Project Management is an essential tool for any organization. It enables you to avoid chaos, minimize risks, improve quality, and also to learn from failure. And despite all this, unfortunately, many businesses still see it as needless or costly, or they just do it the wrong way for lack of experience or knowledge.
If you are among those who aren’t sure if you are managing your project the right way, you will be happy to know that there several signs that you can use to spot any problems before they become a big issue. And they won’t mean any extra work or resources from you or your team, as you will see.
# 1 – Milestones aren’t being met
The first sign that should get your attention if your project milestones aren’t being met. And yet, it is very tempting to overlook it, thinking that this is just a question of time, that the team is adjusting, etc.
And while this is true, it is also true that, when you were creating your project and defining your milestones, you should have taken this adaptation time into consideration (if this really is the case). If you haven’t, your project won’t be reaching its goals in the scheduled time, so you better start making adjustments right now.
# 2 – There is a lot of miscommunication happening
If you feel like you have to repeat everything that you say, or if you catch your team resending emails, or not giving priority to what you think they should, you might have a problem there.
Lack of communication or a poor one is an evident sign that you are managing your project wrong, as it is mandatory that information flows as perfectly as possible. Otherwise, your project will suffer from stagnation and mistakes that could be easily avoided.
#3 – Too much overtime
Do you or your team tend to stay in the office after your shift is over, and still take a bit of work to finish at home? If your answer is yes, you need to rethink what you are doing.
It is understandable if it happens eventually, or if it is a specific person of your team who is doing overtime frequently (meaning, that they have a problem, not your project). But when staying late becomes a norm, it is evident that you have to re-evaluate your goals and milestones.
# 4 – You always need extra resources
Are you constantly asking someone to buy an extra resource so to get things done, from paper-clip to a new computer? In this scenario, it is obvious that you have miscalculated the materials you would need when you were planning your project.
If you spot this sign draining your project, it is time for you to look again at your project and verify if there is anything else missing. This way you will have time to adapt your budget, or even try to request an extra amount from your board of directors in one goal and before it becomes another last-minute demand.
# 5 – Your team is bored
Playing safe hardly is a mark of great achievements. Just have a look at any story of success behind any business. If nothing else, the injection of adrenaline that comes with risk taking keeps your team motivated and engaged with your project.
You also don’t want to bore your team to death by giving them only repetitive and predictive tasks. So if you spot people sleeping on their desks or going too often to the coffee room, maybe you need to check how you are managing your project.
# 6 – You need to figure out extra assistance in the last minute
If when a sensitive matter comes up, you need to run around the place and desperately find out extra assistance, it is a sign that your project management skills need an update.
This kind of situation exposes the fact that you haven’t predicted all possible variables of your project. And that you haven’t spent the time you should looking for all personnel you need so to have them available when required. So go back to your contacts list now and start making phone calls or sending emails to people you think you might eventually need along the way, so you can negotiate with them and get everything ready in advance.
# 7 – You don’t know where your budget is going to
Of course, you know what is going on when it comes to the big numbers. But what about the small expenses? Is there a lot of things going on that you haven’t expected and that demand payment? Can you tell out of the top of your head how much money you spend per day to make your project happen? If you don’t, you got a problem in your hands.
So, make sure that you have your accounting always updated and that you aren’t getting your budget drained by coffee, transport, and stationery – these items usually are among the silent enemies of any successful project.
# 8 – You feel like you are babysitting
If you feel like you need to be controlling everything that happens in your project, you certainly are managing your project wrong. Micromanaging is one of the most destructive ways to ruin a project so don’t you ever feel tempted to follow this dangerous road.
There are two possible scenarios here: one where your team actually needs babysitting; and another one where this is happening for your own choice. If you are dealing with the first case, you probably need a new team or to find ways to make them feel empowered. But if this is just the way you are, it is time for you to change your attitude before you put the project in jeopardy.
The bottom line
As you can see, it is easy to spot a faulty project management. It doesn’t require many skills to see signs such as those mentioned above, and you probably already got your to-do list ready at this stage. But, what is going to prove that you know your job is the way you will deal with it and ensure that it won’t happen again. So start working right now and get your project back on the right way as soon as possible.