6 Biggest Mistakes in Project Management
Not Setting Expectations
Different stakeholders often have different expectations for a project. It is critical to first understand what communications your sales team has had with the client to learn the client's requirements first-hand, since it is likely you are coming in late to the conversation. You also need to have a detailed dialog with the client in about what the project is to achieve and what your requirements are in terms of collaboration, support, training, etc. Whatever was promised by sales, you have to roll up your sleeves and make it happen.
Lastly, you need to set expectations clearly with all stakeholders within your company as well (for example, at Affinity Express the stakeholders are the new client implementation, production, IT and finance teams).
We had a situation a couple of years ago about using a design practice within the Affinity Express Service Bureau, which one of our workflow systems. The client asked and sales responded it was okay without realizing that this was actually not allowed in the system. Collectively, we should have addressed this request properly at the beginning. Now, we always make sure our sales team has up-to-date feature lists along with any known limitations. Plus, we have plenty of communication across teams to ensure we're all on the same page.
Not Getting Buy-in from Key Stakeholders
This is probably the biggest mistake you can make as a project manager. As a catalyst, you have to get different parts of the organization together and move them toward a common goal. Most often, a project is pushed through by one person or a few people. Yet, you have to convince everyone involved of the value—specific to each—to get them vested in the outcomes. Without that, it's almost impossible to secure the support you need to make the project a success.