Communication is key to project management. When a project manager is able to communicate effectively with their resources and clients, projects are successful. It is a project manager’s responsibility to know when to share or withhold information for the best interest of the project. If project management is suffering in your company, it likely stems from a communication error. Here are 5 project management mistakes that can harm your firm.
1: Sharing new project information before it is confirmed
It can be tempting as a project manager, when faced with a sudden change from the client, to immediately redirect resources. The project manager’s concern is the deadline. The faster they can get their team moving on new information, the less time lost. However, clients get cold feet about ideas or panic over timelines, but this does not always result in actual change. Depending on how many people are involved in a project, a proposed change may become a topic of back and forth discussion that results in no action, or a different action from the original proposal. Often the client simply needs to be reassured. If a project manager rushes to halt or change work on a project, this could actually result in lost time if the client ends up sticking to the original plan. While it is important to quickly adapt during the course of a project, it is important to have the approval of changes, and specific information before communicating with the team.
2: Assuming work is being done
During projects with longer deadlines, there are periods of passive project management: a proposal/schedule/work is with a client for approval, internal resources have longer deadlines to complete their work on the project, external resources are involved, etc. A big mistake is for a project manager to assume that work is being done. It is important not to nag or micro-manage clients and team members, but it is the project manager’s responsibility to keep the stages of a project moving and on track. If a deadline is missed, assuming that the person responsible is aware and simply behind can result in even greater time loss. Sometimes emails fail, or tasks fall off the radar.
3: Relying on memory
When an issue comes up in a project, it is important to flag the email/create a reminder/write it down. At the time it might seem easy to remember, but a project manager works on numerous projects at a time, with different team members and different issues. It might be inconvenient to stop in the middle of something to jot down a reminder, but often the information ends up forgotten or not passed along to the appropriate team member. Just because an issue seems memorable at the moment, it might not be the next day when faced with a new problem. Letting things slip through the cracks makes the firm look unprofessional and sloppy.
4: Not mediating between clients and resources
The project manager is the one who interfaces with the client so that team members have time to do their own work, and the client is able to get information on their project from a single source. A big mistake project managers occasionally make is not properly mediating information between the two sides. It might seem easy to simply forward a client request through to the team member who will be doing the actual work. However, depending on the situation or the client how an email or request is phrased could come across as aggressive or rude to the team member. The team member will likely feel defensive or have animosity toward the client. It is a project manager’s responsibility to take in client concerns, address them, and then discuss them with their team in a way that is constructive.
5: Not adapting to client needs
In project management, most firms have a system for how they take on a client, address their concerns, and complete the project. However, not all clients are the same. Yes, it is important to have an internal system that team members can follow, and yes it is easier for a project manager to have all project communication handled in a similar way, but it is a mistake not to adapt to the client. Some clients require more updates on progress to feel secure, while others don’t want to be bothered until the work is complete. Maybe Client A is flexible about deadlines and is informal in their emails, but Client B wants deadlines met exactly as laid out and prefers a very professional communication. It is important that a project manager reads their client and adapts their management slightly to better fit that client’s needs. Otherwise, a client may feel neglected or dissatisfied and pull their current, or future projects from the firm.
Rely on a project management firm
If you need project management help, gives us a call. From the start of a project to its completion and everything in between, we provide valuable project management services for scope, time, and cost. No matter the scale of your project, you will be assigned a dedicated project manager who will work with you to develop a comprehensive plan that ensures the final product is successful and meets your needs. Your project manager will also nurture every aspect of the production process, making certain your project stays on time and within budget.
Our project managers each have an editorial background and an in-depth knowledge of the entire production process, allowing each PM to see the “big picture” view of each project. We are skilled in using Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Excel, and Outlook. PMs also employ project management software to track and schedule project tasks.