Like a fingerprint, no two software development projects are the same. Whether it’s the technical requirements, the business processes or the metrics that are critical, each project has its own unique scope or work.

But software projects oftentimes come with technologies, systems or software that are new or simply unfamiliar to the project team. These problems are routine, and as an experienced project manager, you have a list of ideas ready to go alleviate the problem.

Occasionally, though, an issue may present itself that you aren’t prepared for. When it does, here are some tips for delivering a solution that’s not already in your toolbox:

Stay Calm and Positive

When presented with a problem that you don’t know how to solve, an instinctive reaction is to panic. However, fear and panic will not only deter you from finding the solution you’re looking for, but it can also shake up your team and create worry in them as well.

In order to have the most effective team possible, you need a team that knows that a solution is on its way. In the event of a problem presenting itself that seems impossible to solve, take a deep breath and reassure yourself that you can do this. By staying positive, staying calm, and reassuring yourself, your team, and your client that the problem will be alleviated and a solution will be presented, the problem will seem more manageable.

This is also a great moment to reassure your team, your client, or anyone else that is affected by the problem that they’re in good hands. If you need to employ the art of compromise—adjusting deadlines, altering requirements, etc., now’s the time to do so.

Analyze, Research, and Brainstorm

It will be impossible to offer a great solution to a problem if you don’t take the time to analyze the problem, do a significant amount of research about the problem, and brainstorm about potential ways to solve the problem. Assign members of your team to each relative aspect, host a brainstorming session, and look beyond what’s right in front of you—third-party resources might be incredibly valuable in delivering the solution you need.

Additionally, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. While solutions never thought of and tried before may seem intimidating, creativity can be key in solving complex problems. The more you know about the details of a problem, the resources you have, and the potential solutions you can utilize, the more informed your final decision will be.

Make a Decision and Act on It

Once you’ve exhausted all of your options and analyzed a problem as much as possible, now is the time to make a decision. Depending upon the circumstances of your problem, you may present a variety of options to the client, or you may decide that choosing a solution on your own is the best route to take. Either way, once you have made up your mind about how to act, be steadfast and confident in your decision.

Learn from the Challenge

While you might think that the job is done once you’ve found and presented a solution, as a project manager, it’s important for you to reflect on the experience and learn and grow from it. After a decision has been made, you may think about what you could have done differently, and steps that you’ll take next time a problem arises. By thinking critically about the issue you solved, you’ll prepare yourself for future challenges.


Gary_Galvin2About the Author
Gary Galvin is a consultant, sales leader and CEO of Galvin Technologies, which is a Salesforce Consulting Partner known for creating solutions that increase revenue and improve business processes. Galvin Technologies focuses on using technology to provide a personal and consistent experience that turn prospects into life-long clients. Gary leads the direction of the company while focusing on new customer acquisition. You can follow Gary at @gary_galvin or on LinkedIN.