When someone asks me to sum my project management up in one phrase, I say- “It’s a lot of juggling.” Between ensuring everyone on the team knows what they need to do, and they are happy. To making sure deliverables are met on time, and your projects are up to par.
It’s a stressful gig.
The worst part about it is that there is a lot of room for error. Which is why I would say this is one of the most stressful positions to be in command of, especially when you consider the fact that almost 70% of projects fail.
But don’t worry, because through this article we are going to go through some of the biggest pitfalls that you face as a project manager, and teach you exactly how to overcome each obstacle.
So, turn your timers off, get your reading glasses out and let’s get into it.
Communication Is Your Most Important Asset
There is nothing worse in the business world than miscommunication. Not only can it lead to costly mistakes, but it could also result in deliverables being missed. It’s the scary reason why over 57 percent of all projects fail.
At the end of the day, “team communication” is your bread and butter, and it is one of the of the most critical aspects of ensuring everyone is content and knows what they need to do.
Okay enough chatter, how do I improve the communication with my team?
The first and most important thing is choosing the right channel for team communication. Emails may work, but how many times do you get an unexpected surprise due to someone missing an email, or sending a reply to the wrong recipient?
The good news is there are free options to explore.
From the secure communication platform Slack to the intuitive design of Zendesk, there are plenty of options out there.
It is also important to schedule regular meetings with your team members to make sure that they are right both personally, and on the business level.
This also leads us to the next point; you never want to micromanage your team.
Trust Your Team Members – Don’t Micromanage (No One Enjoys It)
Micromanaging your employees may potentially create unnecessary strain on both parties. When someone feels like their every move is being controlled, company morale usually takes a nosedive into the bottomless pit of “it’s time to get a new job” talk.
So, if you want to spike stress levels, and drastically cut down workplace productivity – micromanaging is the way to go.
If You continuously nag about deliverables that aren’t due for the next two months and complain about productivity, you are micromanaging.
It’s natural to want to ensure your team members know what they need to do, and get it done on time, but there are alternative ways to handle this.
One of the biggest reasons project managers micromanage is the fear of failure. Which is why you want to make the goals you are working towards universal to all of your employees.
That means including them in your goal settings, so they can get a better understanding of what you are working towards, and what needs to be done to get there.
Clear expectations and open communication will help ease the weight off of your shoulders while giving your employees room to do what needs to be done.
When setting goals for your employees, why not give them some motivation to achieve what you need? Which leads us to our next project management pitfall.
Forgetting To Reward Your Employees For Their Hard Work Is A Big Pitfall For All Businesses
Customers are your number one asset – that’s a lie. Your employees are. Think about it.
Not only do they help manage your day to day customer interactions, but they also serve as the forefront of your business.
They do this by, quenching the anger of disgruntled customers, and ensuring your operations are running smoothly.
Why not reward them now and then for their hard work?
Yeah, sure – rewarding each staff member in your company may cost a fortune. But what about the perks?
In a recent study, it was revealed that employee recognition had a shocking impact on team productivity, which consequently affected sales, almost 50% higher profit yield at the end of the day.
Don’t believe me? Check out this article…
Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying you need to send each guy and gal out to some fancy exotic destination. But something as simple as a kind gesture, or small gifts like personalized mouse mats work perfectly fine.
The point is to show your team that you know they are working hard, and you appreciate it.
Scope Creep – Oh Boy Not Again
When I hear scope creep, my body naturally cringes, and my mind screams “no”. It is undoubtedly one of the most frustrating problems that project managers can face.
Essentially, scope creep is when there is a lack of communication between shareholders and project managers. Specific, critical information is only explained later on, which impacts the entire project.
And it can be a nightmare. Not only for the budget, but also the project timeline, and overall productivity.
The easiest way to avoid scope creep is to make sure when projects get assigned; you have a good talk with your shareholders to ensure they have covered all the basics. Make sure they understand exactly how much is in the budget, and exactly how long the project will take.
Most importantly of all, make sure they have given you all the information that you need to proceed with the project.
Keeping these pitfalls in mind, you should be good to lead your team to success!