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Project management mistakes: what, why, and how to avoid them

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Last editedApr 20213 min read

Whether your business is developing an app, engaging in product development or redesigning your website, you want to use all the tools available to make the project run smoothly. But what happens when a project goes awry? It costs time – and money. Are you making the most common project management mistakes? Here are seven pitfalls to be aware of, along with some tips to avoid them.

1. Choosing the wrong manager

The problem:

Successful projects need successful management. You’ll doom your project from the start by choosing a leader who doesn’t have the right project management skills or experience. It’s all too common for companies to focus more on sourcing the right resources, without taking management into account. The result is a slowdown while the manager learns on the job.

The solution:

Hire the most qualified individual for the job. A good project manager has strong leadership skills, but they also know how to use relevant software, communicate effectively, and understand the unique demands of the project through real-world experience.

2. Breakdown in communication

The problem:

Communication is extremely important when it comes to project management. The manager not only needs to be able to communicate goals and strategies clearly, but team members need to be able to understand one another. If communication is unclear, employees might not understand what is expected of them.

The solution:

Take the time to schedule regular meetings and be available for queries along the way. Regular check-ins don’t have to be long, but they give all team members a chance to ensure they’re on the same page.

3. Failure to launch

The problem:

Have you put the right support in place before you launch the project? Part of a strong project management framework is getting permission from executives, cementing your network. Otherwise, you could find you don’t have the funding or resources needed to get the job done.

The solution:

Be sure to meet with all stakeholders before the project launches. Gain support both at the team and executive level so that you’re sure everyone’s on board with the project management framework.

4. Poorly defined objectives

The problem:

Along with material support, a successfully managed project will have clear goals and objectives. Otherwise, you have no way to measure your success. This can lead to poor outcomes and a failed project.

The solution:

Clearly outline what your project’s objectives are and share them with the full team. You’ll not only need the overall objective, but a clear list of tasks to accomplish along the way. Identify which KPI metrics will be used to measure success, so that you have the appropriate benchmarks in place for completion.

5. Inaccurate budgeting

The problem:

Project management tools often focus more on scheduling and logistics. It’s all too easy to forget about the financial component of the equation, and the result is a project which becomes tapped out too quickly.

The solution:

Whether you’re using online project management tools or a more traditional planning framework, make sure that budgeting is built in from the ground up. You need to enlist the help of experts to get accurate estimates, accounting for changes in scope that could impact the financing needed for completion.

6. Overly rigid scheduling

The problem:

A project management plan must be agile and ready to adapt to sudden changes. What if a key player has a change of heart, or market conditions shift? If your scheduling is too rigid, you won’t be able to change course as needed and rise to new challenges.

The solution:

Use project management tools that follow an agile methodology, allowing you to go with the flow and complete projects incrementally. While in a perfect world you can create a schedule and stick to it, for complex projects some flexibility is needed.

7. Overloading your schedule

The problem:

One of the most common project management mistakes is overscheduling. Are you trying to lead multiple projects at the same time? Although multitasking is often praised, in reality, it actually makes you less effective when you can’t direct your full time and energy to the main task at hand. This trickles down into delays.

The solution:

Don’t overpromise when it comes to budgeting and deadlines. Be realistic with what you can achieve using the resources you’ve been given. Rather than getting bogged down with multiple projects at once, handle one task at a time.

By boosting awareness of these common mistakes, you can strive to avoid them. It also helps to brush up on your project management skills whenever possible, creating realistic strategies for success.

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