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How to Avoid 12 Common Mistakes in Project Management

If project mistakes are like speed bumps, then it’s time to level the asphalt and put your project vehicle into overdrive. An article by Duncan Haughey for Project Smart UK breaks each speed bump down for analysis.

The Twelve Speed Bumps to Project Success

  1. PM Lacks Experience
  2. Staff Lack Skills
  3. Absence of Kick-Off
  4. No Requirements Statement
  5. Objective are not DUMB Enough
  6. Time and Budget are Unscientific
  7. Poor Communication
  8. Ballooning Scope
  9. Autocratic PM
  10. Micromanaging PM
  11. Software used as a Catchall
  12. Not Following a Process

First off, project managers should have some experience under their belts. Similarly, base your selection of project team members based on their applicable skills, not simply availability. Once you’ve got all your ducks in a row, have a kick-off meeting to get everyone on the same page. At the outset, write a statement of requirements document to eliminate any gaps or confusion in the various project objectives. Have a project objective that’s DUMB (doable, understandable, manageable, and beneficial).

In Haughy’s words, your methods for determining project timelines and budgets should be almost “scientific.” Don’t just guestimate. Use a bottom-up budgeting approach. Throughout the bulk of the project, keep communication channels open with appropriate stakeholders and issue updates wherever necessary. A baseline for scope must be set, and changed only through issued and approved scope change requests. Also, as a PM, it’s important to avoid becoming autocratic. Use team planning sessions to give everyone a stake in the process. This makes your project more resilient and team members more motivated. Along those same lines, resist the urge to micromanage, a scourge that destroys trust, confidence, and motivation. On the technical side, software can be an incredible boon to progress, but never allow it to become a crutch. Finally, you wouldn’t start a perilous journey without mapping the terrain. Have a clear idea of your project’s process from start to finish to avoid getting bogged down. Now ready…set…go!

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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