When managing a portfolio of projects, every project manager experiences issues that hamper team productivity. After all, it’s a challenge in itself to don several hats and still focus on the competing priorities. It gets worse with a crunch in resources that risk violating one, or all of the project’s constraints.
Unlike larger organizations that may have one project manager for marketing, another for sales and so on, a small business project manager has to oversee multiple departments that presents an information overload that is difficult to keep track of it.
Let’s take a look at some of the main project management issues which are unique in small businesses, and how to overcome them.
1. Resource management and scheduling issues
When there are multiple high-priority projects, it can be difficult to manage resources. Considering the resource crunch in small businesses, the chances of requirements of the same skill set for different projects, can risk competent staff getting overworked, which adversely impacts the final quality of the deliverable.
Workloads get too much, causing every resource to put in extra hours. Besides suffering from burnouts, there’s the risk of a delayed delivery of the products. Put simply, inefficient scheduling of the workforce lowers productivity. This is because the employees are caught unaware of the tasks and do not get enough time to chalk out a plan.
To overcome this, a resource management tool will prove beneficial. Besides helping you streamline the project’s tasks; it will also help you schedule the resources with agility and optimize their utilization. Eventually, a strategic plan with efficient scheduling will increase productivity, helping you meet the project deadlines.
2. Project Planning issues
You may feel that you can keep critical project information in your head. But it can be a major problem later on, with a number of multiple projects. This may result in unexpected loopholes at the eleventh hour.
In spite of having the required skill set onboard, inefficient planning can make you miss extremely important tasks. With one person multitasking and fewer resources on board, a meticulous project planning is easier said than done.
Documentation of the project attributes will simplify this process for you. It can be done using a streamlined project management approach. Besides having Gantt charts that give you complete visibility into various project aspects like tasks, milestones, costs and activities, it will also help you forecast the project needs, risks, financials and resource availability well in advance.
3. Employee management issues
Employees are the most important asset of your organization. Their skills and diligence will propel the success of your organization. Hence, managing the workforce appropriately is extremely important in order to tap into potential from within.
For small businesses, the issues associated with managing employees vary from micromanaging them, to playing favourites, and both cases are detrimental to your business. While encouraging open and healthy communication is beneficial for management and employees alike, it does carry the risk of compromised objectivity and personal biases coming up.
To effectively manage employees, encourage them to take leadership and keep them motivated by giving them the flexibility to work out schedules that enable them to do work full justice. Along with this, convey your vision. A clarity on the vision will help them double up on their efforts and contribute more towards the company’s goals. That will also help them bring novel and innovative ideas on table which makes them feel valued and helps you optimize their talents. Your employees can flourish only when they’re appreciated for their contributions and treated with respect.
4. Skill assessment issues
Assessment of an employee’s competencies plays an important role in the adequate allocation of resources to the right job. In small businesses, since the manager is handling multiple roles, chances of not noticing the employee’s skills are high.
Inadequate assessment of skills will lead to inappropriate allocation of resources, which will later affect the quality of deliverables and also reduce productivity. In small businesses, it’s important to be aware of employee’s skills since the roles are interchangeable for them. Moreover, an apt assessment of skills will help reduce employee turnover and will also highlight the areas of improvement.
A thorough data gathering and analysis will come in handy for skill assessment. This can be accomplished by assessing skills with a competency tracker which lets you close gaps and smooth out hiring cycles i.e. you’re not unnecessarily adding more people during a recession or giving up quality talent during seasonal peaks. Besides this, it will also help you allocate right resources and will help in planning resource requirements for a pipeline project well in advance.
Skill assessment will keep you aware of the employee’s strengths and weaknesses. It will also give you a chance to openly communicate with employees about their work and how they can scale it up.
5. Lack of collaboration
For meeting the project deadlines, it’s crucial to keep every team member on the same page with progress, challenges and achievements of a project. After all, the team is the backbone of a project. Collaboration between team members opens the door for ideation and innovation. Besides, keeping a track of the value of human investment and project’s progress, it also crowdsources a solution when one particular member faces a problem. However, in small businesses, due to multiple high-priority projects being queued for completion, it gets difficult for the manager to assemble the team for collaboration because of which the projects might fall flat.
Efficient leadership calls for both collaboration and communication. You can lead only when your employees work in cohesion. In order to permeate cooperation in your organization, adapting to an advanced technological software is the key. Besides giving you complete visibility of the project’s progress, financials, utilization of resources, it also helps you keep the remote employees in the loop, which enhances productivity and lets you execute the deliverables on time. So, break down some walls in your organization and tighten up connections between the teams.
Ready to take charge of your business? Let us know how these tips helped you become a successful project leader!