by Aaron Beashel, Head of Marketing at Qwilr
Working in any project-based industry, you’ll quickly realize that there are so many mismanaged projects. Even with project management software, a well-trained team, and the best of intentions, it’s not uncommon to see projects take much longer than planned and blowing the budget – sometimes by a lot.
It’s true, no two projects are exactly the same, but the issues that can affect and potentially jeopardize even the best-laid plans are all quite similar. Even good project managers make mistakes when it comes to a big complex project or when they’re bombarded with change requests.
Whether it’s a fatal flaw in the proposal stage, or a project management error, there is definitely a way for you to improve your entire process – and we’ve got some tips for you along the way!
Don’t Assume Deadlines Are Enforced.
Whether you’re client-facing or not, don’t ever assume that the project deadlines set in your proposal will be enforced by some unseen force. Clients typically won’t mention deadlines, but they’ll remember that you missed them. Be prepared to deliver exactly what you say you’re going to deliver.
No One Set Goals At Kickoff.
It’s absolutely crucial for the entire team to understand the different roles and responsibilities and how those play into deliverables right from the beginning. This is why it’s a good idea to hold a project kickoff meeting that includes all the different stakeholders involved.
These meetings help define and set the expectations going forward, ultimately making the team more self-dependent and organized. It helps instill a high level of accountability and ownership with the many different moving pieces of a project.
Changes Are Getting Out Of Hand.
Scope creep is everywhere in client facing roles and it’s no different with project management. It’s difficult to manage because it creeps up slowly and before you know it, your project looks entirely different. Additional requests, added features, swift left turns strain resources and affect the focus of the end goal. Without proper checks and balances, this can severely hamper your project’s success. However, you can diffuse scope creep by utilizing strong project management and ownership over the end-product.
Lack of Prioritization of Tasks.
It’s not uncommon to have multiple, concurrent projects going on both internally and externally. Project management requires management of people as well- all too often, staff will keep their heads down on a project that is a lower priority while something that is higher visibility begins to slip off the rails. It’s the job of the project manager to let team members know what tasks should take priority and when those priorities have changed. When you clearly communicate priorities, it saves a lot of hassle down the road.
Lack of Clear Objectives and Measures of Success.
Many times, a project has failed and it hasn’t been due to poor planning or a lack of appropriate skills. Often, it fails because it lacks a clear objective and any measures of how to define success and failure.
Defining the objective of a project can be difficult. Break it down into the DUMB acronym: doable, understandable, manageable, and beneficial. Asking your client to help you define key success performance metrics for the project will allow you an opportunity to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
As you become a more confident project manager, both your proposals and your project management skills will become refined so you can avoid these issues simply by being vigilant, utilizing good planning and clear communication with your team. Don’t ever assume that these problems won’t impact your project. Speaking to project managers from all over the world, evidence suggests that at least one or two of these flaws will affect most projects!
Aaron Beashel is Head of Marketing at Qwilr and has developed a wealth of knowledge and passion bordering on obsession. He started by co-founding a SaaS startup and has then gone on to lead marketing teams at some of the fastest-growing B2B SaaS companies in the world.