Project management errors can result in lost money, time, and trust. Errors can pull you further away from attaining your goals, and, unfortunately, mistakes are not uncommon when it comes to project management. After all, project management skills are not something we are simply born with. A lot of professionals recognise this, and they undertake project management courses to attain the skills required. However, there are a lot of leaders that are making continual errors without even realising it. With that being said, continue reading to discover the most common project management mistakes and how you can avoid them.
Not having a metric in place to define success
How are you going to know if your project is on track if you do not have any metrics to define success? You need to outline goals and have a clear vision of what the end user is going to be happy with. This is the only way all parties are going to be satisfied – if you have a clear understanding of what makes the project successful.
You are going to have to be extremely lucky to embark on a project whereby no change is required. Projects change all of the time; from changes in direction, to missed meetings, to missed deadlines. Effective project managers need to be able to adapt to this, ensuring they steer the project in the right direction no matter what is thrown at them.
Providing timelines and deadlines that are overly optimistic
I was recently speaking to the CEO of a company that specialises in technical SEO, and they told me that in most business and project management, deadlines are crucial. This is true, and it is also one of the first things you will learn about during project management training, as you are simply setting your team up for failure if you choose overly aggressive timelines. Of course, you are only choosing such an optimistic deadline because you want to keep your clients happy. But, think about it like this – once you miss the deadline, your clients are going to lose trust in you.
Putting together a project plan that lacks detail
If your project plan does not contain enough detail, it is going to be extremely difficult to manage the project and ensure it is completed on budget and on time. Commitment and time will often be lost when a project plan does not have sufficient information, as all those working on the project do not really know where they are or where they should be. Delays are guaranteed if you make this error. Therefore, attempt to make the project plan detailed enough so that no one is left in doubt about what they need to do.
Valuing budget or scope over quality
A lot of project managers make this mistake because they become so consumed with delivering the project under budget and on time. However, this should never be prioritised over quality. It is crucial to remember that the standard of the work you produce is always the most important thing. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should start missing deadlines and charging extra. You need to engage your team so that they recognise the importance of quality deliverable and the long-term impact it is going to have on the project.
Lack of regular communication
Another common error that can have a hugely detrimental impact is a lack of regular meetings and communication. Communication is critical to the success of any project. Without it, the project is assured to fall apart. It is wise to choose a day and time to meet every week for a progress report on where the project is. Make sure you stick to the day and time in question, as this will ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Choosing the wrong team for the project
This happens much, much more than you would think. This is because project managers do not take the time to assess the right people for the job. The best people, with the necessary experience, skills, and knowledge are overlooked because there are no competency evaluation tools in place.
Being impersonal with your team members
Being distant and impersonal is not the best way to manage a project. You need to create an environment whereby your team members feel comfortable approaching you.
Putting too many projects into production at one time
A lot of project managers believe that starting all of their projects in one go is the best way to get everything done quickly. In fact, the opposite is true. This is a counterproductive approach, as multi-tasking can actually slow your team members down. Not only will it cause delays, but it can have a negative impact on quality as well.
Running projects without the necessary training in project management
From APM Project Fundamentals to PMP, there are many different project management training courses available today, and you are advised to take one. Firstly, you will be more respected by team members and stakeholders if you have achieved the necessary certification. Not only this, but it is important to also receive specialist training in order to carry out the role effectively. As mentioned, project management is not something you just naturally have. You need to learn about the ins and outs of what is required, as well as effective strategies to implement when dealing with different situations.
Relying on software and tools too much
There is no denying that software can help to make the process run smoother and can boost efficiency in certain areas. However, tools cannot do all of the work for you. Brainwork cannot be replaced with any form of functionality. The project manager is the one who holds the key to the success of the project. As they say, a bad workman always blames his tools.
Failing to get everyone behind the project
Last but not least, another mistake that can result in the failure of a project is failing to get enough support by all of the people and departments that are involved or impacted by the project. There are numerous ways this occurs. Perhaps you failed to create a sense of urgency about the project? Maybe you did not explain how you would evaluate everyone’s contributions? Or, could it be that you did not clearly explain what everyone’s role was?