Magazine article PM Network

Rocky Starts

Magazine article PM Network

Rocky Starts

Article excerpt

Five common mistakes of new project managers.

YOU'VE JUST BEEN ASSIGNED the project manager role on an important technology project-congratulations! The only problem is that you're not a project manager. How can you learn about managing a project-fast? A good place to start is with others who've been in your shoes. Here are five common mistakes made by newly assigned project managers:

1. Thinking project management is just task management

Far too many people believe project management is making sure the project team performs a series of tasks in the right order at the right time. In reality, many other elements need to be considered, even on the smallest of projects, including:

* Stakeholders: Are the key people engaged and supportive?

* Value and benefits: Is the project likely to deliver the value or benefits it is designed to?

* Risk management: What surprises are waiting to jump out at you?

* Scope: What's the impact of last-minute "must haves"?

2. Underestimating the importance of organizational change management

People don't like to change-especially if they don't see something in it for them. Inexperienced project managers think a few emails and some training is more than enough to get the team ready to accept a new system or process. You can build the best system in the world, but if the teams aren't ready to use it, your project might not deliver its planned value. Project managers should consider factors such as the company's readiness to change, the consequences of the change on the organizational structure, the extent of the change, who's impacted by it and what training is needed.

3. Believing the rosy estimates provided by your teams

People, especially those who aren't used to technology implementations, tend to be overly optimistic when estimating how long tasks will take. They do so for all the right reasons, but they just don't have the experience to foresee the complexities that are bound to come up. …

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