It’s mind boggling how easily many common mistakes in project management can be spotted and prevented if proper action is taken. The biggest optical most project managers face is recognizing the necessary conditions straight from the get-go in order to prevent the operation from spiraling down hill and ensure smooth sailing.

When a project is well-planned from its initial stages, it’s far easier to make changes in the beginning if need be so you don’t fall into any problems in the long run. During the life cycle of any project, it’s crucial to lay the foundation for recognizing any issues that may lead to future disaster. By checking the following points of reference as your project advances, you will be able to better monitor its progress and end goals. Planning, preparing, and quickly adapting to changes is crucial for successful project management.

Lack of Support

Getting support from the start from everyone involved in your project can set the tone for its entire life cycle. Admittedly, people can effectively collaborate on a project whilst not fully believing in it. However, achieving quality work is almost impossible if your team is not in sync regarding their objectives and pay-off. All individuals working on a project must be informed of what is expected and needed in order to accomplish the tasks on schedule. This will inspire a sense of fellowship in your team that will go beyond any individual project.

Picking Your Team

Choosing the right person to lead your project isn’t always an easy task. However when done properly, a good team leader will take your project to the next level. All too often, a leader is selected upon availability rather than skills. Without the proper skill set, experience, or training, your leader has very little to offer to the success of your project. Don’t choose speed over quality. Pick the right person for the job even if you have to wait for them to become available, or shift some of their assignments to other team members. Otherwise, you’re running the risk of dooming the project before it even gets a real chance to take off.

Avoiding Clutter

One of the many common issues businesses face these days is being involved in too many projects running at the same time. This quickly escalates in personnel being stretched thin over several projects or not having enough resources to adequately complete them on time. The end result will unavoidably be a less than satisfying outcome or the demise of one or several of your projects altogether.

To keep this from happening, you will need to decrease the amount of work in progress (WIP) by up to 50%, depending on how much your business is over. Through the reduction of the number of open projects, you can actually speed up the completion rate of tasks that are still active. It may seem counter-intuitive at first, but studies show that allowing employees to focus on fewer tasks helps get them completed in time while meeting and even exceeding expectations.

Lack of Communication

Without clear and constant communication, it’s easy for a project to go off course. In order to stay on track, pick a time each week for individual meetings along with group run-downs of the tasks at hand. By making sure you are involved in all communication, you will be able to keep tasks going towards completion. You can set short-term goals that must be completed by the next meeting to help keep things moving. Also, make the meetings short and sweet so that it doesn’t slow down the progress of your project.

Lack of Focus

The goal of the project must always remain crystal-clear to everyone involved. This is particularly crucial at times if the goal of the project changes along the way. In order to avoid the waste of resources and their reallocation to meet a new goal, your team must always stay in focus. Even small things such as changing the color of a design or adding a new page to a website may cause unexpected delays. Know how to pick your battles and compromise where needed. Keep your team in check and stir them in the right direction if they lose sight of what matters.

Plan Ahead

It’s understandable why most businesses want to keep clients happy by scheduling a short completion time for their projects. However, all too often they are far shorter than they need to be, which can result in an overall delay of your company’s agenda. Not to mention, skipping one deadline after the next will harm your company’s reputation. There needs to be a balance between your objectives and the time assigned for each to be accomplished, regardless of the time pressures. While deadlines encourage teams to complete their projects, incentives can help get them done quickly without sacrificing quality.

Tracking System

Flexibility is key when planning your projects. Even those which are carefully thought out may require adjustments mid-way. In order to execute such changes easily, you will need a system which will allow you to design and modify your work process. This will enable you to carry out changes quickly while keeping the project on track. The right system will not only align your team, but it will establish communication lines in a way that will permit each change to be quickly processed and approved.

Recognizing these issues as soon as they appear and handling them in time will help you avoid unnecessary mistakes. Having a clear understanding of your goals will help you keep everyone involved focused on your project, which in return will be delivered with the highest quality possible.