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14 errors in project management by Alexander Galdy

14 errors in project management by Alexander Galdy 19.07.2019 - In Manager Magazin online Alexander Galdy writes about mistakes in project management. Anyone who is involved in project management can immediately name a number of typical problems that can be attributed to errors in project management and that occur again and again. For his article, Alexander Galdy has chosen 14 typical errors from IT project management that he finds particularly important, and he wants to give other project managers tips on how to avoid these errors. 

At the beginning of his article in Manager Magazine, Galdy points out that in IT only a third of all projects are successfully completed. Mistakes can therefore have devastating consequences. Galdy sees wrong personnel decisions as one of the main mistakes. If you don't have the right specialists for your project or don't make them available, you don't have the necessary know-how at hand and would most likely fail. As far as IT is concerned, the solution for Galdy is that every manager has to keep an eye on the skills and availability of his staff. The crucial point is to distribute the right people among the various projects in such a way that each project is provided with the necessary know-how. Of course, this is often a tightrope walk and a challenge. There are various approaches among the various models for managing personnel and projects. Flexibility must be available, for example, whenever an important project is problematic and needs short-term reinforcement.

Experience and certification

The second big mistake that many project managers make again and again is related to the personnel and the corresponding personnel decisions. Galdy sees the lack of an experienced PM to manage and monitor the entire project as crucial to the failure of a project. In this context, Galdy also emphasizes the importance of certification. A project manager with many years of experience and certification in the field of project management can, in his experience, simply keep a better overview and prevent the project from getting out of control. For an experienced specialist, leadership, interdisciplinary coordination and risk management are a matter of course. Knowledge of financial planning is as important as technical understanding.
 
Methodology, standards and amendments

For Galdy, the third devastating mistake is a lack of methodology. Having a method means using certain predefined standards. Only those who have an initial idea of the level to be reached can successfully complete a project using these standards. Methods and standards therefore make up a large part of the training and certification of project managers. Galdy also mentions the common mistake of triggering too many processes at once. This is especially true in IT projects. Galdy sees flexibility as the solution here. Error source number five are changes to the scope of the project that are not sufficiently taken into account. If modifications are not recorded and incorporated at an early stage, budgets and schedules explode and become useless. As a recommendation, it is recommended that all changes be incorporated formally, preferably using a specific form that is signed by both the client and the manager. In this way, there is an overview of all changes. They can be traced and will not be forgotten.
 
Where do we stand?

In the following, Galdy summarizes the mistakes that result from the fact that the responsible project manager does not know what the status quo of the project looks like. This is important not only in IT projects, but also in other areas. In a construction project, it is also possible not to know what the current status is, especially during the study and tender phase or acceptance. If you don't know what's going on, it's impossible to plan your resources efficiently. Only regular briefings and the use of planning software can help here. Many project managers tend to simply ignore individual problems. The approach "Wait until the problem solves itself" is almost never successful. No project manager should rely on it. Such an error can cost horrendous amounts of money and can break the schedule. Then there is the project scope, which is often not clearly defined. Galdy cites this common mistake because many PMs - often simply out of enthusiasm and zest for action - throw themselves into a project without first having clearly defined the goal. This conceals numerous risks. A first step in every project (whether IT or another) must be the definition of the scope and goals. It is best to record everything in writing. Now the mistake of not recognizing relationships between different projects must also be mentioned. In IT, this is particularly serious because projects are directly interlinked without this being visible to the individual agents at first glance. As a PM, you have the task of including all current projects in the studies for the new project as early as the planning stage. Get help for this from the respective project participants. Flowcharts can also be helpful for the visualization of contexts.
 
The special pitfalls in PM

In the last section of his article, Galdy summarizes various mistakes he has encountered time and again. First he wants to point out that Murphy's Law is not valid. If you prepare your projects well and keep your IT up to date, you don't have to reckon with the Supergau. Risk management is definitely justified. A further mistake is not to engage in change management. New technologies have to be introduced gently and interactively, not with a sledgehammer. As a PM, one of the main tasks is often to make it clear to everyone that the changes are positive in nature. For Galdy, incomplete schedules are another important reason for project failure. As a project manager, you should always know exactly who has to do what when and which tasks follow which other tasks. A timetable is therefore indispensable. Not only does the PM have to know this schedule inside out - the employees also have to internalize it and always have access to it. Deadlines must be known in order to be adhered to.
With the deadlines we are then also at error number 13: Unrealistic deadlines often lead to failure. Every project manager has to question his team in order not to present the customer or the management with any schedules that cannot be kept to. Often the question arises: Do you want it faster and more expensive or a little later and cheaper? However, a decision has to be made so that the deadline can be met. The last mistake Galdy mentions is technical jargon. In IT, it is particularly easy for a technician to formulate a text that no normal mortal understands. As a PM, one of your tasks is to "translate" technical statements and prepare them for meetings with outsiders.
 
With all these mistakes, which will surely happen to many of you, Galdy does not want to depress his comrades-in-arms. The article, on the other hand, should encourage you to avoid these mistakes from now on - for better project management.

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