10 Common project management challenges & their solutions

common project management challenges


Whether you are new or experienced in project management you must have faced project management challenges in your career. While managing projects, project managers need to face various project challenges regarding project resources, deadlines, project budget, ensure proper communication, foresee potential risks, and the list is too long.

Taking care of so many things can be nerve-wracking and it’s not surprising if something slips out of your mind. Every day we hear the same stories, common challenges, and issues in project management. Yet we fail to learn our lesson from those stories.

In this article, we’ll walk you through 10 of the most common project management challenges and discuss how to deal with them.

10 Project management challenges and their solutions

Project management challenges and their solutions

1. Keeping teams on the same page

When we are talking about challenges in project management, what’s the one thing you find hardest to manage?

If you’re like most, it’s probably keeping all team members aligned.

Despite meetings and guidelines, communication and expectations can be hard to nail down. 

Assume you’re part of a team tasked with creating a new software application. Your team includes developers and designers. You want to design a feature-rich application with a lot of bells and whistles, but the developers and designers are unable to interpret that and begin working on a streamlined and user-friendly program.

Now guess what would’ve happened next? You are thinking right. 

There will be miscommunications, delayed progress, reduced morale, and ultimately poor outcomes.

Without clear communication and alignment of goals and visions, the desire for a feature-rich application can lead to a fragmented and disjointed approach, resulting in a product that is complicated to use for end-users.

So, the crux of the story is the teams must be on the same page to promote effective communication, efficient progress, high morale, and successful outcomes. But how do you do it? Consider the following:

How to keep teams on the same page

When the whole team is on the same page, it means everyone knows what they need to do, what they’re aiming for, and when they need to get it done. And for that.

According to a PWC survey, 77% of high-performing teams utilize reliable project management software with a wide range of built-in features

The very first thing you need to change is to keep all your team members on a centralized platform where they can quickly connect, and ProofHub does this excellently. How?

  • It keeps everyone in a loop using project discussions, to avoid efforts you need to find information through long email threads.
Project discussions on a single platform
  • It helps manage the tasks in real-time so that everyone is aware of what has to be done, whether it is about required workflow prioritizing tasks, dependencies, or defined deadlines.
Set task priority easily and manage task effectively
track how much time is spent on tasks

👉PRO TIP:  To maintain your team to be on the same page, you also need to do efforts like:

  • Make sure to conduct regular team meetings at least once a week to get a weekly update. You can notify all about this using a shared calendar and conduct meetings either online or offline.
  • Conducting “ask me anything” sessions to improve information flow, and reduce misunderstandings.
  • Communicate with the team and collaborate on work with tools only, and encourage your team to do so. Try to do everything, even making notes and adding stickers to tools if possible to organize your channel of work.

Using all of these tips can help improve performance and keep everyone on the same page when it comes to managing work seamlessly.

2. Poorly defining the goals and objectives

Another challenge in project work that managers face is defining project goals and objectives.

Are your employees unable to understand your point of view? Do they need to work again and again on a project?

If yes then there might be a chance that your goals and objectives are not clearly defined to your employees. And if that’s the case, don’t take it lightly.

Poorly defined goals, especially those lacking clear objectives, can cause problems in project management.

For example, if the goal is to “improve customer satisfaction,” it could be more clear about what needs to be addressed, such as lowering customer wait time, improving product quality, or improving customer service. Similarly, the goals should be measurable and attainable, such as cutting customer wait times by 30% in the next quarter or reaching a customer satisfaction rating of 90% in the next six months.

Without such specific and obvious goals and objectives, the project can soon derail, resulting in confusion, missed deadlines, and increased expenditures. This is because team members may be unsure about what they need to do or why they are doing it, which can lead to project delays and blunders.

To avoid such mistakes, creating clear and defined goals and objectives for any project is essential.

How to define goals clearly

So, how do you define goals clearly to face this challenge of project management?

Two factors are important to consider when it comes to SMART goal planning. These are “what tasks or projects are on priority”, and your “working style.”

You might be aware of which tasks are important and which ones are not, but have you ever been in a situation where there are so many tasks lined up and you have no plan in place?

Then you surely need to look at your goal-defining strategy:

1. Prioritize your goals

“Goal competition” is a concept in which one of the major hurdles to completing your goals is the other goals you have. In other words, your goals are fighting for your time and attention.

One of the quickest ways to define your goals is to simply put less important things on hold and concentrate on one goal at a time. For this, you should try the “Eisenhower Box

You will divide your work into four categories using the decision matrix below:

  • Urgent and important (tasks you have to do immediately).
  • Important, but not urgent (tasks you can schedule for later).
  • Urgent, but not important (tasks you can delegate to others).
  • Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you can remove or leave).

Define these and then add custom fields like important, on priority, and “less important while assigning the tasks. It helps your employees get better clarity on work.

2. Stack the goals

According to one of the studies, having a clear strategy for when, where, and how you will conduct the action increases your chances of success by 2 to 3 times.

In this study, participants were asked to complete the following sentence: “Over the next week, I will engage in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on [day] at [time of day] at/in [place].”

Researchers discovered that participants who completed this phase were 2x to 3x more likely to exercise than a control group that did not predict their future behavior.

This is the next stage that will assist you and your team in sticking to and completing your goals.

Before starting your work, tell yourself, “After or before [current task], I will [do this activity or another task].”

This habit stacking works successfully because you not only plan when and where you will implement your goals, but you also relate your new goals to something you already do every day.

3. Establish an upper-bound

We virtually always focus on the lower bound when setting goals. That is, we consider the bare minimum that we wish to achieve.

When you set higher limits for yourself, you get not just your required outcomes but more than that. So why not set it high?

3. Unrealistic deadlines

Unrealistic project deadlines are one of the biggest challenges in project work that teams and project managers confront, sometimes as a result of the difficult-to-meet client or stakeholder expectations.

Most project timelines do eventually slip due to the ‘unrealistic deadlines’. As we live in a world, where competition is getting aggressive and targets are set either unrealistic or unachievable rather than driven by calculated business requirements. From then, what begins is a desperate attempt where the team tries to fit the requirements in the already drawn boundaries.

How to deal with unrealistic deadlines

The solution to this dreadful problem of “unrealistic deadlines” is straightforward. You simply need to follow these steps:

1. Set the deadlines depending on the following criteria

You have to ask for feedback from team members and stakeholders on “how long it will take to complete” an assigned task or “how long it will take to review and approve” it. You can use various time estimation techniques such as the Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT), critical path method, work breakdown structure (WBS), and more to manage your project more efficiently

This can take a long time, but your efforts will be rewarded when there is a realistic timeframe for the entire team to follow.

2. Establish the roles

Clearly define everyone’s role and what is expected of them—both your internal team and anyone on the client side. Follow the above-mentioned strategy to define your goals.

3. Assign the tasks smartly

Divide the task into smaller tasks and give each one enough time to complete it to set a reasonable deadline.

Based on your knowledge of similar, previously finished work, you can set realistic deadlines with the help of good project management software.

These tools and software help you to take care of the project deadlines and other related issues in project management with impeccable planning, alternative analysis, and proper communication of the real-time progress. Plan your events, manage your schedule, and keep track of important dates with a project calendar.

4. Lack of accountability

Do your employees refuse to admit mistakes or errors?

Are they failing to keep their promises?

Do your employees disregard feedback?

If your team is having these problems, it could be a sign of a lack of accountability and this is another issue in project management. Each employee in the organization must understand their accountability to ensure a cohesive work environment where projects are finished on time and without errors.

How to deal with lack of accountability

To bring a culture of accountability to the workplace, the following things need to be established to deal with this project challenge:

1. Set up clear expectations

Clearly define what each team member’s role and responsibilities are. For example, if a project manager needs a report finished by Friday, they should convey the deadline and the required content to the team member who is writing the report.

2. Empower your employees

Give employees the tools, resources, and autonomy they need to complete their tasks. This includes training, access to software or hardware, and decision-making authority within their function.

3. Create a trustworthy environment

Employees must feel comfortable speaking out when they require assistance. Create a positive work environment in which employees can be open about their problems and receive help from their coworkers. A manager, for example, can urge their team to meet weekly to review their success and any issues they are having.

4. Promote ownership

Employees must take ownership of their work and accept responsibility for the results. This includes accepting responsibility for their faults and taking steps to remedy them. For example, if an employee makes a mistake, they should take the initiative to notify their management, present a plan for correcting the issue, and follow through on their plan.

Implement these solutions to bring a structure in your workplace, where everyone knows what to work on and can collaborate instantly to resolve a problem. Manage your projects and tasks effectively.

Together with these solutions, don’t forget to implement the following practices for project management. It will help your team to work on these challenges with you enthusiastically.

5. Scope creep in project management

Does scope creep surprise you too often?

Scope creep arises when a project gradually adds new needs or alters course, generally a result of client requests.

This is a common problem for project managers, especially when clients desire additional features without changing the project budget. Some clients struggle to express their project requirements clearly, leaving project managers to navigate ambiguous requirements and the possibility of unexpected changes. Are the same issues affecting you as well? Then take care of the following factors.

How to deal with scope creep

Avoiding scope creep will increase the chance of delivering the project on time and within budget. The following points if taken care of properly can help in preventing scope creep:

  • Make a clear schedule to outline every step of the project. 
  • Implement a change management process
  • Make sure that everyone is on the same page about the requirements.
  • Determine project goals (cost, schedule, quality) through a systematic process with project planning and understanding of the customer needs.
  • Make realistic assumptions about resource availability and deadlines to achieve quality results. As there is no 100% anti-scope-creep solution documenting what is happening and communicating challenges to stakeholders, team, and management in advance might help.
  • Use Gantt charts for better project planning and tracking and stay on top of project plans.

6. Insufficient team skills

A team’s success primarily depends on its members’ knowledge, abilities, and competency. When team members lack the knowledge or training to carry out their assigned jobs efficiently, it might undermine the team’s overall progress and can create many challenges in project management.

But most of the time, the team members are assigned tasks on their availability, not for their expertise in many projects.

Some projects are challenging or demand a certain level of knowledge and expertise, so it is up to you to decide whether team members need to be trained or to add someone with the required skills.

Besides this, a project’s progress can be seriously hampered by a lack of accountability, a tendency to blame others, and shifting responsibility.

How to deal with insufficient team skills

Remember that communication, teamwork, and individual development are the keys to enhancing team abilities.

You can assist your team in realizing their maximum potential by giving training, defining clear goals, and encouraging teamwork. Along with these considerations, keep the following four points in mind:

  • Determine each team member’s strengths and weaknesses. Allocate the tasks that will help them improve their weaknesses. This improves their performance and productivity.
  • Give team members the needed training and resources to help them improve their skills. Additionally, assist them when assigning new tasks.
  • Provide regular feedback to team members to help them develop their skills.
  • Through brainstorming sessions or team meetings, encourage team members to collaborate and share ideas.

7. Miscommunication that causes conflicts

How many times have you heard of communication issues as an excuse or explanation for unfinished tasks, projects that don’t meet deadlines, conflicts or not working together? Miscommunication and poor communication are some of the biggest challenges faced in project management that get in the way of successfully delivering projects.

Communication skills are the project manager’s greatest asset. No matter if you are giving instructions, asking questions, or seeking information, there’s always a challenge to provide clear and open communication.

There’s a reason why project managers should emphasize a lot on effective team communication. Because, most often, successful communication translates into successful projects as 57 percent of projects fail due to a breakdown in communications.

How to deal with miscommunication that causes conflicts

As a leader, how responsible are you, and how well do you try to communicate with your employees?

Undoubtedly, communication skills are the project manager’s greatest asset.

Let’s understand it by an example: A team leader assigns a task to a team member by email but fails to include sufficient details or a deadline. The team member believes the deadline is a week from the date of the email, whereas the leader believes it will be completed in two days.

This misperception might lead to disagreements and delays.

So, To avoid situations like this, you should have been more clear about the work, including the deadline, and should have followed up with a communication to confirm the task’s contents.

However, it is not only the leader’s responsibility as misunderstandings and conflicts also occur within the employees. To resolve that, ensure that:

There is a proper communication flow with the team and develops a particular way to deliver the information.

There is collaboration software such as ProofHub to ensure that project members are in the loop of the recent developments in the project. ProofHub makes it simple and quick to find any document that has been uploaded at any time in the past. Furthermore, you can take care of your communication by having conversations on the same page.

Foster active listening amongst the team members and across departments for a smooth workflow.

Conduct team activities to better their bond. I know this might be a very simple activity but it works, so make sure to decide a day to do this activity.

8. Risk management

In project management, risk management involves the identification of potential risks that may affect the project, evaluating their potential impact, and implementing ways to reduce or cope with them. Let’s say a project involves the development of a new product, one risk could be that the product does not fulfill client needs. To handle this risk, the project team might create an emergency plan.

To deliver a quality project you should focus on the project management triangle. However, oftentimes, projects don’t go as planned so risk management is one of the major project management issues that project managers have to deal with.

Management experts can tell how seasoned a project manager is with his ability to oversee risks that might creep up in a project at any time. These risks can be uncertainty in the financial market, hidden flaws in the project plan, or unknown factors that can impact the success of a project.

How to deal with risk management

A risk management process is a chain of actions that involves pre-decision-making, prompt execution of actions, and control to keep project completion within defined boundaries (time, cost, and quality).

For better risk management:

  • Identify, analyze, and evaluate risks early in the project life cycle and employ processes or be ready to mitigate risks in favor of the project.
  • Project failure occurs when there is miscommunication. It is also implicated in risk management. The most practical approach would be to disclose risks while working on specific tasks to your team members as well so that you all can work immediately on Plan B in case things don’t go as planned.

Read more: 11 Best risk management software in 2024: Choose the best

9. Challenges of teamwork

In a study published in The Harvard Business Review, we learn that ‘‘over the past two decades the time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50 percent or more.”

Teamwork isn’t teamwork unless the team works. A team consists of multiple members, each having a different personality, managing and catering to their needs can be a daunting task at times.

With so many people working on a project together, there can be disagreements and differences in a team that can hurt the project and work environment.

Issues and conflicts among team members are major challenges faced by project managers to deal with. They have to constantly look for ways to take everyone in a team together for the betterment of the project.

How to deal with teamwork challenges

I always make sure that my employees are satisfied and working together in harmony.

This is the reason, we at ProofHub always follow these points to make sure employees are working in a positive workplace and learning from each other:

1. Positive mindset

Everything you do is affected by your mindset. 

You may develop happy mindsets by fostering a supportive and loving atmosphere. People should feel empowered to handle problems as they arise. A positive outlook also implies that people believe they can deal with everything that comes their way.

2. Constructive feedback

When people receive favorable remarks, everyone feels better. It is important to celebrate one another and share our joy. Learn how to provide such constructive feedback by clicking here.

3. Do outdoor activities together

When people receive favorable remarks, everyone feels better. We must celebrate one another and share our joy. Learn how to provide such feedback by clicking here.

4. Accept diversity in the workplace

Almost all of us have had that moment in the office where our thoughts differed from those of our coworkers. But what happens after this is the actual thing to consider.

Let’s understand with an example –

What you do If a person next to you in a meeting says something you strongly disagree with, do you:

  • Turn off your working mood
  • Dismiss the given idea
  • The debate over the idea
  • Step out of the room

In reality, it should be none of these.

When disagreements are not handled properly, problems develop. Consider the following suggestions to keep your team together:

  • Value balance and diversity as it does not make your work and workplace monotonous.
  • Accept different opinions and see them as learning opportunities. To ensure everyone is happy and that creativity is maximized, opposing viewpoints should be handled carefully.
  • Even if your team members have distinct characteristics, they should be acknowledged for the talents they contribute. Make no decisions based on your personality.

10. Finding the right project management software

It can be tedious to identify the right technology for your project team that is within your budget, to manage your projects.

well-designed project management software will ensure that your projects are progressing according to the plan and that you get insights into all your projects. It can be challenging to find such a tool, especially those that meet your needs.

We know finding the right software is important but this leaves us with a very important question, “Which software is right for my team?”

How to find the right project management tool

The following factors can help you to know whichproject management toolis perfect for you and your team:

  • Can you guarantee that the project management software you select can efficiently plan and manage your work and team?
  • Does the tool adequately satisfy the needs of your team of any size?
  • Does the chosen tool provide a full range of capabilities all in one place?
  • Since implementing the tool, have you noticed a difference in how you manage your project goals and how your team performs?

You will be making the right decisions if you make sure that the tools you choose satisfy each of these requirements.

But if you’re trying to figure out which one tool completely checks off all the criteria, ProofHub is the perfect fit for you.

Not simply because I designed this tool, but also because we are actively striving to make it better and address all the issues raised above.

How ProofHub help overcome project management challenges

ProofHub is a powerful all-in-one project management and team collaboration solution that helps project managers to face project management challenges. This tool is designed to improve team communication, project collaboration, task management, time management, real-time tracking, and keeping the teams productive.

ProofHub’s extensive feature set can help you optimize your overall work and keep your projects on track. Give it a try and see the results for yourself.

1. Brainstorming & plan together

It simplifies the planning process by bringing teams together and getting them to brainstorm ideas faster.

Features for planning in ProofHub: Gantt chart, custom roles, task management, workflows, kanban boards, and calendar.

2. Work on projects in real-time

ProofHub gives agility to distributed team members so that they can come together and achieve great things at work.

Tools for collaboration in ProofHub: Group chat, online discussions, notes, email-in, and @mentions.

3. Streamline information in one place

Keep your files, documents, images, PDFs, and other important information together and save yourself from the hassle of scattered information.

Tools for the organization in ProofHub: Folders, Notes, Quickies, Calendar, Advanced search third-party integration with Slack, Google Drive, OneDrive, Box, and DropBox.

4. Instantly collaborate on feedback

Makes the review and approval process quick and easy.

Tools for online proofing in ProofHub: Markup tools to highlight sections and mark annotations on files.

5. Handle your resources effectively

Do resource allocation and management efficiently to deliver projects on time and within budget.

Tools to deliver projects in ProofHub: Timesheets, multiple timers, workflows and Kanban boards, and custom reports.


Project management isn’t what it seems – it’s much more than that. It’s a skill that takes time, patience, and perseverance. It requires you to constantly analyze setbacks and failures and implement the lessons learned from them.

When you focus on each challenge and find ways to deal with it before starting the project, that’s when you’ll be able to help project management successfully.

Related articles


What is the role of project management software in addressing project management challenges?

Project management software can help address challenges such as tracking progress, managing resources, and improving communication and collaboration among team members.

Which is the first challenge faced by project managers?

The first challenge faced by project managers is often team management, including building a strong team, setting goals, and managing conflicts among team members.

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