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What difficulties might a project manager encounter when...

Paul Naybour Discussion started by Paul Naybour 3 years ago

Hi Paul, 

Could you give me some feedback on this question please. 

Jenny 

What difficulties might a project manager encounter when running a project in a well-established operational business? 

The three main areas of difficulty can be grouped as People, Technology and Process. 
1) People can pose difficulties as the project manager is unlikely to also be the line manager for people working on the project team this can create a problem where the priorities of the project manager and the priorities of line managers are in conflict. For example a project manager may require a laboratory technician to support the development of a new protocol, but their line manager also needs them to complete some routine test work which they feel takes priority. Taking the time to complete the test work first may cause delays to the project. 

2) Further difficulties with people can arise as a result of internal politics and resistance to change where members or departments within the organisation do not feel that there is a need for change or that the project does not serve their best interests. This might take the form of an unwillingness to engage with the project manager or to ensure that sufficient resource is available to complete the project according to the planned timescale. 
The project manager’s duty to undertake a thorough risk assessment before implementing any project may also cause problems with other people in the organisation who are keen to see the project success and perceive this process as unnecessarily pessimistic. This can make it difficult to maintain effective working relationships across organisational functions that will ultimately be required for the implementation of the project. 

3)The development of new technologies brings a considerable amount of risk in terms of the timescale and budget of a new project. In developing both new hardware and software there may be unforeseen technical issues that must be overcome before the project can move on, for example bugs in a new piece of software or supply problems with highly specialised pieces of equipment. 

Development of new technology also often requires skills that are not available within the organisation itself. This can lead to reliance on external contractors with the necessary skills for the delivery of the project which reduces the ability of the organisation to control and monitor implementation as it usually would. Maintaining an informed, interactive, constructive and partnership approach with suppliers is important in ensuring the quality of any deliverables. 

4)Finally, most mature organisations will have well defined procedures for e.g. budget control, procurement and risk management. These procedures can be frustrating to the project manager as they slow down the rate at which the project can be taken forward. For example if the project manager wishes to procure external expertise they may be constrained by a list of approved suppliers or have to go through a competitive tender process that will delay the start of the next phase of the project. Project managers also need to be aware of internal policies for e.g. finance, HR, planning and configuration management to ensure that they are meeting the established expectations and legal requirements across the organisation. Conversely organisations which lack sufficient control can lead to a different set of problems as different parts of the organisation may adopt different and conflicting approaches to e.g. reporting or resource allocation that make planning difficult. For example the organisation may rely on the discretion of line managers of division heads for the allocation of resources and a project manager will then have to work around the different styles and preferences of these individuals which will be more time consuming and politically challenging. 

Replies
Paul Naybour
Paul Naybour @Jenny The examiners are looking for 3-5 paragraphs each of which is worth 10 marks. To get the marks you need to write 2-3 sentences in each... Show more 3 years ago
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Jennifer
Jennifer Hi Paul,

Thank you for feeding back so quickly. Is this one better? I think I am struggling to turn all my bullet points and lists into prose...
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3 years ago
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