The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world

3 Ways Project Managers Can Anticipate, Avoid and Mitigate Problems

Hello, this is Laura Lee Rose.  I am a speaker and author. I am an expert in time and project management.

I help busy professionals and entrepreneurs create effective systems so that they can comfortably delegate to others, be more profitable and have time to enjoy life even if they don’t have time to learn new technology or train their staff.  I have a knack for turning big ideas into on time and profitable projects.

At the end of the day, I transform the way you run your business into a business you love to run.

Today’s comment came from a busy professional.

3 Ways Project Managers Can Anticipate, Avoid and Mitigate Problems

What separates the good, or the great, project managers (PM) from the just so-so?

pmtriangleThe answer: How they handle problems when they arise and they prevent them from derailing deadlines and the budget.  Some of the top issues projects frequently face are:

Problem No. 1: Team members not knowing or understanding what their responsibilities are, not owning their part of the project.

Problem No. 2: Meeting deadlines.

Problem No. 3: Scope creep.


Problem No. 1: Team members not knowing or understanding what their responsibilities are, not owning their part of the project.

The PM is responsible for effectively conveying the project scope, goals and individual team member’s responsibilities.  The best way to assure that your message has been conveyed is to ask each team member to paraphrase the goal and their part/responsibility/role in achieving the goals.  They need to also paraphrase the consequences of not achieving the goals – not only for the company but for their careers as well.

Depending on one-way conversations like email and memos will not assure that your team understands their role.  Creating presentations and status reports does not fully verify the team’s ownership.

Implementing one-on-one manager’s meetings will increase transparent communication between the employee and employer.  Adding one-on-one project manager meetings with the various managers on the projects will do the exact thing for the project.


Problem No. 2: Meeting deadlines.

Meeting deadlines is one of the critical skills of a PM.  The first step, of course, is to create deadlines and milestones.  Milestones are the mini-deadlines used to stay on course.  It is critical to associate a customer-releasable deliverable at every milestone.  The deliverable can be as simple as the requirement specs, a presentation, a prototype, a demo, an update, early alpha or beta versions, etc.  By delivering early and often to the clients does several things:

1)    Keeps the clients involved and gives you early feedback on how your features are matching your clients’ expectations.  The product needs to match the client’s need and not your design.  You are building the product for the client’s use; therefore, it’s imperative that you get the clients’ perspective along the way.

2)    Forces the team to work on the quality of the deliverables all along the way.

3)    Can continually provide the clients with their minimum requirements (to get them moving forward on their tasks) while you continue to enhance the product for future releases.

Another tool is risk management.  There are various ways to manage risk.  Risk Management and Risk Analysis incorporate contingency plans for high-probability/high-impact issues.  Taking the time to visualize what “could happen” in the project, then sorting which items are most likely to happen with a high-impact to the project.  Those items you put contingency plans in place.

Training every member of the time on good estimation skills will have a profound effect on accurate schedules.  I have an article and presentation on the 12 Tips of Realistic Scheduling  To download the article, register HERE.

Creating a Recovery Protocol Chart is also useful in meeting deadlines.  The  12 Tips of Realistic Scheduling  talks more about the Recovery Protocol Chart and Change Management in general. To download the article, register HERE.

Problem No. 3: Scope creep.

Change Management is the tool that you implement to eliminate scope creep.  Once you have a well-defined feature set and requirement documents – any deviation of those requirements go through a Change Management process.  CM outlines the consequences of the request including level of effort, resource requirements, delay in schedule, affect on other dependencies (identify any change reaction), quality issues or budget concerns.  Once all these things are clearly outlined, the team can make a better decision in moving forward with the change.

Creating a Recovery Protocol Chart is also critical in reducing Scope Creep.  The  12 Tips of Realistic Scheduling  talks more about the Recovery Protocol Chart and Change Management in general. To download the article, register HERE.

I know your situation is different. Why don’t we schedule an appointment, where I get to know more about your unique situation? And then I will be happy to make recommendations on what your best steps are moving forward. To schedule an appointment, book it HERE.

With enough notice, it would be my honor to guest-speak at no cost to your group organization.

I have a monthly presentation on “how to say YES to everything but on your own terms”. To sign up for the complimentary course, go to




About the Author

Laura is a Corporate Exit Strategist for the Blooming Entrepreneur. She is a certified business and personal life coach, specializing in time management skills, project management training and work/life balance strategies. She has been in the software and testing industry for over 20 years. She’s worked with such companies as IBM, Ericsson, Staples, Fidelity Investments and Sogeti in various client advocacy and project management roles. The techniques she uses in her business coaching and client advocacy work saved these companies both time and money, which resulted in on-time, quality product delivery with higher client satisfaction. Laura now uses her client focus, project, quality and people management skills in her personal life coaching career. As a personal life coach, she helps people transform their life by integrating their goals and dreams into their everyday lives. Laura uses creative and practical tools to help her clients realize what really matters to them. She helps others to easily transition into their next chapter whether it’s the next ladder of success within their corporate environment or into the entrepreneurial playground. I am not a fan of choosing to act in spite of fear. Rather, together we will collaborate toward a plan of inspired action. We will develop a plan together that you feel confident and excited about. For us, Taking The Leap will be magical, exhilarating and natural. If you are eager to take that next logical step but are unsure what it is signup for the Corporate Exit Strategy Coaching group. We have books, tapes, training materials, twice-monthly group coaching events, 3-day workshops, and individual coaching sessions to help you on your way toward your freedom and prosperity.
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