Mismanaging projects can be a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, sometimes this kind of situations are unavoidable.

In a 2010 study conducted by the service company, KPMG, 70% of companies had experienced at least one project failure in earlier months.

Projects that are not executed properly could cost thousands or even millions for a company. By looking out for common pitfalls, project managers can eradicate unnecessary errors and work on completing a project successfully.

In this article, we share with you 7 most overlooked reasons a project plan might fail.

1. Unclear scope of project

Excellent project managers set milestones to track how far they are in a project. But, if the project requirements are incomplete from the start, the team would be unable to monitor the project properly.

This can easily be avoided by ensuring everyone is on the same page. Go through the list of deliverables together with other project details like positioning statement, budget, deadlines, and other crucial information that might prevent a smooth turnaround.

2. Lack of communication

Regardless of the industry you are in, communication is pivotal to disseminate information and knowledge proactively. Without communication, you and your team are left guessing on what the next steps are.

To avoid miscommunication, simplify significant details of the project. Be as clear and concise as you possibly can, in verbal or written communication.

3. Miscalculating timelines

Underestimating deadlines can be one of the greatest pitfalls project managers face. If you keep procrastinating, thinking there is always more time tomorrow, the deadline will come sooner than you think. You also have to factor in possible issues that may arise in the middle of the project.

As a project manager, you need to be wary of this because if anyone on the team misses a deadline, this can cost the company additional man-hours.

4. Undermanned teams

One of the common causes companies have that results in the downfall of a project is spreading the team too thin. If the number of accounts exceeds the capacity of your team, their exhaustion could translate to poor performance and low-quality work.

This is why project managers need to be on top of everyone's accounts. It might be a good idea to ask your team for a list of accounts they are handling. Then, work out with other managers a feasible schedule so that everyone can meet their deadlines.

5. Lack of planning

Holding short but consistent meetings can help the team function efficiently and effectively. Take this time to update everyone and follow up on pending items.

6. Being a helicopter manager

It may be your responsibility to make sure all the deliverables are completed, but over-controlling the team can brew negative emotions rather than positive ones. Always keep in mind that the team needs creative freedom and enough space to do their work.

7. Insufficient monitoring

Being over-controlling is bad, but if you do not have a firm grip on the team, that could also lead to a project failure.

You do not have to micromanage. However, try to make at least an effort to monitor and track the progress of the team. Make it a habit of recording actual data and the status report for each task. This can help you take note of things that needs to be followed up on.

Many of the common project pitfalls can be avoided with the right mindset and teamwork. It is important to keep in mind that the success of a project is not a success of one, but the success of all.

About the author:

Shuba Kathikeyan heads APEX Global, the learning solutions arm of ECC International (ECCI). She has over 10 years of experience in the areas of project management, business analysis, software development and IT service management. She carries several international certifications in the areas of ITIL, Business Analysis, Project Management, Microsoft Technology and Learning Management amongst others. Shuba has a passion for process improvement, training and new product development.