Project Management: Common mistakes, and how PRINCE2 overcomes them

Project Management Mistakes to avoid

If your project is suffering from these mistakes, you don’t have the right framework

Successful projects do not run themselves. They must be managed effectively and efficiently, with all factors of project management considered. To achieve this, the PRINCE2 project management framework takes a structured and flexible approach to project work.

One of the key attributes of PRINCE2 is that throughout a project, during each work stage and in the transition from one work stage to another, the project manager, project team, and other stakeholders benefit from a Lessons Learned system.

Of course, each project is different. However, despite this uniqueness, there are some common mistakes made by those inexperienced in project management. In this article, you’ll learn what these common mistakes are, and how PRINCE2 eliminates them from the outset.

Mistake #1: Failure to create effective milestones

New projects can be difficult to start. This is especially true of larger, more complex projects. While the end goal may be clear, failing to break a project down into workable ‘mini-goals’ can have dire consequences. The project team can become overwhelmed, and a lack of visible progress can demoralise team members. Motivation and productivity fall, and the project slips towards failure.

The Plans theme within PRINCE2 ensures that the project is broken down into manageable and scalable work packages:

  • The project plan provides an overview of the management stages
  • Stage plans provide detail of each stage, including its goals and measurements of success
  • Team plans identify who is responsible for what during work stages, and how to monitor progress


Read more about project planning in our post “The plans theme in PRINCE2”.

Mistake #2: Poor communication

Unless effective communication is employed during a project, project teams will be ‘working in the dark’. It is essential that communication between all those involved is effective and timely. A good project manager will understand that different audiences need to be communicated to differently, and that effective communication will ensure project transparency, enabling issues to be identified and dealt with more quickly.

Read more about this in our post “Communications Planning: Essential to Project Planning”.

Mistake #3: A lack of flexibility

While planning a project is essential, the experienced project manager knows that flexibility is also key. There are a range of factors that can affect project progression. While risks will have been considered during the planning phase, it is a rare project indeed that does not come up against issues that cannot be controlled but nevertheless affect the project (consider supply-side problems, or an extended period of bad weather conditions).

PRINCE2 allows for flexibility throughout the project, with each work stage reviewed and subsequent work stages revised to encompass new knowledge.

Read more in our post “Project progression under PRINCE2’s management stages”.

Mistake #4: No clear objectives set

The goal of all projects is to turn an idea into reality. But too often, that reality is not clearly defined. This leads to a lack of understanding within project teams, no clarity for progress, and no way to measure the success of a project.

To eliminate this mistake, the key document within a PRINCE2 project is the Business Case. This starts life as an outline, and is developed during the initiation stage of a project. It is continually updated at the end of each work stage (there’s that flexibility again).

Read more in our post “The business case theme in PRINCE2”.

Mistake #5: Selecting the wrong project team

Project team members must be selected for what they can give to the project. The most successful projects benefit from high-performance teams that manage, control, and work on the project. How do you build such a team? Here are a few pointers:

  • Seek diversity of people and skills
  • Set ground rules
  • Set project goals
  • Use appropriate communication
  • Pinpoint the skills and abilities needed by the project manager, team managers, Change Authority, and Project Assurance, and select based upon these needs. Remember to assess the scope of experience of individuals in similar projects.


Read more in our post “7 Team building strategies for successful project management”.

Projects that are managed within the framework of the PRINCE2 methodology should never suffer because of one of these five common project management mistakes. Projects that are broken down into achievable milestones, managed by high-performance teams that communicate effectively and remain flexible, will race toward their set objectives.

To discover how to make your next project a success, click on the button below to contact Your Project Manager:

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