Designing and delivering a project can be like building a house of cards. If you are not meticulous and thorough it can all come tumbling down. This is why Project Managers are so integral to the likelihood of project success. Without a dedicated and comprehensive manager at the helm, you will be left scrabbling on the floor, desperately trying to restack the cards.
During my time at Customer Consulting, I have had the opportunity to watch and learn from some fantastic Project Managers and have learnt that the success of a project is often about the ability to identify and resolve issues as early as possible. By understanding and avoiding the pitfalls involved in managing projects teams, you will achieve greater success delivering your projects in scope, on time and to budget.
Here are my top 5 Project Management pitfalls to keep in mind.
1. Poor planning, poor performance.
The project plan is a crucial starting point. It should contain the scope of the project, timescales, and deliverables. It should ideally, be able to answer any questions an external reader would have about Without this initial blueprint you can find yourself stacking the wrong cards in the wrong order.
2 Poor Communication – Talk talk talk!
Communication is the ace in the pack. It is important that all team members are in communication at all times, if not it can impact the quality of your deliverables and result in missed deadlines, a prolonged project lifetime, or worst of all, failure.
This can be achieved through whatever means most suitable. Personally, I have found that for dealing with issues that arise during the course of the project nothing beats talking it through face-to-face or on a teleconference. Scheduling in a regular project status call really does pays dividends. Emails work well also, however it can be an onerous task and people will sometimes skim read and miss important information.
3. Unrealistic Targets and Deadlines – Deadlines are coming.
Unrealistic targets and deadlines can bring about demotivation and dissatisfaction. For the project team, it causes unnecessary stress and can lead to a rushed job, producing inadequate deliverables. For stakeholders, it’s poor management of expectations. Don’t promise the world if you cannot deliver it!
Another point to consider is the extraneous factors that could the timings and deadlines for the project. Does the project deadline sync with the end of a quarter filled with major, internal reporting deadlines or specific deliverables? Are all of your resources going to be available during this timeframe? What may seem a reasonable target at first may not be so reasonable when other factors are considered.
4. Unclear roles and responsibilities – Who, what, when?
Sometimes you can be so wrapped up in establishing the scope, costs, risks and deliverables you forget about the most important facet, the team. If you are all singing off the same hymn sheet the chances of missed deadlines and wrong task fulfilment is minimalised.
It is vital that the teams understand their position within the project and what is expected. If it is not clearly defined from the beginning it can be difficult for the team to be organised and self-manage, leading to poor performance.
5. Risk Management – Know your enemies!
There will always be inherent risks in delivering an effective project. Ensuring you identify as many risks as possible early and manage them appropriately is fundamental to ensuring smooth delivery throughout the project lifecycle. It is important that the team members are aware of all the potential risks, the more they know about the risks and how to deal with them the greater the chances of success!