It is rare that a project does not encounter any problems between its launch and its completion. The problems encountered may be related to the unexpected, but they may also be due to project management errors. Whether they are experienced or beginners, the members of a project can have bad reflexes that hinder its smooth running. Here are 10 mistakes not to make during your projects.
Poor definition of roles and responsibilities
When launching a project, it is important that everyone understands precisely their role and responsibilities. If the roles are not clear enough, and if the exact expectations are not understood, the team risks going down the wrong path. In most organizations, it is up to the project manager to ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of what is expected of them. Project stakeholders should also be able to identify the project’s objectives.
A team spirit that is not sufficiently nurtured
Team spirit is a determining factor in the success of a project. Indeed, a team that knows and appreciates each other will have a higher probability of being productive. There are simple ways to make some connections, such as organizing informal meetings with future members beforehand, or holding workshops to get to know each other better.
No risk management
It is often said that “Risk 0 does not exist,” and this is particularly true in the case of a project. Risk management must be implemented throughout the project, because as the project evolves, so do the risks. Risk management improves communication, decision-making and anticipation. As Murphy’s Law states, “anything that is likely to go wrong will go wrong,” so you have to anticipate.
Perfectionism, Procrastination and Paralysis
The 3Ps of non-productivity are among the pitfalls to be avoided during a project. Perfectionism starts from a good intention, but one must keep in mind that the best is the enemy of the good. Pareto’s law specifies that “80% of results are obtained by only 20% of the work”, so don’t waste too much time on details, and concentrate on the 20% most important!
Conversely, procrastinating is obviously counterproductive, since it means spending more time thinking about the task, rather than doing it. To remedy this, when you are a perfectionist or procrastinate, take the time to think about the consequences of your actions, whether in terms of time or money.
Not planning or prioritizing tasks to be performed
Be careful not to get into the production of the project too quickly! This is a very common mistake, and in the rush, many people forget to take time to settle down and plan, before plunging into the realization. If you forget this planning step, you may end up in an impasse you hadn’t considered, in the middle of the project, or spend time on low value-added tasks. Setting up a schedule or a priority order of the month, based on deadline constraints, helps you avoid finishing out of time, and helps you determine the time and resources needed.
Poor communication between members
Many projects encounter communication problems. Poor communication can be explained by various causes such as: personalities that are difficult to match within the team, an unsuitable working environment, poor communication tools… And the consequences are just as numerous: misunderstanding, disappointment, stress, rushed work…
For all these reasons, it is important to take good care of communication, and to regularly check that the entire team participates in the exchanges. This is both a group responsibility, but also an individual responsibility: everyone must ensure that information is circulated, that exchanges are courteous and that the word of each member is listened to, heard and respected.
Use tools that hinder productivity
There are a large number of project management tools, software and methods available, as needs vary depending on the type or size of projects. The team should discuss which tools to use for the project. They must be adapted to avoid wasting time and/or money. Some tools are veritable gas machines that could reduce the efficiency of your projects!
A lack of monitoring of the project’s progress
Setting up a method and planning tasks is good, following the project’s progress is better. The fact that the project does not go according to the plan imagined beforehand is not necessarily a mistake, because it can show that the team knows how to adapt to unforeseen events or observations quickly. But if the team does not follow the plan as planned, it must do so in good conscience. It is therefore necessary to regularly check that the expected course of action is carried out and justify any deviations.
Not anticipating the inevitable delay of the project
According to Hofstadter’s Law, “things take longer than expected, even taking into account Hofstadter’s Law”, and that is why it is important to anticipate potential delays. It is preferable to allow extra time to deal with a possible delay, even if it means finishing ahead of schedule, rather than not anticipating and ending up late because of an unforeseen event.
Forget the objectives of the project or team
When a project is launched, many teams focus only on the “what” but neglect the “why”. The ideal is to succeed in always keeping in mind why you are doing the work, what the final goal is. It is also a way to maintain a team spirit, because everyone knows the reasons for the work being done, and to increase the meaning that each member can find in it.