Trace just about every project management war story back to its inception, and you’re almost sure to find one of the following six all-too-common mistakes.
1 – Not enough money. Budget and scope are related; it’s as simple as that. If funds are lacking, then the scope must be scaled back accordingly. Piggybacking on another project or tapping multiple too-small line items are rarely successful solutions.
2 – Not enough people. Project management professionals are the engines driving your project’s train. Whether it’s a misguided attempt to save money or simple naivety, assigning too few people to a project is a lose-lose situation. Your project’s objectives aren’t likely to be met, budgets will be blown, and your team will burn themselves out trying to take up the slack.
3 – Not enough time. Planning, procurement, and execution take time. Everything that happens behind the scenes still needs to happen, even if senior management doesn’t see the machinations. Overlapping incompatible activities or hurrying key steps will only cause headaches later.
4 – Not enough information. Critical information isn’t shared with the right people, or too few data points are disseminated to the team. Project management professionals need enough information to make the best strategic decisions, and to execute the project in the best way. Assumptions often lead to budget-straining changes down the road.
5 – Micromanagement. The executive group thinks their involvement is helping, but in fact they’re often impeding the team’s efforts and progress—by demanding too much information too frequently, or by expecting to be too involved when they aren’t actively contributing to the project management consulting team’s efforts.
6 – Changing expectations or objectives mid-stream. Shifting priorities, scope creep, staffing transitions, corporate politics, and stakeholders’ personal whims are just a handful of triggers for this bane of the project management pro’s existence.