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Business environments in 2020 were characterized by uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. From managing remote teams to embracing new business models, business leaders have been under constant pressure to adapt and evolve. The project management office and service delivery teams have also felt the heat. Driving projects to success in this new normal isn’t easy. Project managers need to balance time, scope, budget, and people, while teams continue to work remotely for an undefined time.
We asked business leaders and project managers across different industries to share their biggest project and time management challenges. Let’s learn more about those challenges and how to overcome them with real, actionable insights.
Challenge #1: Managing Remote Teams
For many project managers, managing remote employees for the first time can be an overwhelming prospect. Ottomatias Peura, CMO at Speechly, shared his remote work challenge observations with us: “Many challenges have increased this year,” he says, “due to the need for us to create new processes and ways to manage our projects during the pandemic lockdowns and subsequent remote work. One of the most challenging things currently with time management in our projects is the attempt to manage all of them remotely.”
The onus of creating an environment where employees are productive, engaged, and thriving rests on business leaders. Ottomatias agrees, “When our employees see that we are willing to allow them to work out their schedule amidst all the struggles with childcare, we have found they become more committed to getting their work done, not less.”
With the right project time tracking solution, you can give your employees the flexibility to work from anywhere, anytime, while accurately tracking attendance, project time, costs, and progress. Features, such as a mobile app, can empower your remote workforce with the ability to check schedules, manage project time, request time-offs, submit expenses, and get real-time notifications on project status — wherever they are. You can then leverage accurate, real-time data to make proactive decisions and streamline processes for improving employee productivity and morale.
Challenge #2: Organizing Teams and Tasks
For Holly Winters, account executive at Brandcave, organizing teams and tasks has become a real roller coaster with the outbreak of the pandemic. “In my experience, nearly every challenge a team faces in regards to project management stem from a lack of organization. Luckily, we can alleviate these issues with real-time notifications, reminders before important deadlines, and integrations with the software we already know and depend on.”
When working remotely, it is easy for work to become disorganized. While your team’s physical location may vary, they need a single source of truth for all of their time and project-related data to ensure streamlining of processes for better organization. Top-tier project management platforms should provide real-time notifications when a new project is assigned, a task is nearing the deadline, or a business metric reaches a certain threshold requiring an employee to initiate corrective action. This can drive harmony across business groups by integrating with other systems you use like payroll solution, HRMS, CRM, ERP, and more.
Challenge #3: Effective Communication
According to a PMI survey, one in three projects fails because of ineffective communication. Using emails, spreadsheets, or point solutions to track and share important information can prove to be inefficient. For instance, when a client asks to push a deadline forward through email, it has to be manually updated to a board or a sheet to which every team member has access. If not, it will create unnecessary confusion.
Brack Nelson, marketing manager at Incrementors, reiterates the importance of effective communication. “Adequate communication in project management is greatly important for a successful project. You need to have up-to-date and transparent methods of communication. Project managers often rely on several collaborative and project management software programs available in the business to ensure that everyone stays updated. These collaborative tools not only make it more comfortable for managers to carry on their responsibilities but also ensure greater clarity in projects and accountability within the team.”
Using a complete project time tracking software solution can simplify the number of tools needed and aid in easier communication. A unified platform can consolidate all project-related information in one location and serve as a single source of truth for your CRM, ERP, project management, HR, payroll, accounting, and any other systems. Your teams can then generate real-time insights on multiple moving parts such as budgets, timelines, resources, and targets to share with relevant stakeholders at regular intervals and keep them aware of time spent, deadlines, and overall progress.
Requests and approvals form another major part of internal communication. They could be for funds, resources, time off, or something else. Automating these workflows can reduce overheads and lead times for your global organization while streamlining communication and collaboration.
Challenge #4: Managing Time and Productivity
Bret Bonnet, co-founder of Quality Logo Products, says that managing time has always been a challenge: “The pandemic has forced us to up the ante on our time management and productivity management game,” he says. “Time management has always been a major problem; well before the entire office started to work remotely. Part of the issue was employees were spending unnecessary time in certain areas of a project.”
Your employee’s work hours include project and non-project time, time spent on administrative tasks, and billable and non-billable time. While leaders want their employees to spend most of their time on billable hours, non-revenue generating yet essential tasks such as filling timesheets, attending skill-development training, pre-contract consultations, invoicing, and processing payments consume considerable amounts of time. When unchecked, non-billable hours could eat into billable hours, impacting the bottom line.
Use a project time tracking solution that lets you track resource utilization rates for identifying productivity blocks well before they cause a problem. For instance, you could set target billable hours for every employee and measure productive vs. non-productive hours with 100 percent accuracy to understand which employees are likely to hit their end-of-period goals and which ones need help.
Tackling Your Project Management Challenges
At Replicon, we’ve helped our customers leverage time data to solve every challenge around project management. Replicon’s Project Time Tracking platform serves as a single source of truth for all time data, enabling global businesses to gain control over projects, resources, costs, pay, and billing. Complete visibility into this consolidated, up-to-date data ensures all relevant stakeholders have a clear picture of the project performance, including potential risks, distribution of responsibilities, and the overall project goals.