Most businesses are probably familiar with their projects getting derailed or delayed for so many different reasons. Every company probably has at least one story about a project taking longer than planned or going over budget, even when using project management software. Why is that the case? There are a number of common mistakes that even experienced project managers go through. We’ll explore the 12 most common here and give advice on how to avoid them.
1. Having the wrong project manager.
A common problem that happens is when businesses focus all of their efforts on identifying the right resources for the project and don’t spend enough time finding the right person to manage the project. It happens more times than we can count that a business chooses a project manager based on their availability as opposed to having the necessary skills.
Selecting a project manager that’s inexperienced or not a right fit for the position can actually derail a project before it even starts, so to avoid this mistake, simply take the time to choose the project manager whose skills match the job required.
2. Not getting buy-in from the team.
Projects can often fail because there isn’t enough support from the team affected or involved in the project. Managers either don’t clarify team members’ roles or they don’t explain how the project will benefit those involved if completed successfully. This can also happen if people don’t understand the urgency or necessity of the business so don’t spend the necessary time and energy on it.
To fix this problem, project managers should take time meeting with the whole team and holding a presentation about the purpose of the project and why it matters.
3. Not getting buy-in from the executives.
This one is pretty straight-forward but it surprisingly happens quite often. Someone near the top of the organization must own the project and champion it. If there is no guidance from the upper echelons, it will soon fail or flounder.
4. Working on too many projects simultaneously.
Managers often make the mistake of thinking that working on many projects at once is more productive. In reality, it’s the opposite. When people multi-task, they actually end up working slower and the quality can be negatively impacted. These delays end up pushing all projects behind schedules as there are bottlenecks here and there.
To stop this issue happening, reduce all the other work while people work on a key project. That means everyone involved can dedicate more time to working on their tasks and handling issues as they come up.
5. Insufficient meetings for project management.
Successful projects require good communication throughout. If project managers fail to communicate with their teams clearly and regularly, the project won’t last very long. These meetings don’t need to take a lot of time out of the day. Simple pick a regular day and time of the week to meet in person or online and stick with it until the end of the project. This time has to work for the whole team, not just some members. the keeps the project moving with everyone on the same page.
6. Changing the scope.
If you don’t have a clear goal or you change the scope half way through, your project will fail. This is very dangerous and one of the main causes of cost and time misallocation. Even small changes can have a trickle-down effect that will delay the whole operation. Instead, from the start have a clearly defined scope and keep an eye on the project to make sure that it doesn’t change as the project moves forward.
7. Unrealistic timelines.
Project managers naturally want to keep the executives and clients happy, but the wrong way to go about doing this is by giving optimistic or unrealistic timelines. What will end up happening ’s you’ll miss all your deadlines or cause your employees to burnout by working overtime, leading to a lack of trust between the client and project manager. Instead, use project management tools to manage your timeline, and be sure to add a time and money buffer to your project.
8. Lack of flexibility in project management.
Your project plan outlines everything that needs to happen, who is responsible for which tasks, and the important steps of the project. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be flexible and adapt to new suggestions or changes along the way. At a few steps along the course of the project, take a step back and revise your plan to see how you can keep improving your work based on what’s already happened. You don’t need to constantly make changes, but you should at least be open to the possibility.
9. Not tracking changes.
When you do make changes, you need to have the right system in place to track these changes and the approval process. Decide on this system from the start so that every detail can be tracked. This becomes really helpful at the end of a project if a performance audit takes place.
It’s important for project managers not to micromanage their teams. Instead, hold scheduled updates and meetings to get updates and progress reports. This builds trust in the team and allows the manager to focus on the more big-picture stuff.
11. Relying too much on software.
While you want to have a good project management software, it can’t fix all issues. Choose software wisely that the whole team will be able to use properly, then make sure they all receive training on tracking different steps. Also, don’t prioritize software over getting the right team members for the job.
12. Lack of success metrics.
Project managers need to be able to determine what makes a successful project. They should understand what will make all parties of the project satisfied and how to get there. Or else, there is no benchmark for when the project is done or knowing if it’s been done well.
A journalist with Essay Writing Service, Aimee Laurence shares her thoughts and suggestions about successful and effective project management. She has consulted many businesses on their projects and shared what works best. She also works as a freelance editor for Essayroo.com.