This article originally appeared in StrategyDriven on July 26, 2016.
Did you know that organizations lose $109 million for every $1 billion invested in projects and programs? It’s a staggering number to consider, and even more shocking, it’s due in part to the fact that over the last year, less than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and on budget.
Ask any project manager, and you’ll hear that one of the top problems that they face is a high tolerance for failure. Extending due dates, forgetting tasks and cost overruns are so common that they are considered a part of the process. However, we certainly do not extend the same liberty to other professions like engineers, doctors and pilots.
A high performing project manager needs a way to track projects from start to finish, get the team on board to work together towards a common goal and get more done on time and under budget. Excel spreadsheets and emails are two ways to accomplish this, but most managers should use a project management methodology to stay on task.
Pricewaterhouse Coopers conducted a survey on the topic of project management and found that companies that use a project management methodology (i.e. PRINCE2, Six Sigma and project management software such as Taskworld) versus those who don’t have an advantage in five different areas:
When it comes to these areas, project managers run into some hurdles that often result in lost money and time. Let’s take a look at the seven pain points of project management that managers face –
Organization accounts for a considerable part of a manager’s work life. Planning, delegating and keeping track of tasks is essential to getting things done in an orderly manner. Once this process is set, the manager can focus on execution.
Deciding who is responsible for what can be a difficult task for a manager, especially when there are multiple individuals working on accomplishing the same task. Accountability needs to be established clearly and without any scope for misunderstanding, so that all parties involved are prepared to take on the exact responsibilities given to them.
Being able to see everything pertaining to a given activity in one place can be a great advantage. Having a single location where all the information is consolidated can help managers keep track of delegated tasks, access all versions of a task or project and inform all participants of changes at the same time.
If a manager was expected to remember every task he or she assigned and then to follow it up efficiently, nothing would ever get done. Writing things down and email threads are a better way of going about the follow-up process, but consolidation can be time-consuming when errant tasks suddenly become urgent.
Providing valuable feedback is a key responsibility that a project manager must take head on. There’s no way a manager can do this if there isn’t an established set of practices to collect and analyze an employee’s performance.
In a traditional setting, employees are not privy to the information that is being used to evaluate their performance. This can be an inefficient way of facilitating continuous improvement, as employees do not know what they are doing wrong and what they can do to improve their performance.
Managers must then take on the charge of providing quality feedback. Good feedback must be fair, clear and preferably done face to face. Tact and finesse must be used in the case of employees showing a lack of improvement and be encouraging when reinforcing the good performance of others.