A new research survey from the collaborative work management software, Clarizen, reveals that poor communication is the biggest barrier to project success. Close to 40% of respondents identify communication as one of the biggest challenges they need to overcome – ahead of organisational change (36%) and budget (25%).

The survey, which gathered responses from more than 700 project management officials at enterprises around the world, also shows that other obstacles to success include lack of project visibility (18%) and task tracking (17%). More than two-thirds of the respondents work for companies with at least 1,000 employees, with 43% having workforces numbering at least 10,000.

David Goulden, Product Director at Clarizen, says: “The findings highlight the need for businesses to equip employees with tools that place communication in context with tasks, resourcing, deadlines and other business imperatives, while providing capability to monitor progress, align goals and meet objectives. This enables a level of collaboration that keeps projects on track, on budget and on time.”

The research also reveals that communication and collaboration between employees working from different locations and time zones is a problem for enterprises, with fewer than 40% of respondents saying their organization was fully effective at enabling team members across different departments or locations to cooperate and keep in touch – and 6% say they are “not effective at all”.

“The results demonstrate the fact that, despite the widespread use of chat apps such as Slack, organisations are struggling to nurture effective collaboration between dispersed teams,” Goulden notes. “Communication that fosters true collaboration is at the heart of successful teamwork that boosts productivity and enables teams to meet shared goals. Enterprises need to find ways to tie communication to work on a day-to-day basis.”

He adds: “As we look to the future, remote working is going to continue to rise, which means workforces, and even specific project teams, are going to become even more scattered. Organisations need to make sure they are truly business agile by providing tools that support full collaboration among employees working from diverse locations.”

Clarizen’s research also revealed that 18% of respondents spend from a quarter to half of their workweek on status meetings and nearly half (48%) spend up to a quarter. The research highlights the “touch-base” culture taking hold in the modern workplace, which is characterized by numerous meetings that detract from actual work by forcing them too provide project updates throughout the workweek.

Goulden, says: “An excessive number of status meetings usually indicates that employees are unsure of their business objectives, or they lack full visibility of responsibilities, priorities and progress. Despite being scheduled with the best of intentions, status meetings often keep people from actually completing tasks and, in fact, become drain on productivity.

“Businesses need to equip their employees with cloud-based tools that can provide staff at every single level with a real-time, 360-degree view of each project, meaning they can spend less time talking about goals and more time achieving them.”