New project managers have a lot on their mind, and one of the more stressful things weighing on them is how many mistakes they'll make as the beginning of their new career unfolds. This list by Ronda Bowen points out 10 mistakes that new project managers tend to make, and a few ways to avoid those mistakes. At the top of the list (and with good reason) is that the project scope is too big:
The most common reason projects fail is a project manager bites off too big of a project scope. Large project scopes are very difficult to manage because oftentimes, they keep growing and snowballing out of control. Inexperience plays a big role in large project scope. The best way to avoid having a gigantic project scope is to brainstorm until you have the smallest manageable goals. For example, if your original project idea involves completing an overhaul of your company's data management protocol, start smaller. Start by overhauling just one target area. Trust me, it will be a large enough project.
Another likely problem comes from a new project manger's desire to prove themselves, and thereby setting the project schedule in unrealistic goals. Avoiding the desire to be too ambitious with the schedule is important: while the fear of not completing work in good time is valid, it looks far worse if you set unrealistic schedules for each element of a project and miss every single deadline. Bowen suggests building in extra time within the project schedule to allow for some flex as you begin to learn how long certain elements of the project will take. With experience, new project managers will be able to develop more accurate schedules without the risk of being way off base.