You are a project manager who has to juggle multiple projects simultaneously without messing up any one of them. Despite that, the projects you oversee end up taking longer to complete and cost you much more than the original budget. This gives you sleepless nights and even when you sleep, you get nightmares. Does all this ring a bell? If yes, you need to think about the reasons why projects fail. When you analyze it, you will realize that you are making some classical project management mistakes repeatedly that are hampering your project progress.
In this article, you will learn about the biggest project management mistakes that you can rectify right now.
Common Project Management Mistakes You Can Easily Correct
1. Setting Goals Without Your Team Consent
Before setting goals and making projections about upcoming projects, it is important for you to hold a kick-off project meeting with all the team members. A kick-off meeting will help you set the right expectations and make your team self-organized as everyone knows what their roles and responsibilities are going to be. Moreover, it will save you from setting unrealistic deadlines, which is one of the biggest reasons that projects fail.
According to a KPMG study, 60% of projects fail because they have a deadline of less than a year. Setting unrealistic deadlines forces your team to rush through the different phases of the project. When projects are hustled, chances of errors increase manifolds. As a result, you end up delivering a half-baked final product. Take every team member into confidence along with all the project stakeholders, so everyone stays on the same page.
2. Letting Project Scope Grow Out of Proportion
You keep hearing the word scope crop up in project management a lot, but what really is scope creep? According to PMBOK, Scope creeps can be defined as, “Adding more features and functionality without addressing the effects on time, costs and resources or without customer approval.” This phenomenon occurs when projects are not defined, documented or controlled properly.
So, how can we get over this scope creep issue? Ask your clients to tell their requirements and create a project scope document. Get that document signed by the clients. Even if they have to make changes mid-way through the project, they should be minor, not major ones. Handling changes to the scope is not easy. This is where your change management capabilities come into play. To master the art of change management, you should be aware of the change management principles for project managers.
3. Not Prioritizing Tasks and Projects
Not all projects are the same. Some projects have a tight deadline while others don’t. Some projects have a larger scope and are more complex than others. Most project managers tend to ignore this and end up starting a project whose deadline is far away while ignoring a project whose deadline is near. So how can you manage all projects efficiently? This is where prioritizing projects can help you out. In fact, you should go on the granular level and prioritize tasks and subtasks too. You can easily do that by using an online task management software.
4. Incompetent Project Manager and Team
One of the key factors that contribute to project failure is hiring an unskilled, inexperienced and non-competent project manager. You will be surprised to know that 70% of project managers managing projects in small to mid-sized businesses lack formal training and are not certified, professionals. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers Insights and trends report, certified project managers completes 80% of projects successfully.
That is the reason why you should always designate a certified project manager who has years of diverse project management experience and skills to handle complex projects efficiently. Even a certified and highly skilled project manager cannot succeed if the team under them are incompetent. You don’t only need a qualified project manager but also a competent team to complete more projects successfully.
5. Poor Communication with Team and Stakeholders
Poor communication and lack of collaboration among your team members can prove to be fatal for your project. Did you know that 57% of projects failed due to poor communication? Communicate with your team on a consistent basis and try to keep them united to achieve a common goal.
Even if you manage to fix the issues with team communication and collaboration, lack of interest from project stakeholders keeps bothering you. It should bother you because 33% of projects fail due to lack of interest from stakeholders, according to a research conducted at the University of Ottawa.
Ask any project manager and they will tell you how it hard it to keep busy project stakeholders involved in the project. Keep them informed about the project progress and take feedback from them. Once they see value in your project, they will start to take a keen interest in your project. Highlight what benefits they are going to get out from your projects and they will stay engaged in your projects.
6. Doing Everything Manually
Trying to manage everything on your own and doing everything manually is the biggest project management mistakes you can ever make. This can significantly increase the chances of project failure. Harness the power of technology, tools, and techniques to efficiently manage your projects and increase the chances of completing projects before the deadline and inside your budget. That is where a project management software can come to your rescue.
7. Poor Resource Management
At one side of the spectrum are project managers complaining about the scarcity of resources and at another side of the spectrum are project managers who have adequate resources, but they don’t manage it efficiently. Unfortunately, the result is the same, project failure. If you don’t want your projects to fail, create a work break down the structure and allocated resources to each task. Also, keep a resource buffer in case, you need more resources to overcome scope creep.
8. Choosing The Wrong Project Management Methodology
When it comes to project management, “one size fit all” formula is not applicable. Every project is different and so are its needs. You will have to develop a deeper understanding of a project before choosing a project management methodology because a wrong choice can lead to project failure. Check out this comprehensive guide on project management methodologies which will help you get started.
9. Not Managing Change Properly
There are instances where project managers have no choice but to entertain change requests from clients. That is where most project managers tend to struggle. How you manage change will influence the outcome of your project. Change should start from the top and trickle down to the bottom instead of being another way around. Your team members might resist change at first but when they see project managers embracing change, they will join the fray. Be prepared for the unexpected so you are not taken by surprise from unexpected client demands.
10. Ignoring Company’s Direction When Choosing Projects
How many times have you seen a company managing project that conflicts with their vision, mission and future strategic direction of the company? I am sure that you might have gone through this phase yourself or seen an organization involved in such practices.
You might have also heard project teams complaining about lack of interest from higher management in their projects. This happens because the projects your team is working on does not coincide with the strategic direction of the company which is why top management does not want to waste their precious time on such projects.
If a project is not adding value to your organization and helping them achieve strategic objectives then, there is no point in wasting resources on it. Use this as a litmus test when acquiring projects from clients.
Which project management mistakes you have made and how much did it cost you? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.