50% of Project Management Offices (PMOs) close within just three years. (Source)
More than two-thirds of all projects were not completed on time and on a budget over the past year. (Source)
33% of projects fail because of a lack of involvement from senior management. (Source)
From the above statistics, it is evident how silly project management mistakes are costing big bucks to projects and project management organizations. These mistakes affect performance, cause delays, and, in some cases, lead to major failures as well.
In this article, let us take a look at common project management mistakes that need to be avoided at all costs. Here are some of them:
1. Not employing an inexperienced project manager
A project manager is the captain of a ship. Oftentimes, he is directly responsible for the failure and success of a project. Getting an inexperienced project manager is like risking a project as every project comes with different requirements and needs to be handled differently.
Solution: It is wise to employ a project manager with a certain body of work and experience having skills in alignment with the requirements of a project.
2. Unclear objectives and success metrics
Most projects don’t fail because of improper planning or unwanted risks, they fail due to the lack of clear objectives and goals. After all, you can’t build a multi-storey building on a weak foundation. If team members fail to understand project objectives well, they can’t deliver successful projects.
Most industry experts use a method called DUMB that stands for Doable, Understandable, Manageable, and Beneficial to define clear goals and objectives.
Solution: Before you start a project, use the DUMB method to define clear objectives and communicate it to team members.
3. Not following a clear process
If a project team is not following any process, things will get haywire in no time. You have to have a structure to keep the entire team focused. As a project manager, understand the needs and requirements of a project. Then, figure out a process and the best project management methodology for it.
Solution: Know your team members’ strengths and weaknesses before coming up with a strategy. Be picky while choosing a methodology as every project management methodology is best suited for projects of a specific nature.
4. Poor resource planning
Improper use of resources tends to impact the probability of a success in a big way. Sadly, most of the times, team members are chosen not due to their skills and experience but as per their availability. If the chosen team members aren’t well-casted, this puts the project in a jeopardy.
This is why it is important to hire an effective project manager that select team members wisely who can deliver expectations successfully and contribute to bring the project to a successful end.
Solution: At times, it is better to have 6 proficient team members than having a team of 12 inexperienced bunch of folks.
5. Ineffective communication with stakeholders and team
There is a popular saying that goes like this, “It’s always better to over-communicate than to under-communicate in project management.” As a project is always undergoing developments on one front or the other, deadlines can be met easier and faster if everyone is kept in the loop.
Solution: Choose a preferred way of communication – written, verbal, face-to-face and stick to it. Be consistent with it so that team members and stakeholders are well-informed of decisions, exceptions, changes, and so on.
6. Not using a project management software
Smart project managers always know how to make the most of technology and tools that come with it. Believe it or not, many successful companies are already implementing at least one or more project management tools to get things done faster.
The main purpose of using project management tools is to help managers plan, execute and control all aspects of the project management process. Whether it’s a complex or simple project, you’d end up improving resource efficiency and project tracking with these tools, if used the right way.
Solution: ProofHub is one such tool that eliminates the need of having too many tools for your business. It comes packed with powerful features such as online proofing, Kanban boards, Gantt charts, and dynamic reporting features. Check out its features here.
7. Unable to manage scope creep
In project management, scope creep is one of the biggest causes of project failure. It usually starts with a small change request which is followed by one more request. Then another and so on. As a project manager, it is your job to take care if deliverables are in accordance with the budget and deadline or not.
Solution: One way to avoid scope creep is to start involving sponsors in the scope planning process. Offer your interpretation and ask for their suggestions and recommendations as well. Keep them well-informed in case of any new changes in the project.
8. Micromanaging a team
A good leader is someone that trusts his team members and give them the freedom to make their own choices. As a project manager, that’s exactly what you need to do. Micromanaging your team could make employees rebellious and affect the work environment as no one likes to work under a controlling team leader or manager.
Solution: Set goals at the beginning and have periodic check-ins to determine progress. Be respectful of the working style of team members. Create a positive work environment and encourage honest dialogue.
9. Not evaluating your completed project
It is disappointing that many project managers tend to avoid evaluating a project once it’s done and dusted. Irrespective of the outcome, review the project at least once. Doing so will give you an opportunity to make note of all the learning points. Also, if similar issues arise in the future, you know how to handle them.
Solution: Gather for a brief meeting with project managers. Ask questions and document what went well and what didn’t. Think of new techniques and approaches that could have helped the project and other important factors. Keep them it a centralized place accessible to all.
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How do you avoid project management mistakes?
These are 9 common mistakes that affect projects along with their solutions. With good planning and effective communication, these mistakes can be easily avoided. Tell us in the comments section what you do and how you avoid and tackle project management mistakes. We’d love to hear from you!