4 Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Projects to Oblivion (And How to Fix Them)

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Did you know that poor project management practices by organizations worldwide waste around $1 million every 20 seconds, or roughly $2 trillion yearly? 

That’s an eye-popping amount, and I don’t mean to intimidate you, but this shows how critical your role is as a project manager. One wrong move from you can devastate your team’s performance, company resources, and organizational success.

Thankfully, many of these project management mistakes are preventable. To help you avoid some of the most common, yet still devastating project management mistakes, we put together this guide.

Below are four project mistakes that can wreck your project to oblivion.

1. Poor team collaboration

If you and your team members aren’t working together, chances are your project will fail.

After all, you and your colleagues are the ones running the venture according to your designated roles and assignments. The project aspects are interconnected, so one bogged-down task can crash the entire initiative and team performance.

What’s more, poor collaboration wastes time and resources and destroys the team’s morale to complete the project excellently.

It can even create additional silos with members working by themselves and excluding teammates in the process.

A viable solution to this problem is using a reliable project collaboration tool. Technologies like it help with better task hand-offs, accountability, and communication, harmonize your team’s efforts and prevent isolated assignment fulfillment.

You also get greater visibility over the general implementation, project updates, shared files, team discussions, and several other aspects.

Collaboration tools with chat and comment features eliminate the habit of communicating through confusing email threads.

With enhanced collaboration and tools supporting it, you and your team can coordinate more smoothly throughout the life cycle and toward successful project completion.

2. Long-winding processes

Having needlessly long processes can impact your projects adversely in several ways. It can decrease your team’s productivity, increase your expenses, cause needless firefighting, etc.

Sadly, it’s not always easy to fix faulty internal processes, especially if your team is used to it.

To address this, some companies create their own apps with features tailored to their needs.

With this app, you can trim, automate, and remove unnecessary steps in your processes. As you can imagine, this brings all sorts of benefits to your business, process-wise.

Before creating your app, run internal surveys to get accurate data about your team’s needs. Then, develop and launch your apps accordingly through DevOps platforms such as Microsoft Azure DevOps. These tools have features enabling you to test and improve your app more seamlessly.

Once your app is up and running, execute consistent Azure DevOps backups to protect your code and data from hackers and other unforeseen issues. 

With a secure, efficient app that’s 100% tailored to your needs and processes, you can streamline your project management tasks and increase your productivity.

3. Faulty planning and execution

Planning and implementation are two of the most critical stages in a project life cycle as they often steer and determine your initiative’s success. Various mistakes can wreck your planning and execution, such as:

Having unclear and untracked objectives

Failing to define what you aim to achieve causes you to perform, prioritize, and delegate irrelevant tasks and engagements. You will also cover unrelated items in your budget and waste valuable time, money, and effort.

Creating SMART goals is a best practice to avoid this mistake. They should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bounded. Subsequently, align all your activities, assignments, and needed resources to these objectives. You must also monitor them periodically until your project closes and communicate these with your team.

Incorrectly estimating your timelines and budgets

Sometimes, you overlook critical tasks, miss allocating resources for them, and fall short of the required budget.

Lack of appropriate industry knowledge and experience is often the cause. To prevent that mistake, work with team members seasoned in the field you’re unfamiliar with, or request expert advice. 

Carefully go over every project stage and break down major milestones into activities and tasks. Then, realistically assess and imagine how it will go, how long the completion will take, and how much it will cost. 

When estimating your budget, make room for emergency funds in case of sudden expenses or cost cuts.

Not knowing your client or beneficiaries well enough

Without designing your project according to the recipients’ needs and expectations, they likely won’t accept and consider your project a success. Participation will also be low, and patronage of your services can diminish.

Let’s say your project is revamping your online store for a better customer experience. Then you need to establish the right customer base and understand first your ideal buyer. That way, you can redesign your site properly — create new content, adopt a minimalist layout, upgrade accessibility features, etc.

4. Inadequate risk identification at the onset

One of the most exasperating mistakes in project management is discovering issues too late in the life cycle. 

Each project bears some risk, so you need to expose these risks early on and frequently with your team — instead of waiting for issues to emerge and worsen later. 

Remember, just as pinpointing risks helps ensure businesses run smoothly and perfectly, doing so helps you prepare solutions ahead and navigate unexpected events in the project life cycle.

To avoid the consequences of identifying issues late, conduct a risk assessment and analysis during the project initiation and planning phases.

Pinpoint every small-scale and macro-level threat each department can encounter throughout the project stages (and by severity). Then, think ahead of ways to avoid, mitigate, and resolve these issues when they occur. Incorporate this into your budget and execution.

As you go through this assessment, encourage your team members to be candid and straightforward with the risks they foresee. 

Everyone must be able to share their thoughts honestly about this. If an in-person session can’t effectively carry this out — especially for newly formed teams — consider written submissions or anonymous processes.

Another technique is to distribute index cards with the statement, “My biggest concern about the project’s success is…” Ask members to complete it and drop off their cards in a basket at the exit door upon leaving the meeting. You can also conduct this with virtual, anonymous surveys.

Avoid these project management mistakes at all costs

Now that you’ve learned about these project management mistakes, you can steer clear of them more strategically. Apply the mentioned tips and leverage robust online tools to ensure you get the best results — and your aspired project success.