Written by Pete Wilkinson

Last updated 14 October 2022 ·

Seven project management challenges and how to overcome them

Being a project manager is not an easy task. Not only do you have to juggle multiple plates at once, but you also have to contend with various challenges that can pop up at any given moment. Something constantly threatens to throw your project off course, from scope creep to risk management.

Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of seven of the most common project management challenges, along with some tips on overcoming them. So next time you’re facing a difficult situation, refer back to this list for some helpful guidance.

Seven project management challanges

1. Defining the scope of the project

One of the most common project management challenges is poorly defined scope. This usually happens when the project requirements are not clearly laid out from the start. As a result, team members are left confused about what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by.

To avoid scope creep, it’s essential to spend time defining the scope in as much detail at the beginning of the project. Write down every deliverable that needs to be produced, every task that needs to be completed, and every milestone that needs to be reached. Once the scope has been clearly defined, share it with all team members and ensure everyone is on the same page.

2. Unclear objectives

When objectives are unclear, they often haven’t been prioritised. This occurs when the project’s goals are poorly defined, leading to confusion and frustration. Team members don’t know what tasks need to be given priority or how their work fits into the bigger picture.

The best way to overcome this challenge is by setting clear objectives from the outset. Make sure everyone involved in the project knows what needs to be accomplished and why it’s essential. Once objectives have been defined, create a timeline for each goal and delegate specific tasks to individual team members.

3. Lack of communication

If team members aren’t kept in the loop about changes or updates, they could end up working on outdated information, ultimately wasting time and effort. Similarly, if team members don’t feel like their voices are being heard, they may become disengaged and demotivated, jeopardising the entire project.

The key to overcoming this challenge is effective communication. Communication is key! Make sure you’re regularly sharing updates and changes with team members so everyone is always kept informed and on the same page.

Create an open and inclusive environment where team members feel valued and respected. You may revisit your existing employment policies and procedures to see where you can make adjustments. For example, you might implement an inclusive parental leave policy or flexible working hours for team members to feel supported and appreciated. Or roll out a new communication platform that makes it easier for team members to share ideas and collaborate.

Whatever your approach, the important thing is that you make a conscious effort to improve communication within your team.

4. Time management

Project managers also often have trouble keeping track of time. This is because it can be hard to guess how long a project will take, especially if it is complicated or has many moving parts. As a result, project managers often find themselves working long hours and weekends to meet deadlines.

One way to overcome this challenge is by using project management or OKR software. OKR software combines performance and project management by optimising the work planning and execution process. OKR stands for Objectives and Key Results, essentially a goal-setting framework used by many of the most successful businesses worldwide. This type of software can help you clarify what needs to be done and keep track of time by assigning due dates to key results, tasks and milestones. Moreover, OKR software can help you address some of the previous challenges mentioned by clarifying objectives and breaking them down into measurable key results and milestones. Everyone involved in the project can access a central OKR plan or have their own action plan of execution. Communication becomes centralised, workload structured, deadlines crystal clear and progress highly visible to all involved. Find out more here.

5. Stakeholder management

Another common challenge that project managers face is stakeholder management. This is often caused by the many different stakeholders involved in a project, each with its own objectives and goals. Trying to keep everyone happy can be difficult, especially when conflicting interests exist.

The key to managing stakeholders is effective communication. Keep all stakeholders updated on the project’s progress and ensure they understand how input is used. Identify areas of conflict early on to address them. Our [1-3-5® OKR software system]( allows all stakeholders to see the progress of their project in real time against pre-defined objectives and key results. The pace of project execution becomes faster as employee engagement, motivation and focus are dramatically increased.

6. Cost management

It can be challenging to control costs when so many variables are involved in a project. This is often caused by scope creep, when the project’s scope expands beyond its original boundaries. As a result, project costs can quickly spiral out of control.

The best way to overcome this challenge is by having a clear budget in place from the outset. Ensure you understand the project’s costs and allocate funds accordingly.

7. Risk management

Projects often involve a certain amount of risk, which can be challenging to manage. This is because there can be unknown factors involved in a project, leading to unforeseen problems and challenges.

The best way to manage risk is by identifying it early on. Set aside enough time to assess all the risks involved in the project and create a plan to address them. Additionally, try to build some flexibility into the project so you can easily adapt if something goes wrong.


Project management can be complex and challenging, but it’s also gratifying. By overcoming these common challenges, you can ensure your project is successful. To maximise your projects’ productivity, efficiency and effectiveness, consider implementing OKRs and using OKR software to manage real-time progress and performance across project teams daily.

For more information on this, get in touch by emailing or download our OKR Builder™ and learn how to create compelling OKRs that cascade effectively across different project teams in your organisation.

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