There are hundreds of career opportunities out there, but being a project manager (especially in the construction field) is a challenging endeavor. As a project manager, you are key to a project’s success. You’re responsible for the day-to-day management of a project, you must be a capable leader, communicator, negotiator, diplomat, advisor and, of course, practitioner of methodology.
Even if you have all of the traits necessary to be a successful project manager, here is a list of some of the reasons project managers fail. Hopefully you can use these to give you some guidance on what you need to be as successful as possible in this field.
The project manager’s tasks of identifying, assessing and controlling risks during the life of the project are critical to a successful project. Inadequate risk management is one of the main and well-documented reasons for project, and consequently, project manager failure. There are a myriad of risks associated in project management, but the primary one is making sure your workers are always being as safe as possible and maintaining OHSA regulations.
If you’re a new project manager, you may think that once the business justification is done, you can safely put it in a drawer and let it gather dust. Far from it. Your work has just begun.
Throughout the life of the project, you must review it periodically and thoroughly to make sure that the project is still desirable, viable and achievable. If it isn’t and you don’t inform the project board, both the project, and you, could be in ashes.
If you want a job done well, don’t do it yourself. It’s tempting to do the opposite isn’t it? One of the reasons project managers fail is that they allow themselves to become distracted, they micro-manage, and lose sight of the jobs that are particularly theirs. Focus on the big picture. Trust your team.
Hiring the proper team where you can delegate tasks is one of the most aspects to project management. Hence the part of “manager.”
Project teams run on information. Research on project failures frequently cites poor communication as one of the contributing factors. Someone, somewhere, didn’t have the right information at the right time. As project manager, you must create, review and maintain a communication strategy and then practice what you preach.
Being able to communicate and keep a level-head is extremely important in managing projects successfully. If you’re a poor communicator, then this likely isn’t the field for you.
Planning is not everyone’s favorite thing and it may not be yours. Its value, however, lies in it being a kind of hypothetical dry run of the whole project. By thinking and planning things through, you will have it clear in your head the who, the how, the what and the when of all aspects of the project. Project managers who fail to plan adequately, deprive themselves of this insight and risk failure.
As a project manager you need to be confident in yourself and your skills to make the tough choices and decisions. What this means is that when someone comes along and asks for an additional feature, to the product or service, you don’t just pick a timeline they want to hear (or oblige to their request). At all times, be realistic and be objective otherwise you’ll set yourself up for failure.
Managing expectations is an important aspect of project management. You have to manage your boss’, client’s, and employees’ expectations at all time. If you’ve failed to plan properly or struggle delegating, this may be the final hurdle you run into.
Project management is a complex discipline (evidence of the fact that there are degrees solely for construction management), requiring its exponents to have a combination of the best and up-to-date knowledge, skills, understanding and practical experience.
In other words, project managers must be aware of and use best practices. It’s no good running a project the same way that you or your colleagues have run them for the last 10 years. Times change and methods evolve to maintain optimal efficiency. You can improve your ability to change too by gaining, updating or extending your qualifications to match market needs. If you’re a new project manager or an unqualified hardened professional, it is worth getting PRINCE2® qualified to significantly improve the chances of your success. If you are already PRINCE2® qualified, take the Management of Risk® and the Managing Successful Projects® qualifications.
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