine, frequent process within a PMO. This will minimize losses from changes in resource availability and enhance deadline adherence.
By understanding how primary challenges will affect a PMO, PMO managers can work to reduce, if not eliminate, these threats. In an ideal world, these challenges would never arise. However, the world of project management will never be ideal, and preparing for these problems in advance can mean the difference between project success and failure.
Key Things to Remember
- PMO should extend a project’s deadlines to account for changes in project scope before starting a project.
- Changes in executive-level leadership or sponsorship are more likely to happen in long projects. Therefore, a PMO will need to consistently review and update documentation to maintain sponsorship when things change.
- A PMO needs to take proactive action to manage resource availability through routine, frequent risk analyses.
About Jeff Collins
Hi there, thanks for reading! As the President of IMS, I’ve just about seen it all in the project management industry. I’m happy to share my experiences to help managers and organizations improve their project performance. Please reach out to our team if you’re struggling to achieve your goals. We’d love to work with you to discover the PM solutions you need for success.