As a project manager, your job is complex and requires a multitude of skills. The more complex the project, the more staff, vendors, stakeholders, etc., the more things that can go wrong.
In fact, project management seems to operate squarely under the dictates of Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.
Budget overruns? Delays and setbacks? Feuding departments and unrealistic expectations? All to be expected.
However, there is one set of project management problems you might never have considered. In this particular case, ignorance is definitely not bliss. I’m talking about problems that you -- the project manager -- create for yourself.
Let’s take a closer look, and hopefully you will not fall into any of these tricky traps. Avoid these four areas and you'll ensure your project management success.
- Complacency: The project gets off to a brilliant start and everything is going exactly as planned. It’s amazing. And just how is this a problem, you might ask? Well it’s not -- unless you become complacent and start letting the little things slide. Successful project management requires constant vigilance.
- Rigidity: Of course, you have a detailed plan that includes a timeline for all actions and completion. It details your budget expenditures, and even takes into account many of the setbacks that might arise. The problem comes if you become so stuck on the plan that you cannot when it needs to be altered. Ensure success by staying flexible.
- Failure to lead: Of course project management includes high pressure situations and might go awry. But what you must never do is allow these issues to completely derail your team. Try not to pass your pressures along. Instead, set an unflappable, professional example. Seek to inspire and keep everyone working at their best.
- Know-it-all: No matter how strong your expertise in any area, there are others who can -- and should -- contribute. No matter how much authority you have, coming across as a know-it-all will always work to your disadvantage. Stay humble, encourage others, and always keep good, transparent lines of communication open.
Project managers, what experiences have you had with creating your own problems? How did you realize it, and what steps did you take to correct the problems? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments!