3 assumptions that make projects fail (and what you can do about it)
Sometimes, having experience can be a bad thing. Because mastery, while it can lead to flawless execution, can occasionally lead to assumptions that will throw you off-guard.
Being an excellent project manager can make you both confident and lax, so even when surprises pop up, you can still be in the habit of thinking a certain way. Find out 3 assumptions the bes project managers make that lead to project failure.
1. You assume everyone on your project wants to succeed as much as you do.
This rosy-eyed vision is not always the case. Sure, you may have tunnel vision and work around the clock (because your neck is on the line), but others are not so willing to sacrifice their family and social life.
Your project team members may have other priorities and lower emotional investment in the project. They could just be there for the paycheck with little grasp on the bigger picture.
The solution? Create buy in and ask each member personally what they can learn and gain through their full participation. Also, provide incentives for completing ahead of schedule or budget. Finally, demonstrate how each contribution drives to the bigger picture of the company culture and success, and show that each person and their role matters.
2. You assume all your stakeholders understand the project as well as you do
Just because you went to great lengths to explain the project to your stakeholders, doesn't mean that everyone retained that information in the same way. People have entirely different communication styles and can be visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners.
To overcome these different cognition filters, use a combination of charts, numbers, demonstrations and face-to-face meetings to improve retention and clarify your expectations. Repeat key points several times (or have them relate them back to you) and confirm agreement before proceeding to the next step.
3. You assume that your project will run smoothly
Even the best-planned project may have problems and glitches - sometimes on a daily basis. Even if you've done a final risk assessment and covered all bases, problems are a natural part of the execution process.
Don’t assume that problems go away if you leave them alone, so when a challenge arises, address it, improve your processes and move on.
Always question yourself to not rely on assumptions
In summary...Assumptions can create inconsistency and confusion over what the project is expected to achieve - one additional solution might be to use a PPM software (like Sciforma, shameless plug) where you can largely take out the guesswork.
Without data, there can be a lack of direction or poor decision-making, because you can't quantify key milestones.
If you can easily deduce whether the project met its business objectives, whether it was delivered on time, with quality and within budget with some clear numbers, then you can assume, ironically, you've done pretty well.