Today I am pleased to introduce a guest post by Aileen Galsim, who works for Comss, who offer Lean software for Lean Businesses. She writes about project management mistakes and how to avoid them to be successful.
If your business has just been awarded a project that you’ve worked hard to obtain, congratulations! It’s a great feeling to be selected over your competitors, and it can be a big step forward for your business.
But don’t go celebrating just yet. Before you can call this project a success, you actually have to complete it. And to do that, you need to make sure you avoid major mistakes that can cause a would-be successful project to become a failure. Here are five deadly sins of project management, and the remedies that will allow you to avoid them:
1. Poor Planning (Or Lack Thereof)
Quite simply, this is the biggest and most avoidable of all the deadly property management mistakes. It’s the biggest because if you do not plan adequately, the project has almost no chance of succeeding at the highest level. And in a lot of ways it’s the most avoidable because, well, you often have the opportunity to plan ahead without having to deal with the minute-by-minute issues that a project might throw at you when you are in the midst of it. The best way to deal with this mistake is to not make it. Plan ahead… then plan some more. You obviously need to be adaptable to issues that come up during the project, but if you don’t a have both a template to adapt from and an overall strategy, you will be lost.
2. Unrealistic Timelines
Whether you are bidding on a project for a new customer or trying to keep a current client happy, it is often tempting to provide the shortest timeline imaginable. However, committing to timelines that you cannot keep will do your company a lot more harm than good in the long run. Will saying you can complete a project in a shorter timeline than your competitors get you new work? Maybe. But once you fail to meet the deadline on your first project, it will be significantly harder to get the next one. A solution to this is to spend time getting to know the process before committing to a timeframe You can also use project management software to come up with a realistic estimate.
As the boss, you can sometimes feel like if you don’t do something, it won’t be done right. But in reality, this attitude is counterproductive. Spend more time working on the overall direction of the business as opposed to babysitting each project yourself. That’s not to say that you shouldn't establish appropriate ways to assess the project at different stages, but in general your focus should be on the big picture.
4. Using the Wrong Project Manager
This goes hand-in-hand with number three. Since you are not going to micromanage the project, you’d better make sure you assign a project manager with the appropriate skillset to make the right management decisions on a day-to-day basis. Having a project manager you trust will allow you to focus on other things, and will ensure that the project continues to move forward efficiently and effectively.
5. Over-extending Your Business
This is a major sin that many businesses realize but ignore. Over-extension can apply both to taking on too many projects at once, and to committing to a project that is too big for your current abilities. As a business owner, it is often very difficult to turn down work because you don’t think you can handle it. But just like with offering a timeline that’s too optimistic, if you are unrealistic about your business’s capabilities, the costs will far outweigh the benefits.
Aileen Galsim is a business blogger from Comss. Comss is a software company with a difference – their products are designed by business people to be used by business people. They offer Lean software applications for construction, distribution, retail and project-driven businesses.