7 Mistakes to Avoid as a Project Manager
By Jason Grills
Good project management means good planning and time management, as well as good organization, but it also entails so many other details that can lead a project to failure if not managed properly. It's completely normal to make mistakes, but when it comes to project management, even a tiny one can impact your project's success and cost your organization a lot of money.
This is exactly why you need to make sure you avoid common pitfalls when managing your projects. Of course, making mistakes can be a learning process, but you certainly cannot afford to make them, especially when it comes to big projects. Therefore, take a look at the most common mistakes project managers make and make sure you avoid them at all costs.
1. Choosing the Wrong People for the Job
Just as a project manager is important for the success of every project, so is each and every team member involved in it. Many project managers fail to identify all the stakeholders when launching a project and they engage people who are not so qualified for the job. If you make such a mistake, you risk undermining your project and you can even lead it to complete failure.
You need to make sure that every team member has the necessary skills and resources to handle every task and contribute to the realization of every project. Hiring the right team and making sure each team member is a perfect fit for the job will help you effectively manage your projects and lead them to success.
2. Not Defining Everyone's Responsibilities from the Start
You need to define each team member's responsibilities right from the start. At your kickoff meeting, you need to explain to everyone what it is that they should do and how their every contribution will affect the end goal. They need to understand what is at stake and what they need to do in order to complete each task and milestone.
Defining and assigning responsibilities will help your team members get a clear picture of your project. You need to show them that each contribution is crucial, so that they can feel as important links in the chain. That will engage them and motivate them to work harder, which will make them become more efficient and productive.
3. Not Breaking up Big Projects into Small Chunks
Managing big projects can sometimes be exhausting, especially when you only look at the big picture and focus on the end result, without thinking about every step along the way. If you don't break up your big projects into small chunks, not only will you lose track of what needs to be done, but your team members will also find it hard to stay the course.
Therefore, you should break up your projects into smaller milestones that will be easily manageable and achievable. That way, the tasks will be much clearer and your team will be more engaged in completing each one. Moreover, they will be more motivated to proceed with the milestones and they will not risk burning out.
4. Lack of Communication
Communication is the absolute key to success, especially in project management. If you don't have a good communication framework right from the beginning of your every project, you cannot really expect to produce positive results. You need to keep everyone updated on each team member's work, and all their contributions, because that will give them a sense of direction and guide them towards the completion of every milestone.
You should do regular status checks and make sure no one steers away from the course. Communicate everything clearly and ensure that your team understands what needs to be done. There are a lot of communication tools you can use, so make sure you set up the best channels where you and your team can communicate in real-time and collaborate together.
5. Focusing Only on Setbacks
If you focus only on certain setbacks and completely overlook the positive details, you can negatively impact your projects. Negativity certainly doesn't motivate workers to be better. In fact, it only derails their morale and the fear of failure becomes something they think about the most.
You need to create a positive work culture, where you will encourage and motivate your team members. You need to show them that they are respected and valued, as that is exactly what will help them work harder. Don't focus so much on things they need to change, but rather on those things they excel at. That will create a strong team that can easily overcome obstacles and complete every project with flying colors.
6. Not Having a Plan
Every project needs to be properly planned. One of the worst mistakes you can make as a project manager is not having a plan at all, or having an insufficient one. You need to develop a project plan right from the beginning, so that you and your team members can have a roadmap to follow.
Therefore, you need to set clear deadlines, create an objective and define the project scope. You need to plan every step of the way and thoroughly explain how everything needs to be done for the goal of successfully completing the project.
7. Not Using the Right Project Management Tools
Every project requires information sharing and keeping track of all activities, so that everyone involved can be kept in the loop. If you use the wrong project management tools, all you could end up with is one big mess where no one can find their way through.
You need to choose effective project management tools that will help you and your team reach your ultimate goals. It goes without saying that those tools can never substitute experience and skills, but they are necessary for the successful completion of your projects.
You should check out Simple Project Management Software, which is an online tool that can help you gain complete control of your projects. It is an excellent free job tracking software that has a very intuitive interface and seamlessly integrates with different apps.
Being aware of these project management mistakes will help you become better at what you do. It will help you be prepared for every outcome, but, most importantly, you will know how to avoid them and become a project manager that everyone will be proud to work with.