All too often, project management gets reduced to nothing more than simple schedule management. That narrow view of this critical component to professional services operations is harmful to long-term success. Project management encompasses so much more, from team and resource management to status reports and cross-departmental collaboration.
It’s no wonder that this is where so many projects falter. If you don’t have respect for the sheer complexity of a project and have a system in place to keep track of all its moving parts, you’re probably going to run into trouble. These three pitfalls, in particular, can derail your project before it even gets off the ground:
1. Underestimating how many resources you need
It happens to all of us sooner or later: You think you have enough manpower and time to finish a project and meet a certain deadline only to realize too late that you’ve drastically underestimated how many resources you really needed.
The thing is, the raw numbers may have initially backed you up, but there will always be extenuating circumstances. Team members may take time off work for sick days or last-minute PTO. Other projects and responsibilities can prevent stakeholders from completing tasks in the allotted amount of time. Any one of these scenarios could create delays. And those delays, however minor they initially seem, have a way of snowballing, dragging projects out long past their expected conclusion.
Good project management requires constant monitoring for these kinds of issues and agility to shift around resources to cover up any gaps and keep things moving along smoothly.
2. Missing assignments
Large, complex projects are like a Swiss watch: They require precision to run properly. Every single stakeholder needs to fill his or her role and execute when asked to avoid slowdowns. Unfortunately, team members don’t always come through, and in many cases it’s because they didn’t even realize they had a particular task assigned to them.
“It’s a project manager’s job to juggle multiple resources.”
It’s a project manager’s job to juggle multiple resources and assign tasks where needed to make the best use of available personnel and prevent costly delays from occurring. Professional services automation (PSA) software can be very useful in these regard, empowering project managers to effortlessly handle task assignments from a single dashboard.
3. Going over-budget
The nightmare scenario for any project manager is to watch the project they’re overseeing run well over-budget, costing their firm and their client far more money than initially promised. It’s difficult – at best – to navigate these circumstances, so your best bet is to just avoid them altogether.
That may sound easier said than done, but not so if you have a comprehensive PSA solution at your fingertips. Financial management tools enable team leaders to keep tabs on project spending and cross reference those figures with established budgets at any time. In addition, they can monitor financial numbers at various levels, drilling down into individual tasks or checking against stated milestones. With this bird’s-eye view, project leaders will never need to worry about losing sight of their team’s spending.
If there’s one through line to note here it’s the importance of oversight. Team managers need to monitor every facet of ongoing projects to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks and that every curveball gets a swift response.