Eight Project Management Mistakes You’re Making And How To Avoid Them

No matter how organized and efficient you are there are times when projects go wrong. This is, of course, entirely normal but when the same problems arise time and time again, it’s time to look at your project management style and make some changes.

Here we look at eight areas where project managers commonly go wrong and how to fix them:

1. Not Having Clear Goals

In the excitement of starting a new piece of work, it’s easy to overlook the basics and goal setting is something that must happen before the first Gantt chart is even considered.

Getting your goals or objectives straight is crucial for several reasons: it lets everyone know the end result and sets the team working towards the same outcome. It also helps to set budget and establish a rough time frame for how long the project is expected to take.

Make sure your goals are SMART, that’s Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. With these allocations, you will have a clear guide to what you want to achieve and how you’re going to get there. They will also help you to priorities which parts of the projects need to happen first.

2. Not Playing To Your Team’s Strengths

When gathering your team together there are key areas that can get overlooked. Have you assembled a team based on who you get along well with, or who you know can deliver what you need?

It’s understandable that you might want to work with friends but these relationships will become strained if the wrong person is in the job.

The second area to consider is your individual team member’s strengths. While one person might prefer to take an active managerial role, their skill set may not reflect that and they might be better suited to a role in the administration of the team.

Stephanie Withers, a Tech Blogger at Writemyx, says: “Project managing is about being strong and sometimes having to make the hard decisions. Allocate team members’ roles according to their strengths, not their personal preferences. To do otherwise will lead to frustration and delay with the project”.

3. Not Communicating Well

Once your project is well underway, it’s easy to get absorbed into your workload but the key to keeping your project on track is excellent team communication.

Without it, misunderstanding and misconceptions occur which can threaten to de-rail a project and lead to a great deal of frustration and time wasting.

Make time for regular team and individual meetings. Don’t be afraid of micro-managing, checking in daily with individuals is simply providing opportunity to see progress and take on any problems or delays.

4. Not Listening To Ideas

Great project management doesn’t mean everyone does everything your way. There are times that project members are going to come up with bright ideas.

Keeping an open mind and being open to change is the sign of a great leader. Your colleague’s idea might lead to a saving of money, time or difficulty and that’s worth its weight in gold.

Make yourself approachable and show that you have time to give your full attention to a team member when they need to talk to you. Always give credit to the person whose idea it was.

According to Sylvia Walker, a Data Security Manager at 1day2write: “Nothing shows more that you trust your team and that they can trust you, than having an open door policy. Acknowledging their ideas and achievements is the best way to draw out the best from your project group”.

5. Not Using a Project Management Tool

 With a large team you need a tool that helps you organize and clearly assign people tasks. This tool must be updateable and easy to use. The benefits, of course, are that everyone knows where they stand and can see what other team members are doing, without overlapping workflow.

In order for the project to flow smoothly, the project manager must take on the responsibility of managing this tool, updating it where necessary and alerting team members to any changes in the scope or timing of deadlines.

Without a tool you run the risk of juggling too many balls and forgetting important information. Find one that everyone feels comfortable using and hold a morning’s training if required, before the project gets underway.

6. Ignoring Risks

Naturally, in every project there are risks involved and you will flag up what these risks are even before work gets started.

Risk management is a whole topic all on its own but at the very least, a good project management is someone who can anticipate where trouble may lie up ahead. A great project manager is someone who has a strategy for dealing with that trouble, even before it happens.

Communication is key and keeping shareholders, project members and clients up to speed with any issues is of paramount importance.

7. Being Inflexible

Unfortunately there will always be bumps along the road, some you will anticipate and some that will take you by total surprise. The trick to dealing with them is to keep your eye on the end objectives while allowing your methods to remain flexible.

For project managers, the idea of making changes can be terrifying but when viewed in a more positive light, it can be seen as an opportunity. Alternations might mean a project is delivered slightly quicker or with lower costs, either of these things is good news to client and team.

It takes a brave soul to admit that the course of a project may need to change, but the benefits to remaining flexible far outweigh a stubborn, rigid outlook.

8. Failing To Learn From Mistakes

Whether this is your first project or your fifty-first, there is always something you can take away from running a project. It might be a hard life lesson, or a pat on the back but learning something about how you can improve is key.

Repeating the same mistakes over and over will lead to a poor reputation as a project manager and team members unwilling to collaborate.

Learn the lessons, make the changes and go from being just a project manager, to a great project manager.

To Sum it Up!

Based on what you have read so far, the best way to avoid these pitfalls is by having a collaboration and project management software at your side. Self-Hosted or on the Cloud, project management tools enable real time collaboration among teams thereby encouraging quicker responses, insightful decisions and Just in Time (JIT) execution.

You can move your business forward with Orangescrum’s powerful project management features to ensure:

  • There is absolute transparency among teams
  • Well defined team member roles & task assignments
  • Project Planning with Gantt Charts to identify outliers proactively
  • Time, Resource & Risk tracking
  • Intuitive & Informative dashboards in real-time

Try it now to be the Best Project Manager there is!

About the author

Martha B
Martha B

A content editor and proof reader at Academic Brits and Origin Writings, Martha Jameson has also worked as a web designer and manager. Having found writing as her calling she loves sharing her experience, knowledge and expertise with readers and colleagues.