Project Management Mistakes to Avoid


Project management mistakes

Managing a project can be challenging, but there are many areas you can focus on to help ensure that everything goes according to plan. Most experts agree that project management isn’t a genetic trait or a unique ‘talent.’ Rather, it requires a combination of experience and hands-on training.

In addition, project managers have to show more tenacity and drive at work. It can be relatively easy to make mistakes such as failing to delegate properly, not optimizing resources, and, worst of all, not gathering feedback. It’s important to understand the common mistakes frequently made in project management so you can preempt them.

Ineffective Delegation and Workload Distribution

If this is your first foray into the realm of project management, you may be tempted to take care of every task on your own. It is important to understand that as a project manager, you are playing the crucial role of resource allocation and workload distribution. Your task is to create a plan that your team members can follow, conduct meetings, manage risks, and run meetings.

Mismatching Strengths/Competencies and Responsibilities

As a project manager, your main priority is to assemble the most effective workforce you have available and provide them a productive work environment. This means you must have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of all your team members.

If there is a mismatch between your team’s skills and the requirements, the project will inevitably run into inefficiency that could lead to failure. This isn’t about micromanaging every single move - it's about constantly evaluating whether your team is capable of delivering the project on time and creating accountability.

Finding a way to match the skills of your team members with the project tasks is an art that you can only develop with experience. You also need to know your team members exceptionally well to be able to understand their skill set and motivation.

This means you should constantly assess your workforce to establish whether every team member is being utilized effectively on the project.

Not Optimizing Available Resources

Another mistake that project managers often make is the resource side of things, where they fail to manage the nuts and bolts of running a project. For instance, many project managers are often unable to properly tap into their available resources, which can affect the probability of success in a very big way.

This ties in with the previous points where we discussed the importance of matching a team member’s skills with project requirements.

Resource management takes into account all of the tools and capital you have at your disposal, as well as how to go about using them. For example, it is important to find a tech stack that is both affordable for you and can also help get the job done.

Pro tip: At times, it is better to have cheaper software that your team members know how to use than buying an expensive subscription to an expensive tool that your team has no idea how to go about using.

Improper Scope

Anyone who’s been a project manager long enough has worked on a project that has an undefined scope. Indeed, it isn’t uncommon for the scope to shift every time you complete one milestone. This is known as ‘scope creep’, and you can expect it to occur every now and then because the clients themselves are unable to understand what they want.

In some cases, your own project team may decide to change the scope as they discover new aspects of the project. All this back and forth can lead to a waste of precious resources and could hurt your team’s momentum. This is why it is important to develop a clear scope from the get-go and make sure that all stakeholders are on the same page.

A carefully defined scope should include a clear definition of the project goal and its deliverables, including what is included and excluded from the project, as well as all its constraints.

Finally, to minimize scope creep, it may be important to develop an effective approval process so that any subsequent changes to the project scope, including its schedule, budget, and resources, are all vetted and approved beforehand.

Not Gathering Feedback from Community Stakeholders Beforehand

Every project manager needs an effective mechanism for collecting feedback. This means they must also be effective at communication. Whether you’re running a small startup or a Fortune 500 company, you need to understand how to effectively collect feedback from all community stakeholders, including employees, customers, managers, and investors.

It is imperative for project managers to be able to communicate with everyone. In fact, it wouldn't be an exaggeration to suggest that most projects fail because of ineffective communication. If you don’t have a communication plan, you will easily run into problems with stakeholder engagement.

This makes sense because many tools for gathering requirements, such as meetings and interviews, rely on clear communication. If everyone has a different understanding of the project requirements, you will quickly run into the following problems:

  • Scope creep (discussed earlier)
  • Resources shortages
  • Solutions that do not meet your original objectives
  • Souring relationships with your stakeholders and investor
  • Failing to live up to project expectations for customers

Missing a Vibrant Work Culture

Corporate culture is a crucial piece of the puzzle that some project managers fail to take into account. Simply put, your company culture refers to a set of values that the team holds dear. This work culture includes rules, practices, and values that everyone on the team strives to achieve in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Placing the work culture at the forefront of your project is one way to avoid making costly mistakes in project management. Begin by consciously creating shared ideals from the get-go with your team.

Wrapping Up - Project Management Mistakes

It goes without saying that project management can be both rewarding and difficult. It takes a lot of perseverance, determination, and enthusiasm to closely coordinate with all stakeholders. As an aspiring project manager, you will undoubtedly run into many ups and downs, which is part of the journey.

Don’t let the setbacks deter you from achieving your goals; instead, keep moving forward. You will make mistakes along the way, but each mistake will teach you a valuable lesson in project management.

Project & Program Management
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