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Common Project Management Mistakes – Take Two
By Cora Systems

Project management doesn’t always end up being straight forward as any project manager will know. Mistakes do and will happen and even the smallest ones have the ability of getting into the workings of a project and knocking them off course. Last year I published a blog post on the “12 Common Mistakes in Project Management” which attracted much attention and debate among its readers. However these 12 project management mistakes were merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the management, managers, stakeholders and teams associated with projects. Therefore for this week’s blog I have decided to revisit this topic with common project management mistakes – take two.

Project management mistakes aren’t always easily avoidable, they can make you get off-track and spend more time and money than necessary. However, being aware of these common mistakes will hopefully focus you enough to ensure that you don’t end up making them.

  1. Lack of Trust: It is never a good sign of things to come if the project manager does not trust the team to deliver the relevant work for a project. As a project manager you must learn to delegate work between the team members and trust that they will deliver. Delegation of work is highly important if a project is to be completed on time.
  2. All a bit too much: Some inexperienced project managers tend to look at the project in too much detail and break it down into the smallest of tasks with schedules that are marked in minutes rather than days/ weeks/ months. While it is important to be diligent, over-managing a project can act as a deterrent to the project team which can never be positive for the project.

  3. Making promises: It is not advisable to make promises that deep down you know you won’t be able to keep. One of the common reasons behind making promises is to motivate the project team for the good of the project. However if the project manager doesn’t follow through with its promises the team can end up feeling demoralized and lose the respect they once held for the project manager.

  4. Not seeing the dependencies between projects: Sometimes the project manager is so fixated on the project that they fail to see anything outside of the box. The problem with this is that the decisions they make are in the interest of the project rather than the entire organization’s portfolio of projects. A project manager should have the organization as a whole in the forefront of his/her mind when making decisions around the projects and understand any dependencies between the project and day to day running of the organization.

  5. Who’s on my team: Your project team is the hub of your project they put in the hours and they take on the work load to ensure that the project is completed within budget and schedule. The project manager needs to take the time to get to know the project team and understand where everyone fits into the project. Project management is a team effort so it is important that every individual working on the project feels as if they are part of a team. This will lead onto better communication, cooperation between the levels and most importantly trust.

  6. Lack of control over changes: Projects have the tendency to change over its life cycle. What started out straight forward can all change in a split second. Change can’t be avoided; in fact a project manager should embrace it. The main issue when dealing with change is down to the way it gets documented. It may seem unnecessary at the time but by the end of the project you could have so many change requests that you will need to refer back to your notes as to why the change was made.

  7. Withholding information from the stakeholder: The stakeholder can sometimes be left out of the loop especially by the project manager. The stakeholder needs to ensure that the end project matches their needs so it is highly important that the project manager works closely with the stakeholder and communicates all project information to them throughout the project to ensure a smooth process.

  8. Team meetings: Team meetings are important to ensure that a project is managed as smoothly as possible. However some project managers fail to carry out the necessary number of project meetings with the other team members. The issues that fall out of this include no clear picture of the project, no updates on schedules and budgets and the increased possibility of conflicts arising between the project team.

  9. Not performing the correct hand over of projects: If a project manager hands over an incomplete project without the necessary hand over information and documentation can be detrimental for any project. Without the necessary information backing the project the new project manager could ultimately be blind heading into the project and impact the final result of the project.

  10. Not looking for problems: It may seem obvious but it can happen where the project manager keeps his/her head down and only reacts to a problem when it is staring them in the face. As a project manager you need to be aware of any potential issues that may or may not happen with the project. By looking for problems in a project can help a project manager rectify these problems before they have an impact.

It is near impossible to avoid making project management mistakes – its human nature; however the way in which you deal with the situation if a mistake is made is important. As a project manager you should manage the implications arising from any project mistakes to ensure that no long term damage is done. Being aware of these potential mistakes is the first step – the second is your reaction – and finally third is how you will avoid making the same mistake twice.

Established in 1999, with over 12 years of experience in Project Management Software, Cora Systems have developed a highly functional, web-based system. Our skills and knowledge have enabled us to become a world leader in Project, Portfolio and Performance Management Software. We value our extensive client base and provide a comprehensive range of services to ensure our customers gains the full value and benefits from using ProjectVision.

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