Back in the old days when information was scarce and limited, it made sense to blame all project management challenges on people management skills.

Here are 5 common challenges you might have come across across multiple articles:

  • Not having a clear goal
  • Having unrealistic deadlines and expectations
  • Not creating accountability
  • Miscommunication
  • Lack of engagement with stakeholders

However, a lot of teams are able to get past these challenges today thanks to the internet. There are more communication tools than ever, multiple project management methodologies, and a never ending collection of productivity tips.

Today, the challenge with project management isn’t with the people skills, but with the tools we use! Because even after correcting all of these challenges, teams are still looking to move away from their project management tools!

A buyer report from Software Advice says 56% of the project managers are looking to switch their project management tool every year!

If you want to deliver exceptional software for your customers, watch out for these 5 challenges with project management tools that lead to subpar software being shipped.

5 project management challenges that is caused by your tool

In conversations we’re having with software companies, one word that surfaces often is “pain”.

The pain of aligning everyone on a common goal. The pain of not being able to collaborate cross functionally because the tool is too rigid and you’ll have to setup multiple configurations. The pain of getting teams to learn new terminologies. The pain of not being able to make sense of all the changes your team makes and how it all affects the macro-level picture.

They are clearly in a lot of pain. And the solution to it isn’t about assigning tasks and setting due dates. Let me explain why by expanding each of these challenges.

1. Aligning everyone on a common, big picture goal

A lot of teams use a project management tool that makes them fill out a form which keeps those user stories and tickets in isolation. Team members then view what’s assigned to them and check them off one by one.

The problem is, most project management tools focus far too much on just making sure you’re completing what’s assigned to you within the due date.

While it is important, software development isn’t about checking off tasks assigned to you. The best software is developed by people who are able to focus on the fine implementation details while still having a picture of the broader purposes of the feature as a whole.

Having your user stories and tasks sit in isolation makes it exponentially harder to make your team care about what they’re building or understand why they’re building it. It only incentivizes your team to complete things faster.

2. Learning new terminologies

Let’s be honest…

The first time you tried to learn agile and its methodologies you scratched your hair wondering what on earth an epic meant. Or what the difference between Scrum and Agile was.

The unspoken project management challenge - how most teams are when learning agile terminologies

While the methodology might work, it’s incredibly hard for someone new to get a grip of what each of those terminologies even mean. Let alone getting productive.

What if if your team could become agile without having to spend time learning the terminologies or the tool? Wouldn't that be great?

3. Unable to collaborate cross-functionally

It isn’t enough to just ship new features today. You need to make sure the design is pixel perfect, the user flow is smooth without any friction, the software is bug-free. And the list goes on.

That means, when working with members from other teams, you need to what they’re working on and know their progress too! But when your tool is built purposefully only for development without taking into consideration the other teams who are involved in the process, how do you collaborate with them?

Surely you can’t be switching between multiple tools for each team! And of course, nobody wants to set up more configurations in an already cluttered tool and see a dip in your development team’s productivity!

4. Inefficiencies in tracking progress in multiple teams as you grow

As your organization grows and adds more team members, people will move around and your processes will change.

There will be a lack of visibility in the day-to-day activities of your direct reports, additional communication overhead between teams will creep in, and a general confusion around responsibilities will begin to come up.

All of this will lead to a dip in your team’s productivity and the quality of features you deploy. According to market research firm IDC, companies lose 20 to 30 percent in revenue every year due to inefficiencies.

So, how do you remove inefficiencies from your development process?

5. Understanding how a micro-level change affects the progress at a macro-level

The biggest challenge for managers is the ability to track at a micro level (task level) and being able to see how its progress affects at a macro level (feature level).

An even bigger problem is being able to take all the micro level progress from multiple teams and understanding how it impacts the progress at feature level.

The multiple challenges and needs of project management
The pyramid of development tracking needs

And how do you make sense of all these updates when design, development, and QA team are tracking their work between sticky notes, simple task lists, and inside GitHub?

The lesson here is if you’re building a product or features, traditional project management tools will overwhelm you as you’ll quickly outgrow them.

They are not built to handle the varying needs of building a software with multiple team members. Which is why, most tools require you to configure and set it up correctly before you begin using it.

All that time you are spending on managing your tool and setting up configurations and asking your team to update progress is time you should be spending on building your product and your business.

This lesson was learned early on by a Zepel customer. Instead of me telling you what benefits they say, I’ll let them do it themselves with this image.

User review of Zepel on Product Hunt
What a Zepel customer thinks after using the product

Now, imagine being able to bring in your entire team and start working on your next big feature in less than an hour. No need to get your team to learn new terminologies or the tool. No configurations. And no clutter.

As they make progress, you can see a snapshot of the work at every level — at an individual user story, in a specific team, in a sprint, or at a feature level.

If you think you are experiencing the challenges I just listed and you want to streamline your development process so you can ship better software, you should check out Zepel already!