by Marian Woods

Common PM blunders

PM Pointers

pm mistakes.jpg
Some organisations’ projects have been unduly criticised for being poorly planned and having unrealistic cost and time projections. The reasons behind these problems or mistakes are often attributed to a lack of communication through the different levels within the project team. However, communication barriers are in fact only one of many possible mistakes a project team can make.

I have gone back to basics to highlight the most common mistakes in project management:


Matching resources to the wrong projects
The matching up of resources to projects is one of the most important elements within project management and is a critical stage for success. The matching process should ensure the resources skills and/or abilities are able to reach the goals and expectations set.

Project manager lacks the necessary experience required

Controlling a project is made more difficult if the project manager doesn't have the experience to put behind the project. Experience in running project status meetings, managing risk and dealing with the project stakeholders is very important for the successful development and execution of a project.

Project scope isn't managed well

It has been noted that at times there tends to be no set procedure in place to manage a change in scope. A project manager should have a process in place if a change in scope is being proposed. This process should follow a set criteria, for example: the individual requesting a change in scope needs to give details of the changes proposed. From there the project manager needs to examine the impact this change in scope will have on the budget and time constraints before giving his backing (or not) to this change.


Poor scheduling

A schedule is there for a reason and it is not to ensure a project doesn't overrun and have a knock-on effect on subsequent projects. However, this situation can arise if the project manager sets unrealistic time schedules against projects. To avoid this domino-effect outcome a project manager needs to set a time schedule that will ensure there is enough time for the project to reach its defined goals whilst ensuring quality.

I am the boss

It is not advisable for a project manager to go on a power trip and discourage his project team from making any suggestions. Team members are probably the most aware of impending challenges or issues with a project through their day-to-day, hands-on involvement. By practicing the notion of "I am the boss" the project manager could ultimately end up with the project failing.


It is very important to start as you mean to have enough resources, time and budget assigned to a project before it gets off the ground. You need to be realistic in your thinking and ensure you are not underestimating your needs from the beginning.

Overlooking smaller details

At times the smaller details within projects can be overlooked and focus is put solely on the bigger ones. These smaller details could cost you and should be as important as the bigger ones to the project manager.

Ignoring problems

Ignoring problems will only make them worse, so it is advisable to make room for these problems and develop a practical solution. It's very easy to put off dealing with difficult issues but as project managers we should tackle important problems head-on.


If you don't know something it is important that you ask for help. When you are project manager for an expensive project you need to put your ego to one side and call on others. You are not expected to know every detail about everything, so don't be afraid to stop and ask for help. Overconfidence could severely damage the project as well as your reputation.

Being a yes man or woman

You don't always have to say yes, saying no when it is justified is allowed and acceptable. A project manager and team members need to know when enough is enough and say no! Nobody can be expected to do everything they are asked. Work hard and concentrate on what you're able to do.

Not implementing and following a process

Having a process in place will give you structure and organisation in order decrease the chances of projects running into risk. Being aware of what needs to be done and in what order will ensure the project is well executed.

Not dealing with mistakes

Projects go wrong and sometimes fail; this may be your fault, however, it is important as a project manager to not dwell on the past and have it affect your current projects. You need to forgive yourself, learn from mistakes and ensure they won't happen to subsequent projects.

Original source:
Marian Woods works for Cora Systems. Established in 1999, with over 13 years of experience in Project Management Software, Cora Systems have developed a highly functional, Online and Enterprise Program and Project Management Software Solution, ProjectVision.
comments powered by Disqus

This edition

Issue 29


TPM_Editor Old boy brings new life to Joburg school buildings using Corobrik’s quality face bricks 3 months - reply - retweet - favorite

TPM_Editor Global pump manufacturer obtains level 1 B-BBEE certification 7 months - reply - retweet - favorite

TPM_Editor IDT works on Tshwane inner city heritage project for Public Works 7 months - reply - retweet - favorite