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Common Project Management Errors

Project Managers are human and gather a lot of their knowledge through trial and error. The information in this section is intended to help you to reduce the cost of your Project Management education by sharing. The errors and remedies here are ones that have been experienced by myself, or my acquaintances. The avoidance strategies I describe here are mostly available from other areas of this web site but have been collected here and focus on avoiding a mistake.

The information and advice contained in this area is mainly directed at the project managers of software development projects. This information is not meant to replace the best practices espoused by the PMBOK
®, it's meant to be used to supplement it. The best practices in the PMBOK ® are at the heart of PMI's PMP® certification process, if you'd like to learn more about the process, visit our PMP® certification web pages. You can learn about the best practices by studying any PMP Course, or other PMP Exam preparation training product.

The 5 most common project management mistakes:
  1. Bad Planning  The project management plans aren't complete, don't deliver the projects goals and objectives, aren't a good fit for the project, or aren't a good fit for the project team. Any of these deficiencies will lead to project failure. For a more complete description of the error and strategies for avoiding the mistake, click on this link.
  2. Incorrect or Incomplete Requirements  Software requirements for the system are the equivalent of architectural drawings for a building or a bridge. If they don't accurately reflect the customers needs, or if they aren't easily deciphered and translated into a design, the resulting structure won't meet the customer's needs. To read more about this mistake, and how to avoid making it, click on this link.
  3. Poorly Handled Changes  All projects, including software development projects, need to change something over the course of their life cycle. The trick is to eliminate the causes of change that are not business or market related and then only implement those changes that are value add. To read more about this mistake, and how to avoid making it, click on this link.
  4. Surprises  Managing project risk is critical to delivery of any project. Many project managers start out well with a thorough review of the project plans, indentification of risks, and crafting mitigation strategies to address them, but fail to follow up by implementing mitigation strategies, or fail to identify and manage risks throughout the project. For more details about how project managers fail to make good risk managers and how to avoid this for your own projects, click this link.
  5. Failure to Communicate  Communication is 90% of the project managers job and yet many project managers feel that it isn't as high a priority as change management, risk management, or the other areas of project management activity. Project Managers must manage customer expectations by constantly keeping their customers informed. Informing the team and stakeholders is also important. Communication mistakes don't begin and end with the Communications Plan (although failure to plan these activities will pretty well guarantee failure). Project managers also fail to keep pace with changes in the project or the project team. To read more about this mistake, and how to avoid making it, click on this link.