3 Reasons Projects Get Bogged Down

Everyone in your project team is busy but your initiative isn’t moving ahead. You may be stalled trying to get through a particular sequence of tasks or it might seem like every new activity experiences delays.

Sound familiar?

You aren’t alone.

Even seasoned project teams occasionally run into situations where progress comes to a standstill. The key to pushing past your roadblocks is to identify why things aren’t moving forward and develop a plan that gets tasks back on track. But it’s easier said than done.

Project Problems

Gaining visibility into the triggers behind a slowdown can be difficult. When inefficiencies or outdated practices within the project team are interfering with progress, it’s particularly challenging to root out the core project problems and resolve them. Since this higher-level diagnosis is usually attempted while a project is underway, a PM could dig an even larger hole for the team unless they bring in some experienced help to provide guidance.

If your team is swamped with work but you aren’t making progress on your project, consider if one of these 3 reasons could be the cause.

1 – Your group members aren’t working on the right things.

One common problem project teams encounter is that tasks aren’t properly prioritized. Everyone’s time is consumed with work but the activities that must be completed to move the project forward to the next step aren’t at the top of the list. Without a dedicated focus on the initiative’s critical path and a clear understanding of what it takes to move that path to completion, your group will continue to have a lot to do but little to show for it. You need to restructure activity sequences so every member of your team is working on the right things at the right times.

2 – Delays are playing havoc with your master schedule.

A team that’s always playing catch-up is guaranteed to be busy, even though their productivity may be low. Without rigorous project controls and monitoring in place, you’re likely to miss the warning signs that progress isn’t keeping pace with the original plan. Once key milestones are impacted by delays, your project will be seriously behind schedule and you may be faced with trying to rescue your project from the jaws of failure. You need an early warning system to enable you to spot trouble on the horizon and correct it before your plan begins to fall apart.

3 – You’ve assigned too much work to too few people. 

Sometimes the simplest answer is the correct one, and that’s frequently the case when it comes to distributing project tasks. Team members are often self-motivated and highly driven. They may take on more than they can realistically manage. Others might want to expand their role or learn new skills, prompting them to sign up for tasks that stretch their capabilities beyond what’s supportable. Some companies have a culture that encourages long hours, leading to burnout and—ultimately—the risk of project failure. Accurate task duration estimates and thoroughly researched resource forecasts are critical components that will help resolve these types of issues and ensure that future projects are planned around workloads that are sustainable and reliable.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to poor project performance. Leveraging the neutral perspective of an outside project management firm can be helpful, since it eliminates the tendency to place blame and can instead move people toward more constructive resolution efforts. The deployment of project management services from an experienced consultancy can also help get you through your current challenges while also addressing the root causes to ensure you’re in better shape going into your next project.

 

Alliance offers project management consulting, training and portfolio management services.

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