Without the support of the employees and the management, everything may be for free. We show common mistakes and how to avoid them. […]
“So much project management, so much mismanagement,” summarizes Jennifer Lonoff Schiff from our American sister publication CIO.com their observations together. Even if professional project management software was used, IT projects often took longer than planned and cost more than estimated. Lonoff Schiff has compiled twelve common project management mistakes and suggested solutions.
First mistake: Hiring the wrong Project Manager
In practice, according to Lonoff Schiff, project managers receive an order far too often because of their availability, not because of their experience. This is dangerous, because due to an inexperienced manager who lacks the necessary knowledge, a project can fail.
Solution: Project managers should only receive an order if their experience fits the respective requirements.
Second mistake: lack of support from the team
Projects often fail because they lack the support of the departments and employees involved. If this is the case, managers have not shown the employees concerned what role they play in an order or have not explained what will change as a result of the project. Often, employees simply carry on with their day-to-day business because managers do not make the urgency of a project clear to them.
Solution: In order for all this not to happen, the project manager should gather all the participants at the beginning and present the project and its consequences to them in such a way that he can be sure of their support. He should enable employees at other locations to access the presentation using the best technology available in the company.
Third mistake: lack of support from management
A successful project requires support not only from the team involved, but also from management. If this is not the case, it makes a successful conclusion difficult.
Solution: A person from the top management should be involved in the project from the very beginning and support the success of the assignment.
Fourth mistake: Tackling too many projects at once
Some managers mistakenly assume that it brings a lot to track several projects at the same time. However, multitasking only stops the participants and damages the quality of the individual projects, writes Lonoff Schiff.
Solution: It is particularly effective to reduce the number of open projects by 25 to 50 percent. This gives employees the opportunity to better focus on tasks and complete them successfully.
Fifth mistake: Too little project communication
The most important factor for successful project management is communication. A project cannot succeed without regular and clear agreements.
Solution: The whole team should get together once a week – at least virtually. So everyone involved is up to date and the processes do not stall.
Sixth mistake: Poor collaboration
Several commentators add another item to Lonoff Schiff’s list: cross-site collaboration. Especially here it can be worthwhile to resort to an effective tool. Because neither e-mails nor project management software can do this, according to the opinion of the commentators.
Solution: Readers recommend the use of a collaboration tool, for example SharePoint, to improve communication.
Seventh mistake: no clear goals
If the goals of a project are not clearly defined, it will fail. Those who change their objectives risk high costs and loss of time. Even small additional tasks such as changing a logo or an additional page on a website can lead to delays.
Solution: The project goal should be clearly defined from the very beginning and not be forgotten. Changes should only be possible if they are supported by the stakeholders and the participants have thought carefully about how these deviations affect the schedule.
Eighth mistake: too tight schedules
Of course, project managers think it’s only good with their clients if they want to finish a project quickly. But if one deadline after another is missed, this leads to dissatisfaction among all those involved.
Solution: A sensible solution can be, for example, a good project management software that can be used to plan resources and time in a meaningful way. But you should always take a buffer into account – both in terms of time and budget.
Ninth mistake: lack of flexibility
The project plan is important, there is no question about that. But one should not insist on it and completely block oneself from new information and suggestions.
Solution: Project managers should not get lost in the details, but should keep an eye on the entire project. Especially if something changes in the course, you should ask yourself how you could constantly improve your further work. Of course, this does not mean that you should constantly improve the project. However, it means that one must not close oneself off from suggestions for improvement.
Tenth mistake: Poor micromanagement
Project managers should not act like babysitters and constantly control the team, advises an expert Jennifer Lonoff Schiff from our American sister publication CIO.com.
Solution: It would be much better to make it clear to the employees involved at the first project meeting that there will be a weekly update appointment during the entire cooperation. So everyone knows that status messages and progress are expected from you every week and you will address delays and problems early on by yourself.
Eleventh mistake: Relying too much on the software
Project management software cannot solve all problems. Although it makes the individual steps visible, the software does not change the basic processes. Unfortunately, it always degenerates into a checklist without the participants thinking ahead and planning milestones effectively with their help.
Solution: The project management software should be selected in such a way that all parties involved are satisfied with the selection. Every user should receive training and learn how to use the software meaningfully.
Twelfth mistake: No success metric
When a project manager starts a new project, he should first fully understand what a successful completion would look like for the users. Otherwise, you run the risk of making the participants dissatisfied with the result.
Solution: Therefore, one should ask oneself from the beginning what the project result should look like so that it satisfies the users.
**Jennifer Lonoff Schiff writes for CIO.com about economics and technology.