Project Management

Top Challenges PM Professionals Are Facing

By | 6 min read | Published

Learn how to improve project management (PM) processes with the latest software

Project management is a crucial function for any business, as its sole purpose is to ensure that a project is completed successfully. It involves making sure that effective budgeting, resource management, and solid communication happen in tandem with risk management in order to meet goals and deliverables for the company.

However, as a project manager, successfully handling your company’s projects is not always easy. In this article, we will discuss common project management challenges that PMs face and how to overcome them.

Challenge #1: Projects go over budget

One of the most common project management challenges is staying within budget. In fact, over a third (35%) of PMs say half their projects go over budget. This is a significant concern because it can seriously impact the company’s bottom line. Projects can go over budget for many reasons, but one of the most common problems is that the scope of the project may change. In other cases, unforeseen circumstances may arise during the project.

Small to midsize businesses (SMBs) are particularly vulnerable to this problem. They often don’t have the resources to absorb the cost of a project when it goes over budget, which can lead to financial difficulties for the company.

So how can you do a better job of keeping your project on budget? Let’s look at some strategies to overcome this particular challenge:

  • Estimate costs accurately: This can be done by using software that provides more accurate estimates.
  • Manage scope creep: If the project looks like it will go over budget, the PM may need to reduce the scope of the project. This means some features or aspects of the project will not be included in the final product.
  • Have a contingency fund: This is a fund set aside for unexpected costs. This can help reduce the impact of a project going over budget.

Staying within the project budget is imperative for the success of any project. If you want to dig a little deeper, check out Capterra’s guide on how to stay within budget and finish projects on time.

Challenge #2: Complicated and restricted processes

In our Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace Survey[*], we found that complicated and restricted processes affect 67% of project managers. Restrictions and regulations can come from many different sources, such as a company having to deal with a lot of bureaucratic regulations, which may not always be consistently communicated from upper management. Or perhaps the company may be using outdated software or systems. Any of these scenarios can make it challenging to get work done efficiently, and it can also lead to frustration among team members.

These are challenges SMBs are prone to experience because they don’t always have the resources to invest in modern tools or to streamline their processes.

Here are some of the ways to overcome these common project management challenges:

  • Update processes: Make it a habit to review and update processes on a regular basis. Creating daily habits for your team, finding a new task management software tool, and updating existing project templates can help reduce the time spent on manual tasks.
  • Improve communication: Communication across teams is important in any project. There are several apps available that can help you share information, send files, and ask questions directly to team members. This can keep everyone up to date on specific tasks until the project is finished.
  • Hire a consultant: If the company cannot simplify its operations, it may be helpful to hire a consultant. The consultant can identify areas where your company can streamline processes to improve its efficiency.

With the world becoming more digitized and remote work becoming more common, businesses need to streamline their processes. Improving communication can help team members expedite tasks. For more tips on improving communication and collaboration, check out this guide.

Challenge #3: PMs need for approval to adopt new software

As the world becomes more digitized, it’s no surprise that PMs are adopting new software. In fact, in our Small Business Software Buying Trends Survey[**], 35% of PMs find approval requirements to adopt new software are a top challenge. Many organizations have specific processes for approving new software, and it can take weeks or even months to get approval. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially when due dates are approaching.

Budget often limits SMBs, and you might not have the funds to invest in the latest and greatest software. As a result, SMBs need to be strategic about software choices. Gaining approval for a new tool can be challenging since PMs need to make compelling explanations for why the software is necessary.

Some of the ways to overcome these common project management challenges are to:

  • Ask for a demo of the software: This will help you understand how the software can be used and adapted to specific projects so you can relay this information to your leaders.
  • Provide a business case for the software: This should include information on how the software will improve efficiency and save the company money.
  • Get buy-in from senior management: Do your research and show your senior managers why this new software is needed. They can help champion the cause and increase the likelihood of approval.

Software is becoming increasingly crucial for businesses as they digitize. PMs need to be strategic when selecting new software, and they need to make a compelling case for why the software is necessary. For a comprehensive list of the top-rated project management software, check out Capterra’s directory.

Staying ahead of the trends

Project management is constantly evolving. With new project management challenges and trends emerging, PMs need to stay ahead of the curve. Though it’s impossible to predict the future, we do know that technology will continue to play a significant role in the project management industry.

PMs need to keep up with recent trends to be early adopters and take advantage of the benefits that new tools can provide. Capterra can help you find top-rated software that will keep your company ahead of the curve. Check out Capterra’s list of the best project management software to compare products that could take your company’s projects to the next level.

Survey Methodologies

* Capterra conducted the Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace Survey in December 2021 of 528 U.S-based professionals who manage projects at their small to midsize business. Respondents were screened for employment status (full-time), size of business (2 – 500 employees), and involvement in project management (extremely involved).

** Capterra’s 2021 Small Business Software Buying Trends study was conducted to identify the software buying behaviors of small and midsize business (SMB) owners in the past 12 months.

The research was conducted online from August through October 2021 among 500 respondents from the U.S., Canada, Spain, France, and Germany, and from SMBs with revenue of less than $250 million and with two to 499 employees. Respondents were screened for their involvement in software purchasing decisions. Those who were group leaders/members or had significant influence qualified for the study.

Looking for Project Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Project Management software solutions.

About the Author

Josh Clark - Guest Contributor

Josh Clark - Guest Contributor

Josh is a writer based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He has experience as a grant writer for renewable energy companies, writing nearly $12 million worth of grants for multiple organizations over two years. He is also experienced in copywriting and SEO. Josh has had the privilege to work with businesses across various sectors, including medical, athletic, clothing brands, technology companies, software developers, and more.

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