6 project management pitfalls to avoid

Tactics to stay on track as a project manager

When planning and managing a project, a Project Manager must remain vigilant. There are many project management pitfalls that should be avoided to maintain project momentum and achieve project goals. Here are six of the most common.

1.      Losing focus on project goals

While it’s important to avoid a project suffering from triple constraint, a Project Manager shouldn’t focus wholly on time, cost and scope. A project could be under budget and delivered on time, but miss its goals.

In other words, overly focusing on the triple constraint could lead to forgetting the reason for the project – the business case. The Project Manager must balance the need to monitor and manage the triple constraint with the obligation to ensure the project delivers real benefits to the customer.

2.      Focusing on process, not people

This is especially the case with inexperienced Project Managers. In their desire to get it right, they concentrate on the process of project management rather than the people it affects. Installing a new system, process or equipment will require people to change the way they do things. Without creating the environment that encourages this change, the Project Manager will face resistance that could cripple the project before it starts.

It’s also important that the Project Manager enlists people with the right qualifications and experience in the different roles needed to see the project through to success. Additionally, the core project team should remain unchanged through the project, enabling a sense of ownership and ensuring project knowledge drives informed decisions.

3.      Not considering all project risks

One of the most important of all project management functions is to consider all risks, and managing a risk register. Mitigation of risk requires experience and learning from previous projects. However, risk can never be fully eliminated. External factors – such as reductions in budgets, law changes, and supplier difficulties – can unhinge a project. Therefore, the Project Manager must pay particular attention to these when designing risk mitigation.

4.      Micromanagement

Again a pitfall that is most common among inexperienced Project Managers, micromanagement disables innovation and engagement with a project. Workers who have someone sitting on their shoulder become less able or willing to execute tasks without express permission and guidance. The result is that projects slow down and run over budget.

PRINCE2 methodology helps Project Managers avoid micromanagement by managing by exception. Project Managers are alerted only when the project deviates from its expected course.

5.      Internal politics get in the way

When making change, people can become resistant to new processes, systems and technologies. They might see an external Project Manager as ‘the enemy’. Such hostility may also manifest itself in disinterest for the project. Senior management and sponsors must accept responsibility to encourage and maintain employee engagement with such projects, or risk project failure.

6.      Ignoring project management methodology

PRINCE2 enables Project Managers to manage a project in a known and tested project management framework. This removes the guesswork and haphazard decision-making that punctuates unsuccessful projects. In the UK, it was found that 78% of IT projects were successful when PRINCE2 was used as the project management framework, compered to just 38% success when PRINCE2 was not used.

To discover how focused project management using PRINCE2 methodology can help your project be successful, contact Your Project Manager:

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