10 Common Mistakes That Young or Inexperienced Project Managers Make – Mistake 10

10 Common Mistakes That Young or Inexperienced Project Managers Make – Mistake 10

Refusing to Ask for Help

One of the most common mistakes made by inexperienced project managers is the belief that asking for help will make them seem incompetent in the eyes of their peers and management. Nothing could be further from the truth. Good project managers know their limitations and always see out help at the earliest possible time.

Refusing to seek out help can result in schedule slippages, and cost overruns. If the project manager delays too long in seeking help, the number of options to correct the problem can diminish. Sponsors should encourage project managers to ask for help at the earliest possible time, but not to expect the sponsor to be the dumping ground for all problems that the project manager cannot resolve. Remember the story of the Titanic the “unsinkable” ship. How many more would have survived if the Captain called for help the minute they struck the iceberg?

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10 Common Mistakes That Young or Inexperienced Project Managers Make – Mistake 9

10 Common Mistakes That Young or Inexperienced Project Managers Make – Mistake 9

Not Fully Understanding Requirements

The more inexperienced the project manager, the greater the likelihood the project manager will use his/her interpretation of the requirements rather than consulting with the subject matter experts. This can lead to misdirection in the technical approach and expensive changes in the later stages of the project.

There are underlying issues that can create this problem, the most prevalent one being the timing of when to bring the project manager on board. The 6th edition of the PMBOK® Guide discusses understanding stakeholder requirements. Oftentimes, it is not the project manager that directly interfaces with the stakeholders initially but more so sales and marketing personnel that may be required to prepare a proposal as part of competitive bidding. The project manager then inherits the requirements and may not be fully aware of the assumptions that went into the preparation of the proposal. The sooner a project manager can become involved in a project the better. When they understand what success is supposed to look like they will make it happen.

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10 Common Mistakes That Young or Inexperienced Project Managers Make – Mistake 8

10 Common Mistakes That Young or Inexperienced Project Managers Make – Mistake 8

Failing to Understand What Stakeholders and Sponsors Want to Hear

One of the requirements to pass the PMP® exam is an understanding of Cost Management and more specifically, the formulas attributed to earned value measurement. Although there is obviously merit in this, earned value measurement is only part of what stakeholders and sponsors want to hear. It is imperative that, as part of stakeholder management, project managers interview the stakeholders to learn what information they deem as important.

Every stakeholder may want a different set of tracking metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs). The project manager may then find it necessary to develop a different performance dashboard for each stakeholder. This could incur significant costs if not planned for in the budget.

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10 Common Mistakes That Young or Inexperienced Project Managers Make – Mistake 7

10 Common Mistakes That Young or Inexperienced Project Managers Make – Mistake 7

Gold-plating the Deliverables

Most project managers want to placate the customer. However, there are limits as to how far the project manager should go. Gold-plating the deliverables after the scope has been agreed to can be very costly. In addition, the customer might be led to believe that they can get these gold-plated “add-ons” for free on future projects because the new standard had been set. Do not fall into this habit as it will inevitably will come back to haunt you.

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10 Common Mistakes That Young or Inexperienced Project Managers Make – Mistake 6

10 Common Mistakes That Young or Inexperienced Project Managers Make – Mistake 6

Failing to Share Accountability with Functional Managers

In the early years of project management, project managers possessed a command of technology. During staffing activities, project managers negotiated for specific resources which were then placed under the technical direction of the PM rather than the functional manager. The functional manager still retained administrative control over the resources. Today, project managers have just an understanding of technology and therefore negotiate with functional managers for deliverables rather than people.

When negotiating for deliverables, the functional resources still remain under the direct supervision and control of the functional manager. Under this scenario, the functional managers must be willing to share responsibility for the success with the project manager.

Inexperienced project managers believe that they have single person accountability and responsibility for the project’s success. It is a mistake for the project manager not to share this responsibility with the functional managers. Sometimes, executive support is necessary to enforce this shared accountability because it might not be part of the corporate culture.

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