6 common project management mistakes — and how to avoid them

Projects seldom go as planned, leaving project managers with any number of small fires to put out. Here are the most common issues projects encounter and how to get things back on track.

Few projects complete seamlessly, as there are many issues that can arise along a project’s journey from ideation to sign-off. Dealing with problems calmly and efficiently is a key aspect of the project manager’s role, and some of the challenges you will face as a project manager can be handled relatively easily on the fly. Others, however, will have a larger impact on the success of your project.

Following are six common project management mistakes that plague project success, along with risk management strategies and advice for heading them off before they derail your project's progress.

Misaligned strategic objectives

Every project your company launches must tie back to companywide goals. When valuable time and resources are used to execute projects that do not align with your company’s vision, more important projects are placed at risk — and ultimately so too is the long-term success of your business.

To ensure this does not happen, each project should have a solid, approved business case that spells out specifically how it aligns with the goals set by your company’s executives. Each project goal must be documented to ensure the project is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant to company-wide goals, and timely (aka S.M.A.R.T). Identify all the goals and document them in the project charter to help create clarity about the project’s purpose and stick to its purpose by revisiting the charter and aligning team efforts around it.

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