How to Avoid Project Blockers
Project managers are well aware of the obstacles. Projects with many moving parts require constant effort to move forward. Blockers are frustrating and inevitable things that can occur at the worst times. They can literally block the progress of a task. This article will discuss the various types of blockers that you might encounter and offer suggestions for how to minimize their impact.
What is a Blocker?
A project blocker is any thing that prevents progress within a project from happening. Blockers can be either a person or something, and they can be internal or externe. They can be a major problem and need immediate attention. Blockers are almost always predictable. Every project has dependencies and tasks that must happen before the others. Blockers stop these tasks from being completed.
Sometimes, impediments can occur that are not as severe as blockers, but they are still possible. They are often called bottlenecks or restrictions and can slow down progress but not stop it completely.
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One person or group of people can bring a project to a halt. You may have ever started a project only to have it halted by a new person or group. This person must be trained, which can take days or even weeks. The role of this individual may mean that the entire project will need to be put on hold until the person is able to pick up where the previous person left off.
People blockers are not always easy to avoid. However, teams grow and change with each other. It is best to get the new person in quickly and give them a little help to get them up to speed. As they integrate into the team and their role, you can support them.
Special attention must be paid to dependencies. These are things that occur immediately before or after a task or workstream. A brand new to your team that has been created by an agency outside requires approval before the website can be launched. Imagine that the agency project manager gives your timeline but it slips for unknown reasons. You are now putting off what you thought would be completed by June, adding weeks to your effort.
Although it is possible to predict this situation, it is not always possible to avoid it. To understand where they are with their efforts and what is left, constant communication with the vendor team leader or PM is essential. If you encounter a dependency blocker, it is important to reprioritize the project plan and identify areas you can start work on immediately. This will ensure that your team is ready for when the project can move forward.
Feedback Loop Blockers
There is nothing better than delivering a deliverable to be reviewed and reacted to, especially if it is timely. It doesn’t matter if it’s for an internal executive, vendor, or client, there is a feeling of accomplishment when you have completed a draft or final version. You can anticipate constructive comments or a thumbs-up. You send the email and anticipate a reply by the deadline. This is possible in a perfect world. It’s unlikely in the world of project managers.
A feedback loop blocker is when a reviewer keeps asking more and more questions about a deliverable, which can halt project progress. There are many ways to reduce feedback loop blockers.
Set up a feedback meeting. Instead of sending it off to oblivion and hoping that the best, schedule a meeting with the reviewer to go over the deliverable and ask them questions. You can then record the majority of their feedback in one session. Any remaining questions can be answered quickly while you are implementing the changes.
Combine feedback. Ask for feedback from each reviewer individually, with a clear deadline, if there are more than one. Then schedule a