With all of the different tasks that businesses juggle, project management is indeed a necessity in nearly every field. 97 percent of organizations believe Project Management is an essential part of their operations. After all, project management is meant to help teams run more efficiently and save time, but the opposite can happen when a project manager is just starting. And although making mistakes is just part of the learning curve, it’s helpful to know about common pitfalls beforehand, which can help a new project manager be more prepared by knowing what to watch for. Here are some of the most common missteps new project managers tend to make.
|Are you a professional who is aspiring to be a project manager? Try answering this PMP® Practice Test Questions and assess yourself.|
1. Lack of Communication
Like with so many departments in a business, communication is key. The entire team should be on the same page and understand what they should be doing when it comes to documenting their progress on a project, setting and reaching goals, handling tasks assigned to them, and so on.
As a project manager, it’s important to explain to other team members what’s needed and expected of them to ensure that the project at hand runs smoothly. Many project managers don’t realize this early on, and when there’s a lack of communication, important things can fall through the cracks.
To avoid any communication issues, hold regular meetings with team members to review their progress. If you work with a remote team, schedule regular calls and/or email check-ins.
2. Setting Up Tasks as Overwhelmingly Large Projects
As a beginner, you may be reluctant to set up too many projects at once, but sometimes, it’s necessary to break down a single project into several smaller projects. By setting up a single project that’s too big, a lot can go wrong. Team members may find the entire project to be too overwhelming and confusing. Minor details can be overlooked, and even though certain parts of the project may seem insignificant, missing deadlines or forgetting about them entirely can cause the entire project to fail.
Use a project charter template to document the project. That way, you can identify subtasks that may run simultaneously, as well as subtasks that must be completed before the next step can begin. A charter should also help you assign people to each task so that each person on the team is clear of their responsibilities.
3. Not Planning for Potential Scheduling Conflicts
Often, the successful completion of one task relies on another team member completing their tasks first. But what if a team member has another project come across their desk that they need to tackle first? What if one step getting delayed results in all following steps becoming delayed? If failing to meet a deadline means that other team members won’t complete their tasks on time, it’s essential to plan for this possibility. As a new project manager, it can be easy to overlook the importance of giving team members some extra time to complete their tasks—just in case anything unexpectedly pops up. That’s why identifying different risks and knowing time constraints can help you better predict those hurdles.
4. Failing to Prioritize Tasks
Let’s say you’re setting up a list of tasks for a specific team member. You’ve covered the details of what the project entails, and the steps required to complete the project. But as a new project manager, you may have overlooked one vital part of the task assignment: the priority level. While deadlines can be helpful when it comes to completing projects, they don’t necessarily highlight which tasks are of high importance and should be worked on first. After all, several items may have similar due dates. If other important projects or tasks pop up before high priority tasks have been completed, it can be problematic. Avoid potential pitfalls by prioritizing tasks from the beginning.
5. Lack of Training
Many people are hands-on learners and may find themselves in new roles with little to no previous experience. Instead, they learn on the job and as they go, which can work out well in some situations. However, without formal training, project managers can be overlooking things that can make them more efficient as project managers overall, and in turn, even better at their jobs. This includes not only foundational project management skills, but also fully understand all of the available features and tools that are offered through the project management software they’re using. It’s easy for a beginner to learn just enough to get by, but if they only allow themselves to get comfortable with the basics, they may not be fully taking advantage of all the useful features that could help out the entire team.
According to research, more than half of organizations don’t have a project management training program in place. Whether you’re training a team of project managers at your company, or you’re just starting on your own as a project manager, training can help. Simplilearn offers a wide range of courses tailored explicitly to product management education that can provide you (or your team) with the skills needed to succeed in project management. Whether you’re looking for a brief foundational course to teach you the basics or one that can take you from beginner to certified Project Management Professional, or something in between, we can get you there.
PMBOK®, PMP®, and PMI® are registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.