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Moving on from outdated project management methods

It is rarely a good thing to suggest the benefits that can be had from doing something the right way if this comes about by explaining exactly what the problems of doing it the wrong way might be.

This is the age of Agile, where the more traditional is put to one side and companies, and their project managers need to adapt, adopt and improve their old methods in answer to any new problems that occur. One thing that they certainly need to do is look out for the persistence of project management tactics that are outdated. These are things that can really demotivate employees and can have the effect of causing a wide range of delays and dissonances to what might otherwise appear to be a project that could be rather promising.

These are just some of the common issues that you might find yourself up against, things that you will want to ensure you avoid in the future.

Over planning

There is an old saying that goes, “if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” This is certainly true. However, when it comes to planning your projects, it is important to think about restraint. All too often, the planning stage is allocated far too much time, far more than is really needed. A project team do not need to be tied up in the planning process for lengthy periods of time when they could actually be starting the work associated with the project.

The role of the project manager is changing so fast that even when they plan for a couple of months ahead, this can be futile. It is now considered to be a better option to just plan in small segments. This might be one week to the next. When this takes place, a plan is more easily adjustable and can compensate for any unexpected changes that might come up. This is something that many training courses for project managers may now cover.

Scope that is too rigid

When a project scope is too rigid, it can be very detrimental to a project. When a project starts, nobody thoroughly knows what is going to be needed at every stage of the project, indeed not even a project manager. This is why no project manager should be insisting that something is done right from the very start of the project and that this should remain the same throughout. At the same time, whilst the stakeholders may know what they want the end product or result to be, it is important to remember that flexibility of product scope really is the only way that a well-designed, great product can actually be delivered. This is because the project manager needs to allow for any of those unexpected issues that may occur during the project.

Risk management that is continuous

Continuous risk is definitely something that falls under the umbrella of overplanning. As any project manager will tell you it is always impossible to account for every possible risk that might occur in a project. As the project progresses, new risks are likely to be found and these could change in line with the scope and work of the project.

Micromanagement

One of the most problematic issues that can occur within a project team is that a project manager is too over-enthusiastic and feels the need to micromanage every individual element of the project. For team members, having someone continually breathe down their neck when they’re trying to get on with their job, doing the things that they are qualified to do, is incredibly irritating and also demoralising. This type of micromanagement can, in fact, be a hindrance when it comes to productivity, and can be the biggest contributor to making the team less productive. When a project manager micromanages, it has the opposite effect of what they’re hoping for and actually can lose much of the control of the project. In addition to having a team full of employees who are not happy, it can also result in more mistakes.

Verbal communication only

Even the very best and most organised individuals will struggle to keep everything that they need to do in their heads, particularly if they are trying to concentrate on the project they are working on. When a project team use only verbal communications to organise their workflow, then it can all too easily become muddled, and much of the important information can be forgotten. When communication is written down, there is a clear workflow for team members to follow. They can trace back everything that has already been accomplished within the project and look at what still needs to be done. Then they know what preparation should be taking place. Experts at Parallel Project training cannot stress enough how valuable good project management software can be when it comes to helping keep your written communication in one place.

Documentation, a lack of order

Written communication is important on many levels within a project, but it is important to remember to document all correspondence. Otherwise, there will be clear gaps. For this reason, all written communications should be stored in an appropriate place, and nowadays, this really should be online. This should be somewhere that every member of the team has access to so that they can refresh their memories on specific details should they need to.

Fixed mindset rather than growth mindset

In many ways, a fixed mindset is something that really does summarise all of the things we have already mentioned. And it is essential to consider that if humans, in general, only had a fixed mid-set, then there would be much less change in the world today. People simply wouldn’t have looked for alternative ways in which they could do things. When it comes to business, and particularly project management, every member of a team needs to be able to adopt a more flexible approach. Brainstorming ideas and looking for solutions to issues that were not anticipated is vital. These require a growth mindset, otherwise, a project is doomed to failure before it has even truly begun.

Not using past mistakes as a learning tool

Whilst it is human to make mistakes, it is important that any mistakes that have been made in the past are used as a learning tool to help ensure that these mistakes are avoided in the future. Mistakes are actually okay but only if we learn from them and ensure that we do not repeat them, so make sure that you document mistakes so that you have something to look back on properly to see where things went wrong.