10 Project Management Challenges and Ways to Overcome Them

Priya Naha

Senior Writer

Project Management Challenges and Ways to Overcome Them

A study by Harvard Business Review revealed that almost 70 percent of IT projects face delays in completion. Besides, one in every six projects costs more than 200 percent of the estimated amount.

Looking for Project Management Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the best project management software for business.

As a project manager, it’s your responsibility to manage and balance different project elements — time, scope, money, and people. Managing projects is not a cakewalk. There are many challenges faced by project managers. So, you have to ensure proper communication while also foreseeing potential risks, amongst other things. 
To help, here is the list of the 10 biggest project management challenges and solutions project managers face.

What Are The Top 10 Challenges of Project Management?

Project management is a crucial aspect of a streamlined business process. However, there are various challenges faced during project work. Let’s take a look at the key challenges in project management.

Top 10 Challenges of Project Management

  1. Challenge 1: Keeping Teams on One System

    For every project manager, one major project management problem is ensuring that all the project teams stay aligned. Moreover, with the growing remote working work culture, it has become tougher than ever. 

    For smooth operation, the project manager needs to know what every member is working on and what they require to remove the possibility of duplication of work. 

    How to deal with it?

    Keeping all your project team members on the same page is crucial.

    You can bring all the communication about the project on a single platform. 

    There are many project management tools to compare, like Monday vs. Trello and Asana that enable managers to assign and schedule tasks to every employee. Project managers can view the entire project calendar clearly and stay on schedule.

  2. Challenge 2: Lack of Clear Goals and Objectives

    A study found that 30% of projects fail due to a lack of well-defined project goals and objectives.

    Clarity is one of the quintessential requirements for the successful completion of the project. Without clearly defined goals, project managers and other team members may not know what exactly to expect from the project. 

    How to deal with it?

    The best approach is to set SMART goals.

    SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. A project manager needs to devise a way to quantify project progress by setting up different milestones.

  3. Challenge 3: Inadequate Team Skills

    In simple terms, the success of project completion highly depends on individual skill levels. You can create an ideal work environment for your team members. But if they aren’t skilled enough to perform assigned tasks, it can put the project’s development at risk. 

    Most often, tasks are assigned based on availability and not on their expertise. This is a huge project management challenge that can be solved with experience. 

    How to deal with it?

    A collaborative project management guide pre-determines the core skills needed to accomplish the workload. After that, they assess the strengths and weaknesses of the available workforce. This helps them determine if they need additional staff or training to enhance their knowledge.

  4. Challenge 4: Team Work Challenges

    Managing teamwork successfully requires equal participation from every member. However, the team has varying personalities, and catering to every individual’s needs can be challenging for a project manager. 

    With so many individuals involved in a project, some disagreements are bound to happen. It can have a negative impact if not handled properly. 

    How to deal with it? 

    As a project manager, you need to find ways to help members connect. For instance, you can organize a happy hour meeting every week with the sole purpose of helping members get to know each other. 

    This will help remove any issues or negativity between them, fostering a positive work environment. Building trust among team members can go a long way.

  5. Challenge 5: Unrealistic Deadlines

    In this world of fierce competition, clients and stakeholders often set unrealistic expectations for their employees. As a result, most project deadlines slip for having an impossible timeline for project completion. 

    A well-disciplined project manager would know the capability of the project team. They should negotiate the project timeline accordingly so that the quality of the work doesn’t get compromised.

    How to deal with it?

    The best approach is to take input from all the stakeholders and collectively decide on a deadline. This project management tool problem can be handled with proper planning and alternative analysis.

  6. Challenge 6: Resource Deprivation

    Another reason for a project backlog is the lack of resources. It could be in terms of money, resources, or even time. Most project managers consider financial issues as one of the major obstacles to project completion.

    The management must offer sufficient resources to run the project effectively.

    How to deal with it?

    The project manager needs to adopt a proper planning procedure. Avoid making unrealistic assumptions to avoid cost overrun and strive for better results.

  7. Challenge 7: Risk Management

    Projects rarely go as planned. One of the important aspects of project management is having foresight for identifying potential risks. Risk management is one of the most common project management challenges examples that managers have to deal with. 

    These risks can be hidden flaws in the project planning stage or fluctuating market demands. But these unknown factors can impact the success of a project. 

    How to deal with it?

    It’s impossible to predict every potential risk, but it can be minimized with strategic planning. Besides, it is the responsibility of a project manager to develop alternate plans if the projects start to spiral out of control.

    Many risk management solutions collect and analyze previous and current market data to help identify and mitigate risk.

  8. Challenge 8: Project Quality Management

    Project managers often struggle to maintain and manage the defined project’s quality. They have a hard time keeping track of the performance level of every team member and ensuring that they are adhering to quality standards.

    How to deal with it?

    Luckily, there are many quality control tools available in the market. However, the trick lies in choosing the right technology for your project team. A well-designed quality control software will ensure you get full visibility of your tasks.

    Further, it sends out immediate alerts in case the quality of the work drops from the pre-defined level.

  9. Challenge 9: Lack of Communication

    Sometimes, lack of communication, or miscommunications, get in the way of delivering projects on time. Whether you give instructions or seek information, maintaining open and transparent communication is always challenging.

    Effective communication is highly critical for a successful project. Deloitte revealed that 32% of professionals describe communication as the most significant issue in project management. 

    How to deal with it?

    To avoid any conflicts or delays caused due to miscommunication, the project manager must establish a clear communication line. They can rely on a collaborative platform to ensure that all the information is communicated to everyone involved without any confusion.

  10. Challenge 10: Lack of Accountability

    Accountability is very important, but only a few teams have it. When team members feel responsible and try to take accountability for the tasks assigned to them, only then a project team can perform well as a whole. 

    How to deal with it?

    This project management problem can be easily solved by clearly defining every individual’s roles and responsibilities. Once the roles are defined, it becomes easy to trace back the accountability of a task completed. 

    Successful completion of any project is certainly not without its challenges. There are a million tasks that have to be handled at the same time – time, money, and resources never seem to be enough!

    Project managers must clearly understand the various project management life cycle phases to break down activities into smaller parts. Understanding the phases of the project management lifecycle can help in organized planning, resource allocation, performance monitoring, and maintenance.

How Do You Overcome Project Management Challenges?

Project management challenges are inevitable. To overcome project management challenges, project managers can do the following:

How to Overcome Project Management Challenges

  1. Evaluate Workload and Availability of Resources

    Project managers cannot affect the labor market or close skill gaps immediately. Instead, the project managers can make more effort to gauge resource capacity and availability. Another option is extending the project planning phase to gain more time for appropriate resourcing, hiring, and onboarding.

  2. Conduct Agile Readiness Assessment

    How can project managers determine whether their companies are ready to implement agile practices?

    The easiest approach to accomplish this is to conduct an agile readiness assessment, which entails evaluating current procedures, available resources, and available skills to identify any gaps. The evaluation, which could easily turn into a separate project, involves figuring out how much time, money, and other resources are needed to apply agile methods properly.

  3. Select the Right Project Management Software

    The best method to ensure businesses and their project managers select the appropriate software is to assess the benefits and drawbacks of various tools against available budgets before making a choice.

What Are the Future Challenges for Project Managers?

With the evolution of the business world, principles, practices and challenges in software project management are also evolving.

Let’s look at some project failure management challenges that might affect project managers in the future. 

Future Challenges for Project Managers

  1. Technological Globalization

    Transforming business processes is a crucial aspect of a competitive industry. First, you must align processes and tools with an end goal. It would be best if you embraced new technologies and processes to use resources better. 

    Technology globalization and the continuous transformation of traditional company culture are the future difficulties project managers must overcome. 

    It includes removing the requirement for centralized project management and company operations. Instead, the virtual team’s ability to adapt has become essential. Moreover, a company’s agility can differentiate between success and failure.

    Tasks that took a long time can now be accomplished instantly. So, it has become more critical for businesses to adjust to the evolving technological culture.

  2. Resource Allocation and Availability

    Resource availability is another issue for project managers. Project managers must accomplish more with less. It relates to both resource allocation and project limits. Availability of resources will be a problem in the coming years due to increased talent disparities in various industries.

  3. Agility Demand

    Agility is the latest trend!

    Many companies encourage teams to become agile because it boosts productivity, reduces time-to-market, and prioritizes client demands. As a result,  project managers are under pressure.

    Going agile needs a substantial shift in how a company thinks and functions, while it is not something that firms can just undertake.

    Achieving a specific level of organizational maturity is necessary to implement agile project management success.

Wrapping Up

Project management is more than just aiming to complete the project on time. It’s a skill that requires patience and perseverance. You can overcome project management challenges by effectively using the right techniques. With the analysis mentioned above, you can learn about some of the most common challenges in project management and ways to improve them.

Consider taking up a PMP certification course as it is the most coveted and widely recognized professional qualification for project management.

Remember, continuing learning is the first step towards overcoming any obstacle that comes your way. 

Frequently Asked Questions


Projects are challenging to manage as you need to take various elements into consideration, along with considering the time and outcome.

Scope creep is the greatest challenge in project management. It refers to the challenge when a project changes from its initiation time.

The five greatest challenges for project managers are:

  1. Failure to set clear objectives and goals
  2. Missed deadlines
  3. Poor communication
  4. Inadequate risk management
  5. Lack of proper skill management

Managers manage project management challenges using goal-setting approaches like SMART. SMART means:

  1. S-Specific
  2. M-Measurable
  3. A-Attainable
  4. R-Realistic
  5. T-Timely
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