We often encounter problems on a project, and sometimes even the best of project management practices isn’t able to avoid them. But we know there are also those other problems on a project that should never have arisen in the first place. Sometimes it comes down to the way the project is managed, and the skills and experience of the project manager, as to the kinds of problems you encounter, and whether they are the avoidable or non-avoidable type. But there are other times when problems can be avoided by simply using the right kind of project management tools for the job. So I thought I would illustrate 4 common project problems that are avoidable, or at least mitigated with the right project management software.

1. Budget blowouts
We’ve all encountered budget problems on projects before and it is inevitable that problems will arise that force the budget skywards. But there are also times when the budget is beginning to come unstuck, and the project manager isn’t even aware of it. It’s at these times that it’s crucial to know exactly where your budget and costs figures are at so you can begin to make immediate changes to get the budget back in the black. As I was once told, being in the red on a project is often manageable so long as you are aware of it, but being in the red and not knowing is where the real problem lies. Good project management software should be able to give you up to the minute accurate budget information.

2. Unexpected events that you really should have expected
How often have you heard someone one a project say ‘Well I didn’t expect that to happen’, yet it’s something that they really should have been aware of? Good project management software should have an issues log and risks register, as well as a user friendly interface to ensure everyone is accessing and contributing to the database. With project management software, you only get out what you put in, so you need a data rich central database in order to be able to expect and predict problems that may arise. If the solution is user friendly with a comprehensive issues log, more people with use it and contribute data so everyone stays on the same page and ‘unexpected’ issues don’t arise.

3. Schedule blowouts
All kinds of things can affect a project’s schedule, including (but of course not limited to!) weather delays, funding, change orders and defects. We know project management software isn’t good enough to control the weather, but it should be good enough to help you identify where your schedule is being affected and take immediate steps to minimize the impact, or alert other stakeholders of changes to the schedule. Gantt charts are one of the most effective ways to manage your schedule, and interactive Gantt charts that integrate with other areas of the software to provide accurate schedule information are a must.

4. Customer demands not within the original scope
Another headache encountered on projects is a customer demanding something that was not within the original scope of the project, but insisting that it was. Or worse yet, refusing to pay for it. This is when you need accurate records with detailed information about the project scope at your fingertips, as well as any emails or other records of communication between the two parties. Good project management software will have all the project information stored in a central database that everyone working on the project has been contributing to. And in the case of IPM, all email communication can be automatically filed under a unique tracking code for each transaction, so you not only have a comprehensive email log, but individual emails are also easy to locate.

Of course, project management software is not the answer to every problem on a project, but there are certainly some problems that can be countered with a combination of good project management, and the right kind of project management tools.

You can find out more about IPM Project Management Software by contacting us for a free demo, or posting a comment below.