The greatest mistakes new project managers make and how to avoid them
Not defining clear project objectives
Before starting the project, it is important to define the initial situation. This should include an analysis of what the current state is, what the target state should be and what the goals and expectations are. In addition, the tasks that are necessary to achieve the desired goal must be identified. A helpful method for defining goals is SMART formulation, which ensures that goals are specific, measurable, attractive, realistic and timed. It is also important to determine when a task can be considered complete in order to perceive an achieved goal as such.
If the project goal is not clearly defined and the tasks to achieve the goal are not clearly defined, the magic triangle of time, cost and quality can be compromised. Without defined tasks, the quality of the work suffers, while time and costs keep increasing because things have to be done over and over again. Therefore, it is important not to constantly expand the project scope of work in order to avoid unnecessary work and rising costs. As a project manager, it is important to be able to say "no" once in a while. This creates clarity and enables efficient and effective work.
In addition, regular meetings can be used to maintain face-to-face contact and update everyone involved. Transparency plays a crucial role in ensuring that information reaches the relevant people in a timely manner. At the same time, good communication in dealing with stakeholders is of great importance.
Neglecting stakeholder management
Stakeholders with great influence but negative attitudes should be accommodated as far as possible. Their interests and criticism should be taken into account and, if possible, compromises should be found. Something cannot always be implemented immediately, but if it is communicated well, conflicts can be avoided. In this way, a negative attitude that could have a negative impact on the project in the form of delays can be counteracted. But stakeholders with positive attitudes should not be neglected either. In this way, trust is built up with them and at the same time they are satisfied because their ideas are implemented - so they do not unintentionally become stakeholders with a negative influence.
Underestimating project risks
A lack of risk management means that, in the worst case, necessary precautionary measures are not taken. This can lead to the project goal not being achieved and the project failing. To avoid this, risk management is essential. Experiences from completed projects, such as documents, consulting experts or holding a workshop can help.
Especially in complex projects, where new developments are constantly occurring, risk management is of great importance. This way, the contingency plan can be quickly resorted to. This helps to keep a better eye on the budget and calm the nerves of the management.
However, as risks may change during the course of the project, it is advisable to repeat the process regularly.
Project managers who behave this way should find alternative ways to check the progress of the project. For example, regular meetings could be held in which all important aspects are discussed. Here, all team members have the opportunity to report on the status of their tasks, while the project manager can make suggestions for improvement. In addition, team members can ask for support at these meetings. In this way, the project manager maintains control over the project without monitoring or restricting the team members too much.
Inadequate project monitoring and control
The project manager should always keep an eye on the current progress of the project and initiate countermeasures in case of deviations from the plan.
This goes hand in hand with risk management as well as stakeholder management and communication in the project team. After all, these points play an important role in monitoring and controlling and ultimately in the success of the project.