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Overcoming Project Management Challenges in Difficult Economic Times

written by: N Nayab • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 7/6/2011

During these difficult economic times project managers will face several challenges such as: how do you decide whether to undertake a project, how do you make sure you have the right resources allocated? In this article Natasha Baker will discuss how to face these challenges head on.

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    Show Me the Money

    Photo credit KAPUT via Flickr Every company has their own funding process. Some banks, for instance, have the business side make the call - they couldn't imagine IT driving the process. In other organizations, IT is the powerhouse that has the CEO in the back pocket. Look to where your sources of funding are. IT and the business managers have to find a way to align their interests so that they're working together to achieve the overarching business goals.

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    Common Goals

    The challenge for project managers, finding available funding, is going to be one of the biggest, during difficult economic times. There are project management solutions that can help link strategy and execution by aggregating information within the enterprise, analyzing it and then presenting inway that fosters a common understanding. Once that information is obtained, it is up to the project manager to find a champion within the organization who will be willing to present it to others, and gain buy in from top-level executives and managers. Ultimately organizational leaders have to come to their own understanding - the best tools in the world won't help if they cannot agree on common goals.

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    Do You Have the Right People For the Job?

    Resources are also a constant concern for project managers. How can you ensure that the right people are working on the right projects, and that you will have enough resources to handle future projects?

    Project management is the world where surprises are the norm. When the competitive environment suddenly shifts, for example, it is not al all uncommon for the executive team to demand new functionality quickly. But project managers should not use the inherent unpredictability stop them from planning. With the right tools, such as TeamWorks Professional, managers can:

    • track their team member's
    • the skills they posses
    • the type of projects on which they would like to work
    • their current assignments

    These project management tools, when combined with project forecasting, allow project managers to be well positioned to adjust the project and reassign people accordingly when surprises do occur.

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    Photo credit Asawaa via Flickr There is no reason that change should creep up on project managers and disrupt the project. Very often, the early warning signs of impending problems are readily available but go unnoticed. When this happens, organizations miss the window of opportunity that exists to prepare for and adapt for coming change. They are also unable to mitigate the impact that the issues have on the project's delivery time and cost.

    Spreadsheet-based change management software, prevents organizations from implementing proactive change management. This type of system slows down the process of providing information to the people who need it. Amid chaos of active development and implementation, project managers are unlikely to notice the warning signs that could reveal unforeseen problems

    What project managers need is a centralized system that collects data from a wide array of sources, analyzes that data and then presents information to all project participants and executives in a manner that makes sense to them. In this way, everyone is informed and up to date. Potential problems can be identified early, and measures can be taken so that everyone has a full understanding of the ramifications of that change.


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