The key to any successful project is putting someone in charge who can manage a team and ensure deadlines are met. Being a project manager is more than being someone who will keep the rest of the team members on schedule. Your project manager should be knowledgeable enough about the type of project and be a good leader. Here are common project management mistakes and how to avoid them.
Assigning the Wrong Person
The project manager needs to know about the project itself and the team involved in the project. For example, you wouldn’t want someone from the accounting department heading a project for the marketing department. Experience with the people involved and similar projects is necessary for success.
How to avoid: When choosing who should be the project manager, take a look at your employee performance reviews and carefully consider your options. Your evaluations should tell you whether or not someone is a leader and can lead a team to successful project completion.
You should make sure to run an employee credit check on the person you choose in case you haven’t yet. This will tell you whether or not the person is trustworthy with money and the right influence for the rest of the team.
Lack of Resources & Skills
For a project to be successful, the project manager and the team will need the right resources and skills to complete the job ahead of time. For example, when moving locally, the company you work with should have logistics planned so your items can get to their new destination safely and on time. Without planning and having these resources available when the project starts, your team will not be able to maintain their productivity.
Similarly, it’ll be hard to succeed if you have enough people and resources, but nobody has the right skills needed for a particular task. Poor resource and skill matching will lead to an unsuccessful project.
How to avoid: Work with the project manager to ensure they have everything they need to complete the project. If the project manager lacks a team member with the right skills, they need to add someone to the team to avoid cutting corners.
Doing Everything Yourself
As a project manager, you should listen to the suggestions of your team members. When you ignore your team and discourage them from sharing suggestions, your team members will keep quiet, which means they will become unhappy and less productive, and they will choose not to help, even if you need it.
How to avoid: Always be open to suggestions and learn how to delegate important tasks. Without your team, your project won’t get completed properly.
Failure to Communicate
Managing any project from the supply chain to a marketing campaign requires proper communication. While project managers should have the hard skills necessary to complete the project, they should also have the soft skills necessary to communicate effectively with their team.
How to avoid: If you communicate with your team harshly or allow for misunderstandings, then everyone points fingers and blames one another. While projects can still be completed when your team isn’t on the best terms, it’s easier for everyone to openly communicate with one another so they can enjoy their project.
You can initiate a project in several ways, but doing so incorrectly can lead to misunderstandings and confusion. An example of a poor initiation is going up to team members individually and discussing their role in the project instead of the bigger picture.
How to avoid: You can avoid confusion throughout the project by holding a kick-off meeting where you can explain the project to everyone. Let everyone know what the result of the project is so they can get the big picture. In this meeting, you should talk to individual team members about their roles so they know exactly how to start their portion of the project.
Lack of Objective
Your team members need to know exactly where they fit in with the team and the project. In some cases, team members will be working alone, but they still need to know exactly how they can contribute to the project.
Poor planning results in a lack of an objective, which can impact the success of your project. Your objective should be easily understood by all of the team members so they can feel a greater sense of purpose.
How to avoid: Make sure you outline the objective of the project for everyone in the project so they can see where they fit in the team. Having an objective makes everyone feel important and accountable.
One major issue project managers make is going overboard when estimating the time and budget of a project. Unfortunately, in many cases, you can also underestimate time and money, which can cause your team members to rush and potentially impact the outcome of the project.
How to avoid: Get expert advice if this project is new to you. This can help you understand the cost of the project and how long it will take. If you’re not sure about how long each of your team members will take to do their part, discuss it with them so you can create a calendar.
Failure to Manage Scope
Projects, especially large ones, usually change, but the scope should never change after starting a project. There’s no need to agree on the scope during the initial planning phase, as things are always subject to change. However, there should be a procedure so you can handle requests for changes in the project so you can better assess how the budget and schedule will be impacted.
How to avoid: Be flexible when planning the schedule and budget of the project. If changes come up, don’t agree to them without involving the rest of the team to see how changes will impact them.
Not Having a Process In Place
Following a process is a key factor in determining the success of a project. Most projects start with good intentions but can go off the rails because the project manager and team members don’t have a clear idea of where the project is going and what should be done.
How to avoid: Create a schedule that shows who is responsible for which aspects of the project and when the tasks should be finished. Make sure you note milestones so your team members can feel like they’re getting somewhere.
Avoiding Project Management Mistakes
These common project management mistakes are avoidable, and many of them begin with improper planning. Before you begin a project, make sure to plan accordingly and work with team members to get a better idea about how long their parts of the project will take so you can create a flexible schedule.
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