Project Management Works - A Project Manager's Blog

The 5 mistakes project managers are making every day

Some project managers just can’t see where they are going wrong. They’ve got their qualifications, worked on a project plan, and are doing their best to lead and inspire their team. But for some reason, it’s just not working.

For some of these project managers it really is just some simple, everyday mistakes that are causing their project to underperform. Ask yourself if you are making any of these easy to miss mistakes to help improve your project efficiency.

1.       You aren’t there

Undeniably project managers have a lot on their plate, and this can lead to a lack of time to really engage with the project team. However, failing to check in on a day to day basis can lead to misunderstandings and poor communication, which can spell disaster for the project in the long run. You can’t rely on your project management software to tell you everything you need to know, and a short pow wow every day is all that is needed to stay in touch.

2.       You’re not adding things to your to-do list

It can be easy to think that you’re doing yourself and your team a favour by not cluttering your project task list with lots of ideas and tasks that aren’t quite ready to go. However, relying on the brain to contain all this information (or on those scraps of paper on your desk) is never going to work. As soon as you think of a task or idea, add it somewhere for later on. You can create a ‘parking’ space for your task list, where you keep these ideas and items for review later on.

3.       You don’t say no enough

Nothing is more disruptive than someone coming into your carefully scheduled work time and demanding you drop everything to help with an important task. Whilst you want to be helpful and viewed in a good light by management, saying yes to everything will only compromise your workload. Remember, their crisis is not yours, and if you are going to take it on, it will need to fit into your own schedule without affecting your project.

4.       You don’t ask for help

Of course you’re the superhero project manager who can do anything, but even Iron Man needs a helping hand from time to time. Asking for help from clients, co-workers and others is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s a logical and intelligent way to use your human resources. Get used to saying yes when people offer to help, as this will help you become a more effective delegator in the long run.

5.       You don’t take things off the task list

If your task list or to-do list seems mammoth, chances are you are not managing it effectively. Make sure you know what a ‘finished’ signal will be, and when it’s time to close the book on a task or activity. Taking things off the task list is as important as adding them on, so check what’s been done and keep the list clean and up to date to make it easier to manage.