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Discover how project management automation solves common obstacles, improves efficiency. Empower your projects today!
Whether you have worked as a project manager for more than a decade or only a day, you must have realized that this is a very crucial, yet difficult business function. Project managers always grapple with a myriad of Obstacles in project management, such as scope creep, poor communication, unclear project goals, lack of accountability, poor budgeting, insufficient risk management, and more.
Fortunately, the recent advancements in technology have allowed project managers to automate different procedures in project management, thereby leading to improved accuracy, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Project management automation helps project managers overcome obstacles in project management. So, what is project management automation? This entails the use of project management software to perform different tasks in a project, such as assigning tasks to members of a team, allocating resources to diverse procedures, scheduling of events, collaborating team members, and reporting the outcomes of a project. This, consequently, enables project managers to plan and complete projects more efficaciously by streamlining the repetitive undertakings while at the same time reporting on the progress of the projects they are managing.
You should always consider adopting project management automation whenever you find:
In this article, you will learn the various ways you can use project management automation to deal with different challenges you might face when managing your projects.
Poor communication is without a doubt one of the major threats to any project. If project managers can’t communicate the key project objectives and milestones, provide clear instructions, offer clarifications on responsibilities, roles, and what each team member is supposed to do, or properly delegate tasks, then this can lead to confusion among those tasked with accomplishing a given project.
With automation, you can enhance communication in project management by ensuring that information is shared in real-time, eliminating manual tasks, streamlining processes, and bolstering collaboration among the team members. With software project management tools, you can instantly provide team members with real-time updates about the progress of your project, thus eliminating the need to frequently send them emails and hold meetings to deliberate on how the project is moving on. You are also able to send team members reminders and notifications about impending deadlines, tasks, and dependencies. This move ensures that each team member is informed about the project progress without delays.The other way you can improve communication in project management is by automating email notifications and alerts in order to inform all stakeholders about any changes to the project, important updates, or milestones. As a result, you are able to reduce your reliance on the manual way of sending each team member an email. You can also embrace other communication channels, such as project management software, Slack, Zoom, or Microsoft Team, to communicate with your team on any issues related to your project.
You also need to automate the scheduling tools to allow you plan, schedule, and coordinate meetings in order to reduce the back-and-forth communique that often characterizes the planning of meetings and ensure that all stakeholders are notified of such meetings without fail. Besides, automation will allow you to get structured feedback from stakeholders and team members that will be vital in knowing the areas that need to be improved. Project management software is also important as it offers a central location for all discussions, feedback, and correspondence about the project milestones and processes.
Scope creep occurs when new features or requirements are added to a project that has already been planned and agreed on. This basically happens when stakeholders request for changes to be made to the original project, potentially resulting in confusion, difficulty meeting deadlines, and increased cost of resources. You can augment your probability of completing a project within the initial budget and in time by averting scope creep through automation.
The first thing you need to do is to use automated documentation and requirement collection tools to comprehensively record and capture the project requirements to ensure that everybody is reading from the same script. You should then have an automated process of requesting for changes in order to track and document all the proposed alterations to the project. That way, stakeholders will be required to hand in formal requests, justifying why they want their suggestions to be added to the project. You will need document version control tools in order to avoid unauthorized changes and track project documentation. You can also prevent unauthorized alterations to the project scope by having automated reporting dashboards for providing prompt updates of the status of the project.
You should also have a change control board that will be tasked with reviewing and approving any changes to the project scope. In this case, you will need a software tool for submitting, evaluating, and approving requests to make alterations to the project scope. In addition, you will need to have automated project governance procedures in place to make sure that the decisions to make changes to the scope are well-documented and made by the right stakeholders. You will further institute audits and reviews on a regular basis by means of automated tools to check whether or not the project is within the original scope, on track, and will meet the intended objectives. The last thing you will need to do is adopt a risk management software for identifying potential triggers to scope creep and automate threat assessments to be able to proactively deal with issues before they can escalate.
The other barrier to project management is the lack of clearly defined project goals that align with the business objectives. This problem usually comes up because of poor planning and not as the project manager’s fault. In most instances, business establishments neither use enough effort and time when planning for projects nor ensure that they align with their strategies. This subsequently leaves the project manager not knowing what is expected of them and may even make it more challenging to get their work done. On the other hand, those responsible for completing the project are left to do things their own way, leading to absolute chaos.
With project management automation, you can overcome this project management obstacle. You need to use project management software to gather and analyze the available information related to the project, such as emails, stakeholder communications, and existing documentation. Then employ data analytics and AI features to discover the trends, patterns, and potential goals from this data. Encourage open dialogue among team members to get their input, set the project’s goals together, and note any refinements or changes to the objectives. The next step will entail using automation features to assign tasks to different team members and make sure that everybody understands what he or she is supposed to do. You can have a tracking tool to monitor the project’s progress and identify if there are any deviations from what was agreed upon. Also use project management software to effectively allocate resources based on the set project’s goals and needs.
This is perhaps one of the leading obstacles in project management. Poor budgeting and resource allocation during the execution of projects lead to resource shortages, cost overruns, and project delays. These challenges often overwhelm the project managers because they are put under immense pressure by either the executives or stakeholders to oversee well-planned but poorly funded projects, which is usually impossible. This now makes it hard to complete projects, which may, in turn, displease the stakeholders. But as a project manager, you can avoid this problem by embracing project management automation before taking up any project.
You need to start by analyzing the availability of resources to avoid overstretching some team members and processes. Use your project management software to create budgeting and resource allocation templates based on historical data and best practices to enhance accuracy. Then use these templates to allocate resources to different processes depending on the tasks performed at each stage of the project, the expected outcomes, and the set timeframe for accomplishing a given task. The allocation of resources should be based on project dependencies and priority to make sure that the most critical tasks are the first to be allocated resources. Any resource allocation changes and budget requests will have to be approved by the right stakeholders to have a sound financial control. You will also need a dashboard accessible to all stakeholders for prompt reporting of resource allocation. The other thing that will be vital in project management is continuous monitoring of budget and resource allocation in the entire project lifecycle to make adjustments based on fluctuations in the project’s requirements.
Project risks come in different forms and shapes, and can range from a bug in the project management system that distorts the timeline for completing a project, to an earthquake. While there will always be unforeseen occurrences that may endanger any project, analyzing threats to it hurriedly can make it hard to predict the major obstacles. This can, in turn, lead to financial issues, flaws in planning the project, or unknown variables. As a project manager, you should be able to analyze the risks to your project using project management software to ensure that you will complete your assignment without any glitches.
You can utilize project management automation to collect data that you will use to perform a risk analysis. PMA tools use algorithms to evaluate past projects to determine the most common risks, which can be used to predict the future ones. Since these tools can assign impact scores and probabilities to the recognized threats based on the retrieved historical data, the quantitative review provides an objective perspective of future risks. You can then assess how different events may affect your project under varying situations by simulating several project scenarios using adjusted variables, like resources, budgets, and timelines. That way, you are able to know the risks you are likely to face in your project and how to proactively respond to them.
Accountability entails being responsible for your actions and their results, especially if they are errors. Everybody involved in the execution of a project is expected to play a critical role in its completion. It’s, hence, crucial for the project manager to ensure that each team member exhibits a certain level of accountability as the lack of it may have a ripple effect on the project, thereby affecting workflow in different stages.
Project management automation now comes in handy as you will be able to assign different tasks to specific members of your team, thus ensuring that they know their responsibilities from the word go. That way, they will be liable for any delays or mistakes in their dockets. With project management software, you are able to track the progress of each phase of your project to ensure that team members meet the set deadlines by continually sending them reminders. This tool also generates real-time progress reports that you can share with other stakeholders to create an extra layer of accountability. Automating KPIs also makes it easy to measure individual performances and let each team member to account for their results.30
Project managers encounter various obstacles in project management. Fortunately, the advancements of technology have made the work of project managers a bit easier because they can now use project management automation to overcome these challenges. As a result, they are able to complete their projects without a lot of problems.
Rohan has over 11 years of experience in client services, marketing and hospitality field. Previously, he was head of digital marketing for a hi-tech mobile application. Rohan is driven by new challenges and the possibility of making an impact on individuals and businesses.
Published September 26, 2023, Updated September 26, 2023
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