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How to identify project management problems before they become huge

The best leaders are always looking for ways to defuse problems and empower their teams. But it’s hard to avoid problems if you can’t see them coming. For project management, in particular, you need to be able to predict, identify, and resolve issues before they become bigger problems. Otherwise, you may find yourself like the captain of the Titanic, seeing only the tip of the iceberg, but not realizing the true danger that’s still lurking below the surface. In the end, avoiding issues that delay projects and impede productivity all comes down to team culture and project visibility. Here’s how to quickly spot project management problems and bring them to a swift resolution.

Project visibility is crucial to productivity

In an ideal world, your project initiation, creation, and delivery processes should be like an assembly line, with projects moving painlessly from one phase to the next. This linear structure is both an asset and a liability. If one part of the process is flawed, it can create issues for stakeholders down the line.

If we look outside of marketing and creative services into other service-based units, this becomes painfully clear. In the IT world, for example, 75% of software projects are “doomed right from the start,” according to a survey by developer Geneca. In that survey, most IT executives attributed those failures to a lack of defined project requirements at the outset.

This is why identifying issues early is so important, and it’s as true for individual projects as it is for your overall process. In other words, it’s important to identify a problem before it derails a project. But it’s even more important to identify a problem before it derails EVERY project.

Following the IT example, a great place to start uncovering project related issues is to review your project request process, the way you assign projects, and how stakeholders communicate expectations for deliverables.

Culture of communication

Analyzing your existing process and project lifecycle is a great start, but identifying project management problems is best performed through quality communication. Your goal should be to develop a culture where team members feel empowered to speak out about problems they’re having, not try to hide them for fear of reprisal. This can be accomplished by spending more time interacting with your team face-to-face, which has been linked to increased productivity and is a great way to strengthen productive relationships. It also helps to add robust collaboration tools that will allow your team to channel their conversations about problems into effective solutions. Fostering this kind of culture requires strong leadership and a focus on attaining shared goals.

Improving team communication and culture is the best long-term solution for identifying project management problems before it’s too late, but that will take time to develop. In the meantime, we recommend you take a step back and audit your operations to determine if there are inherent problems in your internal processes. To do that, you’ll need the right tools.

Tools that enhance project visibility

To truly optimize your project management processes and avoid small problems becoming huge, you need real-time, data-driven insights. That’s where a project management and collaboration solution like RoboHead can be so powerful. RoboHead was built specifically for in-house marketing and creative teams and comes with customizable reports and dashboards so you can know every project’s status at a glance. This gives you instant visibility into issues with scheduling, team capacity, deadlines, approval processes or other challenges. With this visibility, you’ll be better equipped to tweak your processes and create a more streamlined operation. Of course, once you’ve made changes, you’ll want to continue tracking KPIs and ensure that problems have actually been resolved.

Having true project visibility means being able to quickly and easily see where things are breaking down in your operation. Developing a culture of communication will help you identify those problems early on. With the right project management software, you can then take quick action to remedy the situation and get your team back on track. Comprehensive solutions like RoboHead provide enhanced visibility into your project management process so you can streamline your efforts and start producing your best work yet.

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