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Ten Common Pifalls in Project Management: Don't Let This Happen to Your Project

written by: Regina Woodard • edited by: Linda Richter • updated: 4/26/2013

Anything can happen during the initial planning of a project. The wise Project Manager plans to avoid common pitfalls and problems. Here are ten examples of what you may face.

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    All projects are suceptible to failure, and although the problems will look different depending on the project, there are some common pitfalls that cause the death of many. Below are ten common examples of project pitfalls.

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    10 Common Project Failures

    1. Being Late - Probably the number one failture is that of the project being delivered late. Sometimes, this is unavoidable; life can happen at unwitting times, like a family emergency or the project itself failing just as it was working out well. However, sometimes the group members suffer from internal or external issues that cause breakdowns in communication. Project Management 

    2. Over Budget - There is usually a budget that has been outlined for the project, depending on the equipment that is involved and things like that. Going over by a little bit may be all right for some, worse for others, but by just presenting an over-budget project without first knowing it would go over in the first place is bad planning.

    3. Communication Breakdown - This an important one, as without communication to those who need it, the project may fail from the start. Group members need to know what the project is and whom it is for, managers need to know the progress of the project, shareholders need to know the finances behind it, etc. By not speaking with the important people involved, chaos can ensure when problems arise.

    4. Employee Turnover - Having project members leave for whatever reason can cause strife and stress among those members that remain. The worst, of course, is if the person leaving has valuable information or insight within the project. Certainly, if they are just on vacation, there is the opportunity perhaps to speak to them, but if they leave the company - no matter what the reasons - they may not want to continue working with the group.

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    5. Not Knowing What's Going On - A part of the example number three is the failure for the project manager or even the person who hands down the project to give details on what the project is and whom it's for. The project leader can't give details to the rest of the group if he himself doesn't have an idea what the project is.

    6. Not Fit for the Job - This is bringing in team members or a leader that doesn't know the specifics of his job role or who has never done that certain role before--for instance, bringing in the mail clerk to act as the project manager when he has no background - or interest - in the role.

    7. Members Don't Know the Project - Like with examples five and six, this example goes with not knowing a certain aspect of the project; in this case, not knowing the technology or information that the project will be dealing with.

    8. Bad Environment - A bad working environment can affect any employee, especially one who is working on a big project. If project meetings are being held within the storage closet or a place that is physically and mentally taxing and uncomfortable, that could definitely effect your group, which leads your group members to number seven.

    9. Un-Productivity - Even if the sixth example wasn't an issue, dealing with group members that are being unproductive can also cause strife and stress for those involved.

    10. User Commitment - The testing results don't yield any feedback when given to consumers.

    How do you avoid these? By having a solid project plan in place, the project manager will be able to avoid these common pitfalls.