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The Fears that Keep Project Managers Up at Night

Articles,30 Oct 2018
The Fears that Keep Project Managers Up at Night

This time of year, there are plenty of spooky things that go bump in the night. For project managers, however, worries often go far beyond ghosts and ghouls to more serious worries that can change the way they do business. Are these common fears keeping you up at night? We might just have the solution to scaring off your spooks (and with no extra Halloween candy calories required)!

Fear #1: Project Failure
Project failure is one of the most common fears among project managers. Past negative experiences, lack of experience, and other factors can all lead to project managers who are too tense to adequately manage their teams. They may struggle to keep their cool when things inevitably go wrong or find themselves struggling to keep everything together. Worse, project managers may end up in over their heads because they’re unwilling to ask for help–all because they’re afraid of getting it wrong (or of being perceived as getting it wrong).

The solution: Weigh the risks associated with your project and maintain clear and transparent reporting throughout. Your reports should show the entire process, including decisions made, who is working on the project, and who is responsible for each decision along the way. With the help of reporting tools like those available in Z-Stream, including Release Notes and Timesheets, you’ll always know what stage your project is in, what has been done, and what may need to be changed in order to achieve better results. Thanks to these reporting tools, you’ll get a better look at where your project is and be able to prevent potential pitfalls before they become a more serious problem.

Fear #2: Changes
Many project managers have a deeper fear of change than they do any monster lurking around the corner on Halloween. Unfortunately, changes occur on almost every project. It’s often difficult to predict them, and they may appear with a high degree of urgency, requiring fast responses from every member of the team. If this causes you to freeze in fright, you’re certainly not alone!

The solution: Changing your perspective can go a long way toward helping you vanquish this fear once and for all. Instead of viewing it as a bad thing, look at change as an opportunity for improvement. Change often comes in five clear stages: negation, or denying that the change is needed; anger, or reacting badly to the change; bargaining, when you do your best to avoid the change if at all possible; depression, when you give in and accept it (but you don’t have to be happy about it); and adoption, when you finally accept the change and adapt. Instead of getting stuck on those early stages, learn to move more easily to the last one by shifting your perspective on change by viewing it as a positive opportunity for your project. Using the right project management tools and software, like Z-Stream, can make it easier for you to handle and integrate change throughout your organization.

Fear #3: Project Management Tools
Project management tools can be difficult to learn how to use. Not only that, many of those tools are difficult to implement and actually suck time out of your business day, which can lead to frustration from all of your team members at the increased workload. Many project managers dread the introduction of new software and tools to their teams, especially if those tools come with extensive functionality and added complications. 

The solution: Project management tools have the potential to streamline the way you handle team interactions and projects. Instead of looking at them as something to avoid if at all possible, do the research to find a tool that genuinely fits your project goals. Then, provide the necessary training so that every member of the team fully understands how to use it. Z-Stream, for example, offers a simple, intuitive interface that’s easy for most employees to figure out. If you want to try it before you buy, you can request a demo that will allow us to show you all of the advantages of this tool.

Fear #4: Misunderstanding
Project management isn’t just about managing a product. It’s about managing people. 57% of projects fail due to a breakdown in communications. Many project managers struggle with a fear of misunderstandings that may arise throughout the process. New teams working on a project for the first time can make communication increasingly difficult, while managers who are focused on scope and timeline instead of people and communication can destroy your team’s ability to work together effectively.

The solution: Create clear methods for communication throughout the project. Make sure that goals are clearly communicated, and hold regular meetings that will keep everyone up to date on the latest project changes and challenges. The more clearly your team communicates, the better you’ll understand the pieces necessary to progress.

Fear #5: Planning
Planning is a big part of the project and one of the most important details–and it’s one of the pieces that the project manager is almost entirely responsible for. Good planning requires time, effort, and organizational skills–and many project managers are terrified of getting it wrong. Poor planning can result in projects that fall apart, a scramble to reach deadlines, and even project failure.

The solution: The right project management tool will help define how smoothly your project will move from planning to execution. With Z-Stream, you get a variety of tools that will allow you to more effectively plan your sprints, schedule releases, and keep everything moving smoothly and according to plan throughout the life of the project.

As a project manager, you have plenty of things to fear–but this Halloween, we can help you alleviate many of those fears. Contact us today to learn more about how Z-Stream can vanquish some of the monsters in your closet this season. Happy Halloween!