It happened. You received the dreaded phone call, email or meeting request from your client. Your instinct tells you what your mind doesn’t want to acknowledge: the project is canceled.
Sometimes projects are canceled for reasons that have nothing to do with you or your team – budget cuts, change of business needs, unexpected business changes, you know the drill – but when multiple projects are cut or result in failure, it’s time to review your project methods and team protocols.
Read on to learn the six major mistakes that may doom your tech projects:
1. You overpromise
The goal of any project is to meet client expectations and complete the task on time. Too often the eagerness to please gets in the way of creating an efficient, realistic project plan with a clear end date estimation.
On the surface, a strict project plan with non-negotiable dates and mapped out projection goals appears ideal to stay on track. But building a plan without flexibility and buffer room puts unrealistic pressure on your team, forcing them to work quickly, not efficiently.
2. You underestimate
It goes without saying that software projects — large or small — are complicated. Anticipating this complexity is fundamental to completing the project on time and within its budget, all going above and beyond to meet client expectations.
Underestimating the amount of work needed to carry out the project sets the client and your team up for disaster. Be upfront with your estimation to meet the project needs. Both the stakeholders and your team will thank you.
3. You don’t communicate
“Wait, what?” or “I didn’t know we needed to do that,” are the two comments no project manager wants to hear. Lack of communication causes unnecessary roadblocks as employees accidentally double another’s work or miss crucial steps in the project plan. Establish clear communication among the project team and organization’s stakeholders right away to create an open exchange of ideas, feedback and collaboration.
4. You ignore project health
Tracking a project’s health is a key indicator of project success. It helps project managers create accurate stakeholder reports and update the project timeline to reflect the current status accurately. This data also indicates possible areas of improvement.
Intermittently tracking project health or forgoing it all together means missing out on crucial information on project status. Without it, you’re at risk for being doomed.
5. You lose perspective
Like any job, there are bound to be hiccups. Don’t lose perspective. Your team is human; they will have bad days or lose focus, causing avoidable mistakes. Keep your eye on the prize and manage small mistakes to prevent them from becoming significant failures to stay on track.
6. You neglect risk
Everyone is responsible for risk management, but forgetting add risk management protocols puts your project in danger. Hackers today are eager to find flaws in the code to exploit confidential information, so take the proper steps to protect your work. Add risk management to your initial project plan and create risk reviews to check the protocols are in place.
Setting yourself up for success
Whether you are managing a small testing project or a major systems integration, a major mistake puts your project one step closer to failure. Mitigating the damage these mistakes cause protects your project, your team’s efforts and your organization’s reputation. Be aware of these pitfalls and leave the days of doomed projects behind.