A project manager makes sure that all the tasks within a project run smoothly and that promised results are delivered. With so many hats, it’s difficult not to make a mistake. In the end, “To err is human.”
However, mistakes are a great learning tool and being familiar with the most common ones may help avoid disaster. That’s why here is a list of typical errors project managers do and how to prevent them.
1. No communication
Lack of communication during the project can lead to mismanaging timeline, project budget, and people. Regular and open information exchange is the key for every project success, but if you don’t talk with your team members or clients for days, then your project is doomed to failure. Therefore, make sure you set some communication ground rules at the beginning, such as deliverable reviews and status check-ins to meet budget and scope expectations.
2. Poor Scheduling
The project schedule is one of the determinating factors for project success. A proper timing ensures that the project remains on the right track and ends on time. Likewise, it prevents domino-effect that leads to project assignments falling behind. A good project manager takes into consideration even possible delays or unforeseen surprises when planning. Another crucial thing when it comes to scheduling is to make sure every project stakeholder is informed about the timeline and kept in the loop.
3. Failing to meet expectations
Every project contains plans and scope documents that inform the clients and the team what’s precisely in scope, the timeline details and project goals. However, that documentation won’t usually do the job of a project manager. So, talk with everybody to make sure you’re all on the same page. In other words, in the early stages of the project discuss the process, timing, deliverables, and scope. That way, you’ll make solid ground to manage expectations.
4. Not knowing team member skill sets
Team resources are a valuable asset to every project. But, they need to be guided to achieve their full potential. In other words, a good project manager knows the abilities and skills of all team members and matches them to the right type of tasks. That way, a project will run quickly and efficiently, but more importantly, deliver optimal results. Hence, be familiar with your team strengths and weaknesses and use them wisely.
5. Excessively relaying on tools
Tools are a great help in project management. They make communication easier and plans more readable which leads to faster execution. This is especially helpful when the deadline clock is ticking. Still, tools are only here to give you a hand, not to do your job. No technology can replace your little grey cells in assessing risks and considering the project’s overall trajectory when it comes to plans, status reports or tracking budget.
6. Overlooking team mistakes
Mistakes are an integral part of every work, so it’s quite normal that they happen during the project. What makes a difference is how you treat them as a project manager. When you notice that a team member made a mistake, handle it right away with constructive feedback. Also, make sure you find a way to prevent it in the future to maintain high-quality work.
7. Micromanaging a lot
Nobody likes to be micromanaged. It’s a sign of insufficient trust that takes away every initiative from other team members and turns them into machines that just follow your instructions. Also, they would probably get their job done more quickly and efficiently without micromanagement. So, let your team breathe and work without your constant interference. Check upon them during meetings and conference calls to see their progress.
8. Always saying yes
One of the primary tasks of a project manager is to assist the clients and help them achieve their goal in the most optimal way. Therefore, he or she tends to say yes to every client’s demand. Unfortunately, that can have a negative impact on project scope and workload of team members. However, it’s crucial to determine some boundaries and decline some client’s requests politely.
James, a project manager at essaygeeks, says: “It’s not unusual that a project manager handles several projects at the same time. When you have a lot of things on your plate, it will affect the quality of your work which results in an unsuccessful project and unhappy stakeholders. Also, multitasking can cause a lot of stress and frustration. Take one step at the time and prioritize tasks.”
10. Showing stress
Being a project manager involves juggling various tasks and communicating with team members and clients while the clock is ticking. It can be very stressful and naturally, it can influence your work and other team members. As a consequence, your behavior can ruin the team morale and have a negative impact on the project. It’s recommended to find a way to vent out because it’s not healthy to hold stress in.
As in every job, mistakes are inevitable. But, identifying what the most frequent errors are can help you prevent them and in that way ensure project success.
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