Love The Hustle Blog

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Managing a Big Project

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It turns out that you are more likely to fail than to succeed in handling and completing a big project. According to statistics, fewer than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and within the budget over the past year, only 56% of all project managers are certified, and most of the time 80% of them they have no idea how their projects align with their company’s business strategy.

Nevertheless, an astounding 97% of organizations believe project management is critical to business performance and organizational success, which is why you – as a project manager – should give it your best to get things done on time and within the budget. To accomplish that, you should have a proper plan, an excellent drive and a mindset to avoid making critical mistakes when managing a big project.

1) Failing to Define Goals


When your team isn’t given a clear set of goals, they will waste more time on figuring out what should be done than doing the actual work. Simply put, they can’t be productive if they have no clue what they’re working for, or what their work means. That implies that there will be problems with prioritizing, so the tasks will most likely get completed in the wrong order.

2) False risks assessment  


Underestimating or refusing to acknowledge risk can ultimately derail both your schedule and your project plan, thus increasing project costs dramatically. On the other hand, overestimating risks is detrimental to a project as well, since being overly cautious will keep you from taking action. Assess risks and the probability of their occurrence diligently. If you come to the conclusion that it is impossible to avoid or eliminate them, create an action plan to mitigate them.

3) Using inconsistent methods and processes


If you find different departments using different communication channels (developers are using agile, marketing is using lean, and HR is working with Excel), it is likely that your project will come to a halt. The result of this chaos is ineffective project communication and an inefficient project process. Therefore, establishing clear communication as well as streamlining project processes should be a priority for every project manager – including yourself.

4) Hasty Recruitment


An overloaded team is an unproductive team. If work becomes unbearable, bring on someone to help out. However, hiring someone too hastily can prove to be a disastrous mistake. Rushing recruitment can have you introducing the wrong people into your team: sometimes they will be uncooperative, sometimes ineffective, sometimes unproductive, and sometimes (if you are really unlucky) all of it at once. In this case, other team members will be stressed and frustrated because newly arrived under-performer has to be “carried.” Also, if the new employee doesn’t work out, your sloppy recruitment process will be nothing more than the waste of valuable time and resources.

5) Not Delegating


Just because you are THE project manager, it doesn’t automatically mean that everyone else is incapable of doing their jobs. It is ok to delegate! Refusing to do so can cause huge problems: you will face bottleneck after bottleneck, most likely become stressed and definitely suffer from burnout. Therefore, think about delegation as an investment: it does take a lot of effort up-front, and it can be hard to trust your team to do the work correctly at first, but if it works out – oh boy, will it be good!

6) Using the wrong tools


Even though project management tool does not replace project management skills and experience, it has become the essential part of the process over the years. In the modern world of startups and scale ups, having a reliable small business management software at your disposal is a no brainer. Try to opt for one with task management capabilities, time and cost tracking, and a team as well as client collaboration. Also, keep in mind that it should be simple, easy to use and to benefit your team. With the proper tool, your projects will be completed efficiently, on time and within the budget.  

7) Trying to be friends with everyone


Finally, you have to remember that this is NOT a popularity contest. Trying to be best friends with every employee is counterproductive in the most of the cases. And while you should focus on being the kind of people employees respect, you do not need to be liked at all costs. Striving towards this accomplishment will leave you vulnerable to bias performance evaluation – you are likely to dislike those who openly oppose you, and reward those whom you feel friendly with. Solution to this problem is focusing your attention on employee attitude and behavior, not on the person. Set clear expectations, and if your team fails to meet them, respond accordingly.

About the author:

Rachel McPherson is the VP of Communications at Active Collab.