Project Management

Effective Problem Solving for Project Managers

PMI Kenya Chapter

Stephanie is a project process specialist, trainer and mentor. She is the Lead Consultant at Jaeger Consultants Ltd in Nairobi. Stephanie specializes in the human aspect of project management and leadership, and encourages discussion and feedback. She also writes regular blogs on

Having been thrown into project management against my wish and totally unprepared, I found myself struggling to deal with problems from day 1. My first big project was a failing project, one that I was expected to bring back on track. Having been trained in the medical field, I had absolutely no subject matter knowledge in this data infrastructure installation project. I had to learn on my feet, and from there I quickly picked up a few tricks on how to approach problems in projects.

Project managers in all levels of the company—doing all kinds of projects, both internal and client facing—encounter issues on a daily basis. As much as we try to capture all risks and prepare for them, there will always be an unexpected problem that no one could have predicted. These unknown unknowns can be anything from team members going on strike over political fracas to material or equipment failures and power surges that blow everything up (even though we had “clean power”).

Problem solving is an essential skill to handle the issues project managers encounter on a daily basis. Effective problem solving actually circles around the people element in your project management. How you relate and interact with people has a major impact on how effectively and how quickly you can solve problems. One of the reasons why the new PMP® exam will include 42% of questions in…

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"O, it is excellent To have a giant's strength! But it is tyrannous To use it like a giant."

- William Shakespeare