The 5 mistakes first-time project managers make

The 5 mistakes first-time project managers make

Even the most experienced professionals make mistakes from time to time. It's only natural. But when it comes to project management, there are so many plates your team leaders need to keep spinning that it's easy for them to make potentially critical errors that knock an entire effort off course.

The good news is that, for many of these managers, there are some common characteristics that their missteps may share, and that allows you as an organisation to course-correct before they're even a real problem. The following are some of the most likely mistakes a first-time project manager will encounter, and some suggestions to avoid them:

1) Scope creep

If you aren't careful, the size of a project — and therefore the organisational bandwidth needed to complete it — can soon get out of hand. It's up to managers to ensure that all tasks and deliverables match up with the aims of the project, its budget and hoped-for timeline. Staying on a narrowly focused task will be critical, and that starts at the top.

Start by narrowly defining what you want to accomplish.Start by narrowly defining what you want to accomplish.

2) Failure to communicate

As you can imagine, there are a lot of reasons poor communication can lead to potentially disastrous complications for a project. According to Nutcache, communication breakdowns not only lead to people having to do work over again, but also lead to finger-pointing and a blame game you would be better off avoiding.

3) Unclear goals and metrics

One of the big reasons the majority of failed projects go off the rails, perhaps more than anything else, is that managers don't clearly outline what the end goal is and how it will be tracked, according to LiquidPlanner. Without absolute clarity, some team members may be absolutely on the right course, and others are way off — but both think they're doing it right. 

4) Not building relationships among the team

One of the most important aspects of strong management skills is the ability to not only personally connect with team members, but make sure those workers connect with each other as well. Especially if they haven't worked together before, you need to build up that sense of camaraderie and cooperation.

5) Not delegating to the right team member

While you may have a great team, you should also keep in mind that even one troublesome worker can throw off your entire project. Many project managers report spending most of their time just trying to keep these people on the right course. As such, the Project Management Institute notes that if you are not proactive in dealing with any "slacker" behaviour, it can negatively affect everyone else, and the project as a whole.

To get more out of your managers — whether it's their first time overseeing a project or they've been with you for decades — it's important to make sure they have the skills they need to deliver on time and under budget again and again. The Project Management Course from ICML will help them do just that, and can be highly specified to your exact organisational needs. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help.


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