Whether you invest in complex software or sketch out your project plan on the back of an envelope, there are always traps for the unwary.
Daniel Watson, the Managing Director of Rhodan Management Consultants, provides some tips for avoiding common project management failings.
- Ensure that all stakeholders are fully committed to the project. Unless everyone buys into a project it’s highly likely to fail. Therefore, fully document the project and make sure the key stakeholders sign off on the exact outcomes the project is designed to achieve. Make sure there are clear expectations about what will be delivered, by whom, and by when.
- Scope the project properly to avoid the project team running out of funds or other resources. The scoping process should also uncover the real problem the project has been established to resolve, and ensure the proposed action will resolve the issues at hand.
- Choose the right team leader and team members for the job. The wrong team can wreck a project. Often, a project team is put together by choosing whoever is available at the time, rather than looking for the right people with the right skill sets and project management expertise.
- Launch the project formally so that everybody understands its importance and then create a formal internal and external communications plan. The project team should meet frequently (daily, weekly, monthly) depending on the size, complexity, importance and duration of the project. Insufficient and inadequate or infrequent communication, both within the project team and with the clients, is a common source of project failure.
- Ensure that the project plan has built in milestones and key dates to verify that it’s on track, and make sure the team members celebrate each milestone completion.
- Have a risk management strategy prepared up front. Consider what factors may alter the course of the project and how the project team may need to respond. Also review the ongoing need for the project, so that it doesn’t just run on, especially when the need for the result may have passed.
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