Project management is not an exact science and often requires a knack for adaptability and agility, as well as an intimate knowledge of your business and processes to ensure the best possible outcome of planned projects. It also requires plenty of planning before any project is undertaken. There is no cookie-cutter for project management, but there are some mistakes project teams make that can be avoided if you know what to look out for. Let’s have a look at some of these common project management mistakes and what we can potentially do about them.
Not Dedicating Enough Resources
One of the most common mistakes made in project management is to underestimate just what is going to be needed to complete the project. Perhaps this comes from wishful thinking on the part of the person in control of the budget, but more often than not, simply meeting with each member of the team responsible for the implementation of the project and getting realistic timelines and resources needed to complete their part of the whole project can go a long way to properly understanding what is really needed to complete a project.
Not only this, but it will show the team what is required of them and where they might fit into the scope of the project so they will have a better idea of deliverables before the project even starts.
Trying to Do Everything Yourself
There are a number of different reasons why a project manager might overburden themselves and try to do everything without delegating where it is necessary. The biggest problem with this, and with not listening and accepting input and ideas with the team, is that the project manager is relying solely on their own knowledge of each of the parts of the project, and not getting input where it might be invaluable. A good project manager will learn to trust the opinions and inputs of the teams involved in the project and incorporate their ideas and inputs into the project plan.
This can be particularly problematic if a project manager is managing multiple projects without the proper tools. Using a method like Kanban and a tool like Kanbanize, which is a leading Kanban platform with a strong focus on visualizing workflows, can go a long way to making sure everyone is aware and able to perform their roles in the project successfully.
Projects with Scopes That Are Too Broad
If you take a step back before you define the scope of a project with some honesty, you’ll often realize that you’ve made the scope far too broad, and breaking down the project into smaller, more manageable chunks might be a better idea. Just like you cut up a steak before you eat it, you should cut up big projects into more manageable projects before you execute them.
Perhaps one of the biggest risks in project management and jeopardizing the success of the project is a lack of communication or incomplete or ineffective communication by the project manager to the project stakeholders and teams or employees involved. This ultimately can lead to a silo-like mentality and can put the synergy of the project at risk. Agreeing on communication methods and frequency during the planning phase of the project, as well as who will communicate progress or stumbling blocks to who is imperative for a successful project.
Insufficient Project Planning
One of those ridiculously cliché sayings in business – the 5 Ps - holds a lot of water in project management – proper planning prevents poor performance. Too often businesses, in haste to start and kick off projects, just don’t allow sufficient time for the proper planning required to prevent poor performance. The project plan should read like a how-to guide for completing the project, and often they are more like broad wants and not detailed plans. If there is no proper plan - or worse, no clear objective - you are setting your project up to be incredibly inefficient and run over budget and experience delays. Time management tools can help you and your team manage your time better.
Bad Time and Budget Estimates
Leading on from poor planning is making bad time and budget estimate plans during your planning phase. It’s incredibly important to be as realistic as possible when planning your project and to make sure that your timeframes and budgets are realistic. While there is always going to be a degree of estimation when it comes to these two aspects, there are things you can do to increase accuracy. For budget, using a bottom-up approach might give better accuracy.
These are a few of the biggest mistakes project managers and business decision-makers make when embarking on projects within their business, and you would do well to know about them so that they can be avoided. The biggest message that any project manager should take away from this, and in fact should already be aware of, is that planning is most of the hard work of a project. Implementation should be just formulaic from there.
Isabella has strong experience writing for publications across the business and marketing spaces. Her content is based on the latest ideas and theories from across the business landscape, meaning that she can give you a truly insightful and up to date view of your business and how it can adapt in order to thrive.