Avoid These Common Project Management Mistakes

It’s our job as project managers to create project plans that cover all aspects of the project lifecycle. However there are many common errors and pitfalls even the most experienced project managers run into. In this tough economy resources are limited and budgets are tight, project managers need to become savvy in their approach to managing projects and make sure they are using the right project management tools and processes to get the job done.

Here are some common project management mistakes you’ll want to avoid.

  • Time Wasting – Avoid asking resources for manual updates, holding meetings to ask for updates or babysitting resources, this is a huge waste of time. Project managers should have global visibility into all resource tasks and statuses in a centralized platform. Quickly access project information on-demand keeping stakeholders and team members informed on the project status.
  • You Call That a Project Plan? – Many PM’s think a Gantt chart is a project management plan and don’t go through the necessary steps of planning the entire project lifecycle.  The Gantt chart is a snap shot illustration of the project schedule, the work break down structure and its dependencies. It provides no resource management, cost management, workflows and governance plans or visibility.
  • What Happened to My Resource? – Resources are limited so good communication around resource allocation is vital to a successful project. If you don’t get real resource commitments and move forward with a project, you’re setting yourself and the resource up to fail. PM’s need to remember that resources have project work and operational work with deadlines attached to both. Good resource management involves an open picture into resources availability, skillsets, and workload.
  • Not-so Know It All – Have you ever run into a project issue that could have been avoided? We all have. Project plans aren’t perfect and you’re not either. Remember that. Project managers need to remember to reevaluate the effectiveness of the project plan, the schedule, costs and scope and make changes for improvement in any struggling area.
  • The Blame Game – Blaming unrealistic schedules, being over budget or a lack of resources on management instead of realizing they are the project manager’s responsibility. This is just bad form and a good way to make frenemies in the office. Make sure to leverage the right tools that provide clear visibility into project schedules, resource management and costs. Having a clear insight into the project will allow you to completely avoid this mistake all together.  
  • Bad Metrics – Not measuring project actuals against the project plan is being a blind project manager. Don’t keep yourself in the dark to any issues or risk or even positive milestones. Leverage a project management tool that allows you to create custom dashboards to quickly view project metrics and address any issues.

Author Lee Child once said, “Hope for the best, plan for the worst.” As project managers we need to create complete project plans keeping in mind project plans are not perfect. By proactively managing all aspects of the project and taking time to reevaluate processes you are planning for the worst. By not recognizing any potential risk and taking action your project is sure to fail.