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7 Worst Project Management Mistakes

As any project manager can tell you, some projects hang by a thread. Knock just one element out of sync, and the entire thing can come tumbling down like a house of cards. Rather than spend your time figuring out how to recover from a disaster, here are some of the biggest pitfalls you should avoid in the first place:

1.    Forgetting to pay attention to the small details. While it might seem relatively unimportant, spelling the name of your client’s company in project updates for weeks on end is a serious black mark against you. Minor oversights can cause significant but unnecessary friction. Even the most minor details of a project process – such as backing up the data servers that store project plans or other relevant information – can cause huge issues.

2.    Missing scheduled milestones. For a project to be successful, you and your project team must hit certain deadlines. It isn’t always something external, like a supply chain issue either. Sometimes, it can be as simple as forgetting that a crucial team member is on vacation during a critical week.

3.    Faking it. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t pretend you do. You might wind up working overtime just to keep up with the project. In addition, you can wind up with serious cost overruns just because you weren’t knowlegable enough to answer a question accurately. You need to admit your own limitations before they wind up totally breaking down your project. Ask for help if you need it, but never make a guess if you can help it.

4.    Accepting the blame for someone else’s mistakes. Carrying someone else’s black mark is never a good thing. Just like you need to own up to your own problems or limitations, don’t allow someone else to get away with pushing the blame off on you.

5.    Underestimating people issues. The fact of the matter is that some teams are forced to work together in spite of their own protestations. Factions can develop, as well. In some cases, it’s just a matter of “Us vs. Them“ between contractors and employees, or between several contractors. Watch out for tension across the team, and be prepared to address people issues firmly and effectively.  

6.    Ignoring the end user. Whether it’s the development of a customized application or whether it’s building a new facility, you need to keep the lines of communication open with the end user. Otherwise, you’ll wind up undoing all sorts of work on your project. Get the stakeholders and users involved with the process.

7.    Not learning from mistakes. No, the world of project management is, in general, not very tolerant of mistakes. However, having a project fail due to carelessness is a vastly different proposition than having a proect fail while you were doing your best. If you can learn from your mistakes at every stage of the game and on every project, and apply those lessons to future projects, you’ll be light years ahead.

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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.