5 project management mistakes you could be making + how to avoid them

Reading time: 4 minutes.


What does moving have to do with project management mistakes?

Turns out – a lot!

I just moved into a new house last month and I did not plan as well as I should have. I didn’t plan for the downtime I’d have in my business, I didn’t plan for all the crap that could have possibly gone wrong.

Then I thought – why did this even happen? I teach systems and project management all the time but why I didn’t think to do those things when it came to my move?

Well, I could have saved a lot of time and energy had I planned out these things ahead of time. Read on to see where I went wrong and how you can use my mistakes to help stay organized in your own business.

1. Doing everything yourself

So the first project management mistake I want to talk about is trying to do everything yourself. If you don’t know, I’m a single mom in Atlanta, and my ex-husband lives on the West Coast, so I had to do everything myself for this move. I should have outsourced the work, but I didn’t outsource any of it.

And that was my biggest problem.

The only thing I outsourced was the actual moving company. I packed everything, I had to call everyone, cancel any accounts. Quite time consuming, right? Obviously, the same goes for your business.

I recommend if there’s anything you can outsource, go ahead and get it off your plate. And money shouldn’t be an excuse because if you can find someone that’s green or newer in their business, in their assistant or VA business, you can work with them. And while they work on doing all the crap you don’t want to do, that allows you to work on the tasks that you want to do, and that frees up your time so that you can work on the money producing tasks and you can make more money.


2. Incorrectly estimating time and budget

The second project management mistake is the wrong estimation of time and budget. I underestimated, as you might expect, time and budget for this project. I got the estimates for the moving company, the work was done, and of course it took longer. As a business owner, you’ve probably done this before. And it not only makes it harder for you in the long run, but it also makes it hard to hire help because you don’t know how to estimate your time and your budget. So keep track of how long you do things.

Here’s a tip. When you create your SOPs for your business, include a time estimate (or how long it normally takes you to do the task. Then, when it’s time to hire someone out for that specific project, you will know exactly how long it takes you to do it. And if they charge 20 dollars an hour, go ahead and estimate that it will take them time and a half. You will be estimating a little bit more until they get the hang of it. Your time might be off a little bit, but it’ll be a lot closer than just winging it and going with the wind.


3. Not following a process

The third mistake I made was not following a process. Follow a process and write it down. I say it all the time. I tried to do this a little bit with my move, but I got off track and then I started doing things out of order. When that happens, there’s always confusion, and more time and money is spent. So I always follow a process.


4. Not understanding people management

This one is huge. Failing to recognize the importance of people management.

Not every one of your people and not everyone that you work with can work without delegation and supervision. So if you don’t keep an eye on the overall project, things will get unwieldy and your whole vision can go to crap. So you definitely want to keep track of that and keep an eye on your people management.

Quote: Not everyone that you work with will be able to work without delegation and direction.


5. Failing to use project management software

The last but definitely not least project management mistake is not using a project management software. I’m not sure why I didn’t do this.

You shouldn’t try to do everything manually.

You shouldn’t try to keep everything in your head. And this mistake could have saved me a lot of time. I use project management software in my business with all of my clients and even in my household with my to do list. But I’m not sure why it didn’t cross my mind to do it for my move. Software takes everything out of your head and keeps it organized in a way that you can see it and have it make sense.

So use the software even if you’re just going to use it just to make a list.


Two bonus tips to remember

And those are my top five mistakes that you might be making in business, maybe you’re doing it, maybe you’re not. But I also do want to point out two more things. Number one, you want to be ready to adjust your course when the unexpected happens because we all know the unexpected will happen. So you want to keep that up front of mind and you just have to make sure that you’re ready to switch it up.

If something changes, have a backup plan. If Zoom goes out, have a backup, maybe you’ll use Google Meet instead. Stay one step ahead so that you can be prepared for that.

And the second thing is that when the project is over, you want to evaluate the completed project. So when I was done with my move, I took a look at what might have went wrong and what could have gone better and also what went right.

I don’t plan to move again for a while (hopefully), but I can use this parallel with business and use these mistakes as a lesson.

So the next time you do a big launch or you write a special newsletter, take a look at your numbers, take a look at your launch, see what happened, what went well, what your people are resonating with, and then you can make adjustments for that next time.

What are some project management mistakes you have learned from in your business? Let me know in the comments!


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