Nobody’s perfect and project managers are a prime example of that. Even though nobody wants to make mistakes in the first place it happens. However, mistakes can be a great learning experience. In this post I take a look at some of the most common mistakes project managers make even though they may not be consciously aware they are making them. I have made these mistakes during my early career in software development. I hope this post will help you avoid them.
Managers have dozens of things going on at once and sometimes forget to provide feedback because things are running fine with no issue. Feedback is important because if something is amiss with someone they will never know what they are doing wrong if they are not corrected. Make sure that you put aside some time for getting feedback from your employees or group members.
Not taking a hands-on approach
Teams need to understand specifics of a project and if a project manager doesn’t stay in touch very often they can get ignored. This can lead to projects being completed with the wrong specifics and upset clients. Micromanaging is not good however, being too hands-off is just as bad. Managers need to find the perfect balance in communicating with their teams. My advice is simple. Give your team maximum flexibility but at the same time introduce good control mechanisms to make sure the project progresses as intended.
Not assigning the right people
Managers need to find the right people for the job. During resource allocation for a project most managers try to find the right fit. However, project managers often select resources based on availability instead of skill. Whenever possible assign those to teams based on experience and skill. Security engineers may not make the best software engineers and vice versa.
No repeatable process
Selecting the correct methodology is key to the success of any project. Whether it is agile, waterfall, etc. projects run the risk of tasks falling through because they have to be re-worked leading to schedule slips and other delays. All projects should follow a certain methodology in order to be successful so they can follow a set process that has proven successful and can be repeatable for the next project.
No time spent with your team
While a team may be filled with capable and competent individuals they still need guidance from management. It is easy to become deeply involved in management tasks and forget to schedule regular time to meet with the team however they should come first. To avoid this mistake simply block out chunks of time to spend with the team weekly to discuss plans, schedules, etc.
Lack of defined goals
During the time meeting with the team management needs to define clear goals for each project. A team cannot be productive if they don’t have clearly defined goals they are working towards or what the work they do means to the company and clients. Team members also cannot prioritize their daily workload in order to meet certain goals and milestones if they don’t have any. To be short: don’t expect your developers to be good at time management. It’s your responsibility to provide clear goals and guidance.
No delegation of duties
While some managers may abuse the power of delegation others don’t use it often enough. Managers who hold onto tasks too tightly will find themselves overworked and have big problems later on. Managers need to learn to trust and let go of certain tasks that members of their team can do. Unless tasks are delegated, a project manager will begin to lose their focus on the bigger picture that they’re responsible for. My advice is if possible hire an assistant to whom you can delegate less important tasks. Remember, your goal is not to do everything by your own but to achieve the goals.