Today?s thoughts on mistakes that project managers make come to us from Pam Warren. Since overcoming life-changing injuries from the Paddington Train Crash of 1999, Pam has become a master of re-invention and a catalyst for change not just in her own life but in the lives and work of others. Building on her skills as a businesswoman and Independent Financial Advisor, she retrained as a Prince 2 Practitioner project manager. She was the lead campaigner in securing a safer rail network for Britain and has since worked with a number of businesses and charities to help them achieve their goals and aspirations efficiently and effectively.
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Most Common Mistakes Project Managers Make
If you?re new to project management or working on a project more complex than you?re used to then mistakes are likely. Some project managers simply fall into a bad routine and keep their bad habits throughout their careers. Don?t make the same mistakes. Below are some common mistakes that project managers often make and how you can avoid making them yourself.
Written Contact versus Face-to-face
Raise your hands all of you project managers who usually email their client rather than paying them a visit. This is a common mistake hundreds of project managers make every day. Email is fantastic, it allows for quick and easy transfer of data and information but when you?re working on a large project with a client who is important to you then you need to schedule regular meetings. Emailing over complex plans or dossiers without discussing them spells disaster. Misunderstandings and disagreements about the project are highly likely without enough face-to-face contact.
Afraid to say No
This is a confidence issue. Often project managers will face pressure to say ?yes? when put on the spot, even if the request is completely unmanageable. Being honest is essential to the success of a project so you need to be able to say no. Rather than saying yes to things you can?t possibly manage, discuss options and work out how you can incorporate the new requirements into the project. Give yourself time by saying you need to discuss the matter with the team and when it really is a no, just say so. Always offer alternatives so the client isn?t dissatisfied.
Speaking too much
A large amount of the work you take on as a project manager is reconciliation, resolution and coordinating the actions of others. You oversee a huge amount of different types of work and spend a lot of time handing out orders, setting deadlines and telling people what they have to do. A good project manager will go beyond this. They will connect with their individual team members and listen to their points of view. Speaking without listening will not motivate your team and garnering the opinions of others, often experts in their fields, can improve the end product significantly.
Failing to get feedback
Naturally no one wants to know when they?ve done something wrong, it?s a sinking feeling which nobody enjoys but in business it is essential. You are working for your client so if they don?t like what you?ve done you have to appreciate and take on board their feedback. Not asking for feedback will impact negatively on the project. Feedback can be positive and negative and if you take each in your stride the project will be more likely to meet the needs of the client.
Becoming a successful project manager can take time. You will soon develop your own style and way of managing your teams and projects. Keeping these common mistakes in mind should ensure you think before you act and avoid getting into unnecessary awkward situations.