Software Project Management Challenges and Opportunities

29 Nov 2021
top 10 project management challenhges

Whether you are a student working on your first project or you are an expert, you will still deal with one of the software project management challenges and opportunities. Sounds weird, right? Maybe. But in every project, you need constantly track the progress in correlation with project requirements.

Despite multiple productivity tools, training materials, and new methodologies, is still a challenge to prevent delays in project management.  A study published in the CHAOS report states that 69% of projects face delays. It is the responsibility of the project manager to remain constraints such as time, scope, and budget within the plan. However, while doing so they face many challenges.

We have created a list of the top 10 project management challenges that project managers face.

1. Choose the right project management tool
2. Analyze the conditions, audience, and situation
3. Set success criteria and clear goal 
4. Feature planning 
5. Keep documentation up to date
6. Maintain project hierarchy
7. Project management skills of team members
8. Develop clear communication and teamwork
9. Update stakeholders regularly
10. Unrealistic deadlines

In the article below we will discuss the top 10 software project management challenges and opportunities.

1. Choosing the right project management tool

According to Capterra research, 39% of users are not satisfied with their current project management software.

That is a good reason to pay attention to choosing the right project management tool. On the contrary, most people in charge don’t watch more than two demos before purchasing one of the tools. 

Further, the most desired features in project management tools such as Gantt charts and burnout charts are at the same time most ignored ones. Too many ignored and confusing features increase space to develop bad habits in requirements documentation.  Root in that is not evaluating what specifications the team is looking for before purchasing. Before purchasing the PM software, it is important to estimate what outcomes you want to get with the tool and how.

Even though the selection criteria for the project management tool depends on the organization and not each team specifically, it is important that the tool meets organizational needs as well. The organization should estimate what functionalities are required and what are optional.

2. Analyze the conditions, audience, and situation

Proper planning before the process starts includes conditions, audience, and situations. By analyzing different project management challenges before the project starts, you will find more solutions for possible challenges later.

For example, audience analysis helps you identify the most important and most influencing audience for the project. Audience analysis provides the identifications of persons or organizations the project should target with its messages. It also finds the most effective channels to pass information to its target audience. Here you should identify the identity, knowledge, attitudes, and practices of the key audience.

Second, situational analysis helps to understand the environment where the project will be delivered. As matter of fact, you can do it by SWOT analysis which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. 

3. Set success criteria and clear goal

Being specific about what you want to do is critical for successful project completion. 

Failure to set success criteria and clear expectations can lead to many other issues such as changes in resources and stakeholder management. Moreover, research by PMI says that 29% of project management teams cited inadequate goals as the reason for unsuccess. 

Goals, just like the User Stories, should follow the SMART model. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Decomposing the project into smaller tasks makes it easier to follow the SMART model. Then, assign these tasks to team members and set first acceptance criteria and definition of done. 

Set success criteria and clear goal as a project management challenge

4. Feature planning 

Product development is a sum of features and tasks. For easier feature management, we divide them into tasks and subtasks. The agile methodology supports handling the projects by finishing tasks by task. That makes the work easier to manage, but at the same time, team members lose the track of feature goals.

Agile methods allow easy tracking of tasks and issues, but not tracking of features. One of the top 10 project management challenges is to miss out on the big picture. By documenting and planning on a higher level than the task, you develop consistency with the product team. Also, your documentation will be more organized. 

With JadeALM you can help to manage the many different steps of feature planning and define a clear process for you and your team.

Keep documentation up to date

Company executives for decades have agreed that good access to information is the key to productivity. It saves time and frustration and cuts the possibility of duplicate work.

IDC cited that knowledge workers spend two and a half hours a day searching for information. Moreover, the cost of intellectual rework and the inability to find knowledge resources is estimated to be $12 billion for 500 fortune companies. 

Yet, in working on software development projects, most people struggle with finding the right and relevant information. Not only that they sometimes don’t have the access to needed information, but the information is also not up to date. Worse, decisions may be based on outdated or erroneous information, which leads to project delays or unsatisfied users. 

With a single source of truth, JadeALM makes sure your documentation is relevant everywhere where you can find it. It also saves you from manually updating written requirements to more places.

6. Maintain project hierarchy

One software project has a lot of features which are divided into tasks and subtasks. With multiple skills needed for multiple features and many phases of the project, it is easy to get lost. That is why arranging information in hierarchical order helps to see where certain information belongs. 

Cross-functional teams that work on complex projects often struggle with organizing information from bottom to top. JadeALM ensures a hierarchy that relates to or consists of the steps and actions crucial to making the project easy and successful. A project hierarchy includes the vital aspects of sorting out the project.

project hierarchy

6. Project management skills of team members

If you are someone who is responsible for the outcome of the project, interpersonal and team skills are definitely something you should have in mind. Since the goal is to reach the highest productivity possible, you need to know how to ensure comfortable teamwork.

To reach productivity, each team member assigns the task that they have matching skills for. However, 78% of project management employees think that people need more project management skills. To improve your team members’ skills, as a project manager you should assess their workforce and workload.

There are some productivity tools that track the workload of team members. They can also optimize employees’ time by reminding them to take a break.  

7. Develop clear communication and teamwork

Communication can make the same project very good or very bad. Good communication means a good understanding of tasks and good updates to stakeholders.

Miscommunication is the reason that 12% of managers report as a cause of conflict. Further, lack of clarity of the roles and personality clashes have a great deal in communication. Regular and brief meetings can be a way to go with avoiding conflicts. Eventually, throughout some features in the PM tool, you can also encourage communication. 

Jade has the option to discuss the topics on the board. Scrolling to material, you will always have a clear view of who added what and at what time. Confusion about ownership stops because the owner of every comment is visible. 

Good communication is crucial in teamwork.  In teamwork, each team member has to be accountable for their tasks. Accountability in teamwork helps to increase productivity. For better tracking of the tasks, JadeALM lets you assign them intuitively from a single source of truth. That prevents overlapping and helps you to find the cause of problems.

communication and teamwork as a Software Project Management Challenges and Opportunities

9. Regular updates to stakeholders

To prevent changes and misunderstandings in time, it is important to keep stakeholders updated. An uninvolved stakeholder can have a different vision of the project goal. If all expectations are not correlated, in later phases of the project it can cause a lot of struggles.

As two-thirds of organizations communicate with stakeholders throughout the PM tool, it’s a good solution to include them. That way they can participate and discuss progress, as well as give up-to-date feedback. 

In fact, the sooner you include them, the better. Ensure you include both internal and external stakeholders from the initiation phase. Have regular discussions with them and address their suggestions and concerns.

10. Unrealistic deadlines

It is ambitious to go for early deadlines, but unfortunately, it doesn’t always work. Having unrealistic deadlines is another problem in project management. The cause of this problem is often insufficient estimation of teams’ capabilities. The role of a project manager is to estimate, negotiate, and execute project timelines together with setting the right deadline for each task.

To overcome this challenge, a project manager should take care of sprint velocity. Velocity is a measure for one work unit completed in a specific timeline, usually called sprint. The whole team and their progress affect sprint velocity. However, sprint velocity should be estimated during the planning phase of the project.

For the purpose of better estimation, a project manager should continuously monitor sprint velocity and deadlines. This helps to notice project creep in time and either avoid it or decrease its influence on deadlines. 

How to overcome top 10 project management challenges with JadeALM 

Many of the listed project management challenges require patience and perseverance. After starting a project, you can analyze what and why did go wrong and implement your own solutions. However, a lot can be overcome with a good organization and an efficient project management tool. JadeALM can help you with it.


– is simple and intuitive to use 

– provides multiple ways to visualize the project 

– frees you from the manual update of changes in every part of the project

– helps you to always have the big picture overview
– offers the possibility to make your own states for clarity in scrum board

– gives you space to discuss the task

There is a whole more for overcoming project problems and solutions. Try it out for free and let us know how you like it.


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