Common Project RoadblocksWhen a project is initiated, its folly to assume that the project should run smoothly without any roadblocks. The reality is that nearly all projects experience some degree of course correction and often times have to overcome project roadblocks. These circumstances delay timelines, stress resources or alter intended outcomes, definitely not desirable! A few of the more common project roadblocks that are experienced most frequently include loss of engagement from stakeholders, aversion to change throughout the organization, and undefined project goals.

Lack of Engagement as a Project Roadblock

Without the proper support from stakeholders throughout a project, even the best projects can die a slow and painful death. A common reason for this project roadblock is that there was not enough buy-in among stakeholders at the onset of the project. Stakeholders should be invested in the project from the beginning and continually engaged throughout the project’s life cycle. By being involved, they can assist in the guidance of the project to make sure that the work is in line with expectations. Loss of engagement from the stakeholders can happen for many reasons, but as a member of the project team it is important to continually involve stakeholders. With their support, a sense accountability and responsibility for the project’s success will be maintained throughout the leadership of the organization.

Aversion to Change as a Project Roadblock

One of the more ubiquitous project roadblocks is an organizations aversion to change. Many times when a project is initiated to improve a process, the organization’s members automatically dismiss the initiative. This dismissal can be for many reasons, such as previous project failure, insecurity in organizational structure, or a fear of losing a job due to the new process. A roadblock such as this one can be mitigated with a comprehensive communication plan created by the project team and sanctioned as well as delivered by leadership. As a project team member, it is important to communicate clearly what the project’s intent is and how the organization will be effected to ensure that there is opportunity for dialogue within the organization.

Undefined Goals and Measures as a Project Roadblock

A project can’t move forward successfully without a clearly identified goal. It should be well understood that a properly defined goal is critical to a projects success. In addition to the identification of a goal for the project, the measures by which success will be graded are also extremely important in a project. Losing sight of projects goals and measures acts as a roadblock because of it inhibits team members’ work. A project team needs to understand what the purpose of their work is, and how that work will progress toward meeting the projects goal. Without a strong understanding of both goals and the measurements of success, teams will experience the effects of project roadblocks even though the roadblock only exists virtually.

While it is common for project roadblocks to emerge during a project’s life cycle, the key is to anticipate and mitigate them. One of the best ways is of course to understand what common project roadblocks exist and prepare your reaction plan to minimize the adverse effects of these more common and inexcusable project roadblocks.

About Michael Parker

Michael Parker is the President and CEO of the Lean Sigma Corporation, a management consulting firm and online six sigma training, certification and courseware provider. He has 15 years of experience leading and executing lean six sigma programs and projects. As a Fortune 50 senior executive Michael has had oversight of project portfolios as large as 150 concurrent projects exceeding $100 million in annual capital expenditures. Michael has also managed multi-site operations with accountability of over 250 quality assurance managers, analysts and consultants. He is an economist by education earning his Bachelor of Science degree from Radford University while also lettering 4 years as an NCAA division I scholarship athlete. Michael earned his Six Sigma Master Black Belt certification from Bank of America and his Black Belt certification from R.R. Donnelley & Sons.

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