Picture this: you’ve just landed a high-profile assignment as a manager for a critical customer project. Now what? You think well on your feet, solve problems and ooze professionalism with clients. As a manager, your daily routine consists of gathering information, synthesizing insights, and creating solutions. However, the road to delivering successful project outcomes is a minefield, even for the most experienced of managers. Failure is not an option. Avoid the pitfalls and become a better manager by learning to stop making these three major mistakes.

Failing to Learn

Learning from failure is a hallmark of an innovative business—and of successful managers. As a manager, you need to stop seeing failure as always being negative. Managers who learn from a failed or troubled program not only have an opportunity to help their organization, they can also improve future performance. As a manager, you need to recognize that processes and policies that were once applicable in the past, may no longer be appropriate today. That’s where learning comes in. Today’s managers need to be agile and ready to change the way they do business as their environments change around them. So, put those lessons learned into action.

Poor Communication with Key Stakeholders and your Project Team

According to the 2013 Pulse of the Profession™ In-Depth Report: The Essential Role of Communications, released by the Project Management Institute (PMI), poor or substandard communications accounts for more than half of the money at risk on any given project. Managers who under communicate or see communication as a one-way channel are less likely to be effective leaders and risk losing control of their projects. Keeping your project participants informed of decisions, exceptions, changes and team structure helps eliminate surprises and mistakes. There is no excuse for failing to clearly and consistently communicate with your team and key stakeholders. To keep communication channels open, managers need to get into the habit of keeping everyone informed with the latest project status, new developments, roadblocks, and issues. Managers also need to practice being active listeners—so as to not miss key information and inputs from team members.

Where’s the Finish Line?

Often managers don’t fail because of inadequate planning or not having the right mix of dedicated resources. They fail because no one knows where the finish line is. Not having clearly articulated objectives along with key performance indicators to signal success or failure to your team can have disastrous implications for a manager. Knowing what needs to get accomplished, the order in which to get it done and setting up key milestones along the way is crucial. The best processes are uncomplicated and straightforward. They should be easy to understand and have clear steps and outcomes.

Organizations that can integrate project and program management methodologies, tools and skill sets are poised to reduce risks, cut costs and realize improved success rates. At Strategy and Management Services, Inc. (SAMS), we take pride in delivering best-in-class professional management services that help you increase efficiency and funnel more resources to your most impactful work. We have the management expertise you need to consistently deliver business results. To learn more about how SAMS can help you, contact us today.