Common Project Management Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Common Project Management Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Every project is different with its own challenges and pitfalls. But in all projects, there are some common places where things can go wrong. Read on for easy ways to avoid those problem areas before they become a systemic issue for the entire project.

Assigning the Wrong Project Manager

This is a company failure, not the project manager. A company that selects a project manager who lacks the experience can expect the possibility of failure of the project. Making sure the most qualified individual with the necessary skill set is hired will assure success.

Lack of Resources and Skills

A qualified team can only do so much. Particularly if they aren’t qualified in the correct skillsets or if they don’t have the resources necessary to complete the tasks required. Ensuring the team has all they need before starting any project is critical.

Doing Everything Yourself as a Project Manager

When a project manager does not allow a team to share their ideas and suggestions because they think they know better, members stop talking. They don’t feel as engaged. Project Managers need to be open to suggestions and learn how to delegate tasks and show trust for their team.

Failure to Communicate Properly

Clear, consistent communication with team members is crucial for project success. Lack of adequate communication leads to misunderstandings which can turn into delays and project mistakes. It also leads to team member mistrust.

Poor Project Initiation

Kicking off a project is an important part of the process. Everyone on the team will have a clear idea of the project goals and their individual roles and responsibilities. Failure to do that will keep team members in the dark as the project begins and have the project manager playing catch up from the start.

Lack of Clear Objective

A poorly defined objective can spell disaster for a project. It can cause team members to be confused about their roles and responsibilities and the project to have time and budget overruns.An unclear objective will also result in the lack of success measures, another crucial factor in project success.

Wrong Estimation of Time and Budget

Nothing will make a stakeholder lose confidence faster than a project that goes over budget and past deadlines. If estimating budgets and time needs isn’t a strength, get advice from someone who has done a similar project. Don’t try and show off at the expense of the project.

Failure to Manage Project Scope

Scope changes are a common cause for project failure. It is important to define the scope of a project during the planning stage. This ensures that the Project Manager, Stakeholders and Sponsors and all team members are on the same page. If it is necessary for the project to be altered after this, then it can be addressed.

Micromanaging Projects

It is common for new project managers to want to make sure everything is going perfectly smoothly. This naturally creates a tendency to micromanage; oversee the team as they do every minute detail of the project. Asking continually for updates of progress. Having regular meetings where updates are given and team members can communicate their progress is a much more effective way to manage a project.

Not Following a Process

There is nothing worse than starting with energy and optimism only to end up wandering in a mess because the team doesn’t know where they are going and what they are doing. Having a work schedule that has assigned roles with defined tasks and deadlines will assure that the project flows smoothly and meets all deadlines.

Not Updating Stakeholders on Progress and Setbacks

Some projects have a long list of stakeholders and each one has different levels of involvement in the project. Sometimes it can be a challenge to know who needs to be updated, what they need to know and when it needs to happen. Making a chart and schedule will be helpful to make sure you are keeping the right people connected with the right information.

Resisting Change

Projects are like living, breathing things…not made of stone. There is a fine line a project manager must walk. Big changes that take the project away from its core purpose must be avoided. But a confident project manager does not resist new information or data that can change the course of the project for the better.

If you can manage to avoid all these pitfalls…or at least most of them, then you are well on your way to project management success. Don’t expect that you’ll be able to avoid them just by knowing them ahead of time. Things can always sneak up on you. But having a little heads up may make you more savvy at correcting the course when trouble arises.