Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon
Adobe PDF icon

Six Common Mistakes that Plague IT Projects

~ By Ty Kiisel

Oops warning sign over white background

As an "accidental" project manager, I used to think the challenges I faced and the mistakes I made were the result of my background (or lack of same). I have come to the conclusion that regardless of your level of project management training, there are some pretty common mistakes made by a lot of project managers. It doesn't really matter whether you espouse Waterfall or Agile, if you make these mistakes, your project will likely fail:

  1. The project manager sets unrealistic deadlines for the team: Although there might be some projects that require a hard deadline, most projects don't. Setting arbitrary deadlines for the team is bad for morale, causes a lot of overtime and turns your team into "box-checkers" rather than creative problem solvers. Creative and flexible planning can remove the stresses of unrealistic deadlines.
  2. Arbitrary scope changes are allowed to get out of control: Although most of us would agree that you can't always stop scope change, you can make stakeholders aware of what scope changes cost. Sometimes scope changes can turn a project into something entirely different than what was intended when it began. Changes in schedule, cost and even the quality of the finished project can add up real fast.
  3. Risk is not managed: Ignoring risk doesn't make it go away. Acknowledging risk and addressing it early will at least minimise expensive issues later. Risk, and efforts to mitigate risk, should be identified before the project is even started.
  4. The team struggles with poor communication and collaboration: With all the technology available today, there is almost no excuse for poor project team communication. The right project management software makes collaboration easier, and online project management software makes it possible for teams spread throughout the world to communicate and collaborate.
  5. Stakeholders don't engage in the project: Keeping stakeholders informed of project status is only a start. The real challenge involves helping them see the value of becoming project advocates. An engaged stakeholder should be able to help navigate the project through executive approvals and provide a valuable sounding board for ideas.
  6. Project teams are working with undefined goals and objectives: To maximise the value of every project, each project should be tied to some kind of strategic objective. Once identified, it's critical that everyone know the strategic value of the projects they are working on. Most people want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Most IT projects lead to some sort of business value, it's always been a puzzle to me why so many organisations neglect to share their vision with the workforce.

I agree that all IT projects are not created equal. However, overcoming these six common mistakes will help you successfully complete more projects and provide your organisation with the business value intended.


As an "accidental" project manager and marketing veteran with over 25 years of experience, Ty Kiisel makes the concepts and best practices of project manager software accessible to both the expert and novice project professional by weaving personal experiences, historical references and other anecdotes into daily discussions around effective leadership approaches that maximise the effectiveness of project teams.


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
1500
Is ice cream hot or cold?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

My Story: Working Smarter; Not Harder

Woman thinking with a light bulb drawn on a blackboard

When you realise that you have the power to change your beliefs and remove a limiting factor that has been constraining you, you have an AHA! moment.

Four Steps to Project Time Management

Man pointing at an alarm clock

The four steps outlined in this article will help you better define and measure the activities that make up your project timeline.

Better Risk Management With PRINCE2

Red flowchart showing risk element

PRINCE2 has always had a solid, but simple way of dealing with risk. With the latest version a number of excellent ideas and concepts have been introduced.

My Budget is 10% Over, Now What?

10 percent red wood sign with golden background

Suffering a budget overrun? Here's three key things you can do mid-stream on a project to help get the budget back in line with the original plan.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Samara Grantham commented on…
12 Tips for Being a Good Manager
- Thu 1 December 2:46pm

Adolfina commented on…
Introduction to Project Management
- Mon 21 November 9:52am

Edward Brown commented on…
Project Status Reports Everyone Can Understand
- Wed 16 November 3:38pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Re: Prioritising Change Requests https://t.co/hZ2PBgxtLN #projectsmart #pmot about 6 hours ago

General Project Management • Re: Project Resource Challenges https://t.co/ITT5p6Pnje #projectsmart #pmot about 6 hours ago

General Project Management • Re: Project Resource Challenges https://t.co/P5EYYQRLNE #projectsmart #pmot about 1 day ago