In an ideal world, every project that you undertake will work out exactly as you’ve planned it and will end up a big success.
However, as you know, life isn’t like that. Not surprising when you consider that one survey found that 75% of project participants lack confidence that their projects will succeed.
But where does this lack of confidence come from? In the main, it comes from bad project management practices. In this blog post we’re going to look at some of the worst examples so you can avoid making the same mistakes.
Complicated project hierarchy
Having a clearly defined hierarchy that works like clockwork is critical for the success of your project.
The reason for this is simple. It ensures that only a select few are in charge of the direction of your project and you avoid the old problem of too many cooks spoiling the broth.
So, want roles should make up this structure? This obviously depends on the scope of your project. On a fairly basic level this should include:
- Business Analysts
- Team members
One aspect that is often overlooked is how many people make up individual teams. Communication and collaboration can become trickier the larger a team gets, while smaller teams lack a wide range of inputs and opinions.
Again, this largely depends on the scope of your project, but Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s two-pizza team rule can be effective. His theory being, that teams shouldn’t be larger than what two pizzas can feed.
Lack of communication
Without effective communication, projects will simply end in failure.
Don’t believe me? The statistics back this up. According to the Project Management Institute:
“Companies risk $135 (£94.81) million for every $1 (£700) billion spent on a project and new research indicates that $75(£52.67) million of that $135 (£94.81) million (56 percent) is put at risk by ineffective communications, indicating a critical need for organisations to address communications deficiencies at the enterprise level.”
That’s a lot of money wasted! So, what can you realistically do about it? Well first of all, you need a watertight project communication plan. This should include:
- What needs to be shared – This depends on the needs and requirements of your different stakeholder groups.
- How often should it be shared? – Do certain groups need daily briefings, or will a monthly update suffice?
- How will it be communicated – What methods of communication are you going to use? There are plenty of good and bad choices that you could make so pick carefully!
Failure to prioritise
As a busy project manager, you’ve probably got a lot on your plate. You’ve got to manage your team, manage stakeholders, ensure the project is going smoothly and much more. You may even have multiple projects on the go at once!
With so much going on, you might feel overwhelmed. According to a report by Health Advocate, stress results in as much as £210 billion in lost productivity, which along with the potential effect on your health, makes it crucial that you find a way to manage your time and workload.
Here are some quick tips that you can easily implement:
Say no sometimes
If you’re in the middle of working on something important, don’t be afraid to say no to colleagues who asks you a favour. If you’re afraid of sounding unhelpful, explain the importance of what you’re doing and maybe offer to lend a hand when you have finished what you're doing.
Use task lists
No, I’m not talking about a pen and paper here. The most effective way to manage your tasks is to use your online workspace, if you have one. Most software will send you regular reminders and you can even assign them to other people, if you want to delegate some of the work. They can be particularly useful if you’re working with remote workers or external partners.
According to project management consultancy, Innovative Management Solutions, there are two reasons why you need to be flexible when managing your workload.
- Uncertainty – Whether it’s the weather stopping you coming into work or a colleague off sick, you need to be able to adapt to unexpected events and not let it affect your work.
- No two projects are alike – I’m sure that you know this already. But it’s worth repeating that even when the project goal is identical, the environment can change, making it difficult to follow the same sequence of activities each time.
So when something happens that changes the course of your project or workload, don't panic. Just reassess the situation and adapt your plan accordingly.
Ignoring new technologies
As you know already, phone calls, emails and meetings have played a key role in many successful projects.
So, what is the alternative to this? It’s simple – online collaboration software. Using a secure online workspace, you can view project tasks, deliverables, team activities and much more all in one place.
It can also act as a centralised hub for all project communications and conversations. Your stakeholders can collaborate on documents together in real-time and you can create discussion forums to encourage debate and fully engage them with your project.