The Most Common Project Management Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

If you sometimes feel like you fail to meet project deadlines or KPI's it is possible that you are making one of these very common project management mistakes. 

Keyword(s): Project Management, Project Management Mistakes

Making mistakes is inevitable, especially at work, when we often face difficulties that require appropriate skills. In fact, there’s a high probability many of us have made the same mistakes.

In project management, even the small mistakes can sometimes lead to larger implications, such as sending us over budget and past deadlines. Although each project will have its complex set of unique issues, there are some predictable and recurring factors that often lead to a project failure.

1. Choosing Wrong Project Leader

Being in charge of running a project is a difficult task which requires specific skills or knowledge. Therefore, the best practice while assigning a leader is not to just choose anyone who is available, but to take time and choose that person reasonably. For larger-scaled project it is best to give a leader badge to the most exerienced person in our team, so that we can be sure that they will manage do to it with no unnecessary difficulties or issues.

2. Bad Communication

Communication is essential, especialy the one between you and your project team. Not communicating properly with your team or client, is one of the quickest ways to lead your project towards failing.

By setting out some simple communication methods, such as regular check-ins and deliverable reviews, you and your team will have a clear view on your projects progression and be able to easily spot and resolve any issues coming up during the process.

3. Improper Management Of The Skills of Team Members

As important as it is to choose the right leader for the project, it is equally important to choose the right team members and to take enough ime to understand exactly how their particular skillsets will fit into the scope of your project.

It is project manager's responsibility to analyse the project needs and divide all the tasks accordingly to team members' strongest attributes.

For the best efficiency, be sure to sit down with your team before you begin working on the project and discuss their experience and competencies. Don’t be afraid to get specific, filter out your team's specific strong and weak sides and optimize their workload.

4. Badly thought out scope

If you are in the business long enough, you've probably already experienced a project with a perfectly fitted scope, yet with no results, like stagnant prices, etc. That often happens when the outcome of the project is misunderstood by the client or the project team. This is why developing a clear scope statement at the outset of your project is very important.

A carefully thought out scope of the project should include a clear definition of all project goals, deliverables and constraints. You should develop a system of well-documented approval processes so that any subsequent changes to scope, budget, schedule, resources, and risk are analyzed and approved.

The scope can be later on used for making future project decisions and outlining an agreed understanding of the project and it should be created with the input of your entire team.

5. Too Optimistic Scheduling

Creating a project schedule for your team needs to be realistic. Let's forget about creating an over-optimistic shedule, because maybe at a planning phase it will seem great, but in practice it may very easily fail. Not only the project may be finished with lack of quality, but your team may fail to make it on time and miss important dates which will generate unnecessary stress.

The project schedule should give the project team a clear information about what to do and when to do it. It should also tell your client what is the due date and when he can expect the desirable results. 

6. Inaccurate Project Plan

A project plan is one of the essential elements of a successful project, but it is also the most misunderstood element in project management.

A project plan doesn't only mean ‘project timeline.’ A project plan requires much more information about all elements necessary to the planning process, such as specification of the new project, budget, schedule or quality metrics.

Keep in mind, that the plan you make at the start may not be the one you finish with, but learning to create a clear project plan and knowing how to discuss its key components is crucial to your project’s success.

7. Not Recognizing Your Team’s Successes

Not Recognizing your team's successes may lead to upgrading team morale and productivity. It is very important to look not only on numbers and metrics but also on employees that made that success happen. In order to maintain a positive atmosphere in the team, remember to celebrate any, small or big, successes, from daily goals to any extra effort. To help with that, it is a good idea to implement a review system to your project plan and ensure that the performance on project is being measured, reviewed and appreciated which can lead to increasing efficiency of the project and team spirit.

8. Being Reactive 

Your project is running correctly, aligning with your scope and project plan, but then something unexpected comes along and it all starts to suddenly go wrong. Even though you and your team may be able to mobilize quickly and identify the best options and solutions based on your personal experience, you have no opportunity to actually test these solutions viability. That's why acting reactively leads to further project failure.

Risk Management is the process of identifying, analyzing and responding to risk factors throughout the project. A well-developed risk assessment provides control processes for future and is proactive rather than reactive.

9. Being Resistant To Change

The ability to be flexible and adaptive are inherent features in your project's success.

Despite well-developed risk management and detailed project planning, the functionality of your project will change daily, from small issues like missed meetings, employee absence to changing the main direction or approach. 

Being flexible isn’t something you can really plan to be. You need to remember that your project is an ongoing process, so keep your mind open and trust yourself and your team that if any inconvenience comes up, you will come up with a suitable solution. 

Knowing the most common mistakes can prepare you for better management and improving your project's efficiency. Take a look at Agile Project Management® course and evolve your management within Agile. 

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