project management trap

4 Tips to Avoid This Common Project Management Trap

April 29, 2016 by

Organizations who are new to formal project management often fall into a trap.  They realize that project management is important and that they need to get something in place. Great, that’s step one.

However, it can be tough to know exactly which processes they really need to deploy to get started.  And this is where they start to go astray.


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It seems like more often than not, organizations make the mistake of trying to implement a  fully-structured project management process on day one. But when you’re just starting out, this can be overwhelming to project teams.  It takes time to build up to that level of project management structure.

In addition, you can have small projects and big projects.  Simple projects and complex projects. Teams that are trained in project management, and teams that are not. People who buy-in and people who resist change at all costs.

To accommodate this reality, you can’t think of project management as “one-size-fits-all.” Instead, at BrightWork, we like the idea of project management as a spectrum.

BrightWork Template Spectrum

The beauty of a spectrum like this one is that there is no one “correct” spot. Only the spot(s) that are appropriate for you and your team.

With all the above in mind, here are four tips to help you successfully deploy project management in your organization and avoid an all too common project management trap!


4 Tips to Avoid This Common Project Management Trap

1. Get going!

If you just get going, you won’t be able to deploy too much. You can implement a few processes, work that way for a little while and get feedback from the team. That way you’ll learn what works for your team and what doesn’t.  Don’t think too much about getting everything into the process. We suggest that at the start, you keep the scope narrow and prioritized to get started quickly.


2. Starting quickly is not the same as starting small

Starting quick means starting where you are ready, not necessarily starting small. The objective is to deliver value immediately, with whatever amount of project management is right for your situation. For a lot of organizations that means starting on the lighter side, but that might not be the case for you.


3. “Needs” versus “wants”

Take a step back and assess the projects you’re currently undertaking and determine what you really need to manage the project successfully.  More complexity means you will lean towards a more structured process, but if the project only calls for tracking issues and tasks, then that is what you should track.


4. Team experience

Finally, ask yourself how much new project management process is your team capable of absorbing? If you have never used or applied rigorous project management processes before, I suggest deploying just a couple and get to know them but don’t overwhelm yourself and your team. As a new PM, you will be much more successful when you match the process to the teams’ experience level.

Before you go biting off way more project management than you can manage, why not try something on the lighter side?  I bet you’ll experience some quick successes and your project team will be happier too.


Image credit 

Billy Guinan

Billy is a Demand Generation Manager at BrightWork, where he helps customers successfully manage their projects and portfolios using SharePoint.

Billy is a graduate of the Villanova School of Business and holds a Master’s degree from National University of Ireland, Galway. Outside of BrightWork, he enjoys reading, trying to golf, and walking his pug named Nova.
Billy Guinan

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