Common Project Management Mistakes To Avoid


Edmonton Art Gallery Demolition

Mistakes are sometimes unavoidable, but they can also be the doorway to increased wisdom and understanding. It has been argued by some academics that roughly 90% of the mistakes made arise from perceptions shaped by experiences, socio-economic, and cultural biases. The remaining 10% is based in logic   

As Project Managers we can and do make mistakes, at times resulting from a lack of experience and skills, just plain ignorance, or negatively formed perceptions. When we do though, we would best be served by learning from them so that we avoid repeating them in the future. Here are just five common mistakes that we should seek to continually avoid, in the course of our work with projects and their clients;

  • Failing to communicate with stakeholders. Always formulate and implement viable strategies, tools, and techniques for ensuring that stakeholders are communicated in a manner and frequency that is clear, viable, and understandable. These can include weekly and progress reports, emails, and regular team meetings - go with what works for the situation
  • Preparing too ambitious a schedule. Aim to make your schedule for completion less complex. Trying employing the SMART principle of being specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Factor in key risks where possible
  • Ignoring project problems when they arise. Identify and resolve problems as early as possible, including interpersonal and technical issues. If left unchecked, as we have seen many do, these problems can make the management of your project unnecessarily difficult
  • Failing to gather and understand requirements. Requirements or needs are the foundation of and form the basis of everything you do within a project. Elicit all requirements from stakeholders and your SME's. Do not rely solely on your own interpretation or understanding. Seek also to analyze and validate these requirements where possible - clarity here is key
  • Failing to negotiate for deliverables. In large organizations that do regularly undertake projects, people and resources are normally required from various functional managers. When negotiating, do not negotiate for the people, but for the deliverables that are required and when. Try to get the managers involved to understand that they too are responsible for the project's eventual success