7 Problems That Disrupt Project Performance

Watch Out For These Troublespots That Could Stop You Delivering Your Project

People at work
Working together. Tom Merton/CaiaImage/Getty Images

Every so often your project will hit a difficult spot. Projects just do – navigating through them successfully is part of the role of being a project manager.

When you do hit problems with project performance, you need to know where to look so that you can put it right. Here are 7 things that can cause your project to struggle. Take a moment to check whether any of these apply to you.

Lack Of Support

Not having the right people to support your project is a real problem and it’s going to disrupt your performance.

An effective project sponsor is the answer. However, your whole team should be supportive of the project and what you are trying to achieve.

Check you've got the right people on the management team who can champion the project and help you get it over the line. If you don't have the senior support you need, talk to your manager, the Project Management Office or your sponsor (if they're open to the conversation).

Poor Relationships

Poor relationships between the different people on the project team will cause issues like miscommunication, lack of commitment, failure to complete tasks and more.

Address this through team building and focusing on building trust across the team. Make sure you deal with conflict on the project team. This is harder to do in virtual teams, but if you put the effort in and set a good example, you'll slowly turn the relationships around.

Unclear Project Vision

When you don’t know where you are going, your project could go off in any number of directions.

That will impact performance, because the best projects have a clear goal, and the clarity of vision that means everyone understands why they are taking part in the project.

It’s relatively easy to fix an unclear project vision. You should have the project’s goals and objectives documented in the project charter.

Go back to that (or create one if you don’t have one already) and make sure that everyone understands what they are. If they are unclear, then work as a team to sort out exactly what it is that you are going to achieve with this project and document it in a way that makes sense.

Lack Of Equipment

Sometimes it’s the lack of kit that hampers your project performance. The wrong machinery turning up on the site can put your schedule back several days or longer. The inability to source the right computer parts can delay your manufacturing or even your prototyping.

Planning in advance and making sure that you are clear about what equipment you’ll need at what point in the project will help you avoid these issues disrupting your performance.

Social Media

Yes, social media can disrupt your project because your team might be spending too much time on their personal accounts.

Social media itself isn’t a problem, and many project teams take advantage of the collaboration features inherent in social media tools to work together on their tasks. But excessive use of personal social media can see productivity drop, and in turn that will affect your project performance.

Poor Leadership

Did you ever consider that you might be the problem on your project team?

The role of the project manager is a wide-ranging and varied one, and it’s a leadership role. If your leadership isn’t helping the team move forward, then it could be disrupting their performance.

Signs of this would be a lack of motivation, reluctance to take your calls or respond to your email and poor attendance at project meetings.

The best way to find out if your leadership is at fault is to change it up. Try these 5 ways to motivate your team to see if you can boost your team’s morale and focus more on the softer skills of leading at the same time.

Poor Work Environment

If your team is getting constantly interrupted, then you can’t expect performance to be good. The positive news is that it’s relatively easy to fix. Move your team away from the noisy areas of an open-plan office.

Also look at some of the other environmental factors that might be affecting their ability to concentrate, such as poor lighting, uncomfortable office chairs or low-level noise coming from machinery like the lifts.

Check out these 7 things that can derail your project for more suggestions for how to keep your project on track for success.