A successful project unites plenty of details. Occasionally, things can go from bad to worse, creating project management pitfalls you could have avoided otherwise.
You will face different obstacles during each project development phase that might derail you from the right path. Knowing the most common issues will help you anticipate pitfalls and watch out for them in the following projects.
That's why it's crucial to keep your guard up in each stage because project management pitfalls can trigger numerous problems like missed deadlines, budget overrun, etc. In some cases, these will be enough to break your client's trust and put your company's credibility into question.
Pitfalls in project management
Pitfalls represent processes or events that prevent your project from accomplishing its goals. We could talk about multiple project management pitfalls. They all have a different nature, but we could unite them into particular groups based on some features.
Pitfalls project managers fall into
According to many project managers, poor communication falls into one of the largest pitfalls. Team members and project managers need to realize that project management isn't a solo venture. And, for a project to be successful, it needs to have effective communication.
Poor communication is the main reason many projects fail, as it greatly affects a project's success. Lack of communication leads to delays and confusion while affecting the work quality and tasks involved in the project.
How to solve this?
Project managers need to select a suitable medium of communication for their teams. Additionally, every step of project development needs to be carefully revised. Not only will effective communication help combat the competition, but it will also boost the morale of your team.
Allow your team to have a say in your decisions. They will feel comfortable enough to seek guidance or help anytime they need it, boosting their involvement and motivation.
When communicating with your team, set the tone and frequency and ask them to provide you with frequent feedback and check-ins. This way, you will constantly be updated and know where your project is heading while avoiding common issues.
That's why it's important to hold meetings and have other avenues for your team to communicate with you and each other, allowing them to be more straightforward with the progress and ask for help when they need it.
You could also use project management tools that are very beneficial for updating your team's progress in real-time, posting observations and queries while allowing you to reduce the number of meetings.
Additionally, it's crucial to investigate which communication medium works best for your team. Sometimes you will have to switch to other communication methods because your project demands a different approach.
For instance, maybe emails are handy to write and receive, but they might not be a good match for your team. Using emails to discuss issues in real-time will often create a lag in communication, or you could get lost in a jumble of other mails.
The most common problems in project management
Bad planning: it includes poor prioritization, not having a proper business plan, and not breaking down your project in phases.
Lack of leadership: if the project manager doesn't have management or business expertise, it will lead to poor decision-making.
Communication issues: the ability to solve conflict can significantly affect your project. That's why project managers need to be master communicators to keep everyone on board and in agreement.
Vague requirements: right from the start, you need to define your requirements clearly. Changing them can cause a project to miss a deadline.
Lifecycle problems: usually caused by changing requirements or poor planning. Keep in mind that initial testing methods need to be strict to avoid repeating errors.
Poorly implemented communication processes: it's essential to keep everyone informed on project status. Lack of communication leads to delays and errors.
Stakeholder approval: efficient project managers will ensure a collaborative working environment where stakeholders can discuss and analyze project phases.
No schedule: you need to have an established program for objectives, operational activities, and tasks.
Missed deadlines: different types of delays can cause missed deadlines.
The Big Book of Team Culture
Effects of poor project management
Project cost overrun
One of the most important effects of poor project management is a cost overrun. If you can't apply the appropriate project management skills, the estimates will be inaccurate, and activities will cost more than you planned.
Scope creeps, conflicts, unclear tasks, etc., can cause project delays. To create a realistic project schedule, you need to estimate all your activities thoroughly.
Discouraged project team
When you fail to meet project targets, your team may feel discouraged, lose focus, and not remain at the same level of productivity as before. If your project is going off track, your team members may think this situation will result in delayed promotions, cancellation of incentives, and even layoffs.
One of the effects you can hardly rectify is a bad reputation in an organization and the market. Due to bad management skills and failing several projects in a row, your organization may face a bad reputation and will hamper over time.
The most difficult part of project management
Project management is a complex practice that keeps challenging even the most successful companies around the world. There are so many moving parts involved in a project that even experts with years of work as project managers feel the pressure on a day-to-day basis.
Everyone has a different saying about the most difficult part of project management since it mostly depends on the project manager and the organization. However, a lot of experts agreed that managing customer expectations is a #1 challenge.
Whether a paying client or an internal customer in a different department, aligning their practical and achievable expectations seems to be a constant source of tension. Even though we would all like to give our stakeholders a voice, we can only do so much when faced with fixed deadlines and limited resources.
How do project managers solve problems?
While some problems are small and can be resolved quickly and efficiently, others require a significant amount of your time and effort to solve. Eventually, we turn these large problems into formal projects.
Regardless of the problem, you need a systematic approach to help you be more effective in project management. This approach has five problem-solving steps you can apply to the majority of problems:
- Identify the problem
- Determine the cause
- Create an idea
- Choose the best solutions
- Take action
These steps will help you avoid being one of those bad project managers and ensure your team's success.