Welcome to
The daily pen.

Penquin is a full-service, independent advertising agency

We offer unique integrated marketing solutions that connect people and make them feel part of something bigger. Experiences are the soul of our creative thinking. They inspire us to tell stories that stir emotions, instil belief, and help you build long-lasting, authentic relationships with your customers.

Find out more

The project management mistakes you're making

Posted by Penquin on September 5, 2016 at 11:13 AM

Project management

It’s important to plan, organise and manage your efforts when it comes to various projects. However, this can go wrong very quickly when not well executed. The project management landscape has changed considerably due to technological advances, and management applications like Trello and Basecamp making their appearance. They’ve changed the way in which businesses communicate, operate and manage their team members and business revenue. A report on the cost of bad project management by Gallup Business Journal notes that businesses care more about whether projects are completed rather than how effectively they’re completed. Despite this, a mere 2.5% of companies successfully complete 100% of their projects.

But, why do projects fail? Hubspot has compiled a list of mistakes that will derail a project. Here’s our overview of the mistakes you’re making:

  • No clear responsibilities

A project is a group effort and will only be completed successfully once all team members are considered and accounted for. If you fail to consider even one team member’s responsibilities, your whole project is likely to fail. Make sure that each person knows exactly what is expected from them before a project commences and call a team meeting to present the scope of the project to all those involved.

  • Loss of focus
It’s really important to keep focusing when working on a big project as the project manager needs to lead the team to an end goal. Don’t lose track of the bigger picture by getting involved with too many other tasks.
  • The wrong project manager for the right project

Not every project manager is suited for every project. It feels like you’re working with a boring robot when your project manager is impersonal. According to Carol Woolfe, a project manager at a leading provider of software and services for nonprofits, Blackbaud, "telling you what needs to be done, by whom, and when to do it to get to your goal...don't hesitate to listen to new information and suggestions that come up along the way".

  • Unable to divide project into smaller tasks

Your are under a lot of pressure as project manager and it is expected that you will deliver on your promises. It happens very often that project managers police team members for projects and updates. The key is to avoid micromanaging, but let it be known from the start that there will be regular updates for the duration of the project.

  • Lack of communication

A study conducted by the Project Management Institute revealed that a lack of communication leads to failure. It states that “companies risk $135 million for every $1 billion spent on a project and new research indicates that $75 million of that $135 million (56 percent) is put at risk by ineffective communications, indicating a critical need for organisations to address communications deficiencies at the enterprise level.” Good communication skills are at the heart of any well-managed project. If you’re not discussing the project, budget and deliverables with team members, you won’t achieve success. If you put simple guidelines in place like regular status updates and deliverable reviews, you are well on your way to success.

  • Being negative

Being worried or nervous is normal in project management, but it is manageable. It’s easy to focus on the negative aspects of a project and what you think is missing, but don’t be too critical of yourself as this will hamper your confidence. Always challenge yourself to see the positive aspects in every project and what you have to bring to the table.

  • Providing no updates

Projects tend to have a number of people who regularly need to know the progress and issues of it. Use the following chart to prioritise stakeholders according to their needs and authority.



Once you have mapped your stakeholders you can focus your efforts on the highest priority groups while providing sufficient information to keep the less powerful groups happy.

  • Resistant to change

Projects change on a daily basis - just think about missed deadlines, being over or under budget, missed or cancelled meetings, etc. The important thing is to embrace change and continue guiding people in the right direction. You can’t be rigid in the way a project is managed as you’ll be setting yourself up for failure. Always keep an open mind and do what is best for the team- even if it means starting over.

If you feel like we’ve missed common mistakes project managers make, feel free to add it to our list by commenting on the post below.

For more updates/tips like these, subscribe to our monthly blog.

 Download your project management checklist  

Topics: Strategy

Subscribe Here!

Subscribe to the Penquin blog

Recent Posts

+27 11 879 1900 •

16 Louis rd, Orchards, Johannesburg, SA.