Halloween at the Office: 4 Situations That Can Scare a Project Manager

October 28, 2015 by FlexPro

PMHalloweenThe dropping temperatures and rustling leaves have started to signal the true arrival of the fall season with Halloween trailing close behind.  Horror films, frightening costumes, and haunted attractions dominate the landscape, remaining a source of dread for the faint of heart.  And while there are enough seasonal scares roaming the streets and on television, more terror can await across the threshold of the office doors.

As a project manager, feelings of accomplishment and control are common when sailing is smooth over the course of a long-term assignment.  But, as any professional knows, days where all goes according to plan are few and far between.  Even when calm is written on the calendar, it’s typically short-lived and overridden by unforeseen challenges.

This week, we take a look at some of the more common challenges faced when taking on a lasting project.  In the spirit of Halloween, here are four situations that can scare project managers on the way to performing in accordance with the company plan.

Dates Moving Right

The Challenge: Project deadlines aren’t being met, forcing dates on the plan to move to the right.

The Solution: Identify the cause of the delays and find a way to mitigate them moving forward.  Additionally, it’s important to inform any major plan alterations to key stakeholders in order to manage expectations over the coming months.  Lack of communication only creates a further rift between the project team and those counting on them to get the job done.

New Faces

The Challenge: Integrating new faces into the project team at critical junctures of the plan.

The Solution: It’s not uncommon in the modern PM environment to see the project team change frequently through the integration of outside assistance.  Utilize an ability to evaluate strengths and weaknesses to find a place for an added associate and bring out the best in them.  Appreciate a fresh perspective and communicate expectations frequently.

Individual Performance

The Challenge: The project falters due to poor performance on the part of an individual team member.

The Solution: Be open and honest when addressing the issue, offering support while trying to ascertain what is causing a lack of success.  Over-communicate deadlines when reiterating team goals and project importance.  Create an environment where all team members can succeed and imagine all possibilities moving forward to be best prepared for future delays.


The Challenge: Deadlines are approaching and tension is high as a result of lofty expectations.

The Solution: Whether you’re working through remediation or being pushed by commitments made by those above, some sort of pressure is always present.  While a healthy sense of urgency can drive a project to success, constantly working under the gun can lead to oversights and poor interaction between colleagues.  The theme of strong communication holds true to the highest degree, as a PM must act as a constant bridge between the team and those overseeing the department.  A high-pressure environment requires attention to detail, a keen eye for potential roadblocks, and quick yet creative solutions to deal with them.

Subscribe Today!
Gain instant access every month to the latest resources and insights from top experts in the industry. Sign up below to get started.
Sign up below to get started.