Six Project Management Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

project planning

Six Project Management Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Janine Ordman | Mar, 28 2018

Project management lends a structured, strategic approach to task completion and draws on relevant staff knowledge, skills, and appropriate tools in the endeavor to reach project planning and goals successfully. Although, it is a rare phenomenon to reach project deadlines on time and in exactly the way we planned. Why? Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common project management pitfalls.

Project Management Pitfalls

1. An ill-conceived project plan – A project plan serves as a roadmap, allowing teams to have a clear view of a project’s tasks, objectives, accountability, responsibility, communication activities, and deadlines. Realistic project outcomes are contingent on the input and buy-in of all key stakeholders.

2. Poor and insufficient communication – Relevant and frequent (yet as brief as possible) communication with project stakeholders via meetings, project progress reports, or project management software, assists project managers in tracking progress and flagging potential issues that may hinder it. Effective communication instills confidence in continued project success.

3. Poor time-management & having no buffers in place – Planning fallacy – the tendency to make optimistic predictions about how long a given task will take – is a cognitive bias that not even the most experienced project manager can escape; thus, it is important to incorporate time buffers into a project plan based on industry best practice to allow room for the unexpected.

4. Waiting too long to deal with red flags – Take action as soon as an issue that could stand in the way of reaching a project objective comes to light; a pre-emptive approach could save time, money, and other resources later on.

5. Unwillingness to give or receive critique – Project managers are not all-knowing, no matter how much experience they may have; and the same can be said for team members. Being open to a fresh perspective or updated methods may improve project outcomes and lead to future successes.

6. Ineffective use of project planning tools – Effective project planning tools allow teams to access information remotely, assign tasks, keep track of progress, and share information in one place (e.g., sites such as Trello or Basecamp). Some companies even specialize in creating custom project management software to suit the needs of a specific organization. In either case, it is in the best interest of project teams to be well-versed in the functionality of these tools to ensure that their use does not defeat the purpose of efficiency.

Course Recommendation

This list is by no means comprehensive, as anyone who has ever attempted to traverse the minefield of a project plan could attest. If you’re new in your project management role or would like to sharpen your skills, take a look at the following Coggno courses:

Course 1: Project Management: The Beginning
Course 2: Project Management: Planning
Course 3: Project Quality Management
Course 4: Project Management for Managers
Course 5: Project Management Learning Track
Course 6: Project Risk Management Course
Course 7: Delegation for Project Management Course
Course 8: Lean Project Management
Course 9: Project Management: Troubleshooting
Course 10: Finance For Project Managers
Course 11: Learn MS Project – Become A PRO! 5-course Bundle

*Discounts applicable: 20% OFF, valid thru April 12th, 2018!


“Remember the two benefits of failure. First, if you do fail, you learn what doesn’t work; and second, the failure gives you the opportunity to try a new approach.”

– Roger Von Oech


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