Project control consists of using techniques and tools to monitor the execution of the project and verify that everything is in accordance with the plan . Because it is such an important aspect of project management, many mistakes can be made, compromising the success of your enterprise.
To help you avoid these mistakes, we will list in this text the main mistakes made for you to prepare yourself and not let them happen.
6 common project control mistakes and how to avoid them
1 – Lack of control of the schedule
The schedule is a fundamental part of a project, after all, every project must have an end point , and for this deadline to be met, the schedule must be controlled periodically.
However, some problems such as the appearance of unexpected risks or a customer dissatisfied with the deliveries may appear, resulting in more work that was not scheduled at the beginning of the project. In this case, if there are no efficient timetable control mechanisms, there is no miracle: the project will be delayed .
To avoid the error : it is not enough to just register the project deadlines and forget them in a spreadsheet or in software. The project manager needs to follow the project schedule from start to finish and, to assist in monitoring deliveries, he can set milestones that will help to verify that everything is as expected.
2 – Scope changes not analyzed
Whether at the customer’s request or to correct unexpected failures: changes in the project scope can happen . However, when these changes are not controlled by the project manager, problems will certainly arise, for example: failure to meet schedule deadlines and initial budget exceeded.
To avoid the error : all requests for changes in scope that arise should be analyzed by the project manager (or by a committee, depending on the size of the project) to assess their feasibility and calculate all impacts of accepting these changes. Without adequate control the scope can become the biggest villain of the project’s success .
3 – Lack of control of communications
Ensuring that the parties involved have all project information and organizing artifacts to enable this exchange of information is one of the responsibilities of a project manager. This may seem like a simple area to manage, however, not controlling the flow of communications and leaving interested parties without the necessary information is a very common mistake.
To avoid the error : it is necessary to establish a single and effective channel for the entire exchange of information between the project team. Project management software, for example, can solve the problem and even allows you to attach documentation and instructions for carrying out the project.
4 – Demand greater than capacity
In teams that execute several projects at the same time it is very common to have a demand control error vs. capacity . It means that the team leader accepts more projects than the team is able to handle, causing a delay in deadlines and overloading all team members.
To avoid the error : the project team leader must have control over the demands that the project team is already carrying out and before accepting new ventures, it is necessary to calculate how this will impact the team’s work and decline if it exceeds capacity. If this is not a viable option, hiring reinforcements for the team is the best way.
5 – Not accounting for and qualifying risks
Every project has uncertainties , whether large or small, that can compromise the success of the project if they are not contained. It is up to the project manager to map risks early in the project, monitor those risks and implement responses to them.
However, when these risks are not properly controlled they can surprise the project manager and cause damage that is difficult to repair.
To avoid the error : it is necessary to identify all the risks of the project and to control them (even if it is in a spreadsheet), to facilitate the control of all the uncertainties that can reach the project. In addition, the project manager must also pay attention to the trigger conditions , that is, signs that indicate that a risk is about to occur.
6 – Lack of cost control
Every project has a stipulated budget that must be respected during all planning and execution. When the project ends up spending more than expected, many complications can happen, after all, there was a value agreed with the project sponsor and when this value is exceeded, the project manager needs to justify it.
To avoid the error : it is up to the project manager to monitor all costs in an organized manner, computing from the number of hours worked by the project team to the value of the acquisitions to execute the project and periodically compare it with the total budget.
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[Bonus] Document the lessons learned
When something gets out of hand and goes wrong, you should document what caused that error and what impacts it caused. Thus, in future projects, the same mistakes can be avoided.
So, don’t forget to create a list with all the lessons learned at the end of each project, also listing what worked to improve your experience and your ability to control projects.
In this text we list only the main mistakes made by the lack of control, but many others can arise. Therefore, remember not to treat project control as something specific, which should be done periodically, but as something that applies to the project throughout its execution .
It seems like a lot to control and analyze, doesn’t it? Therefore, if you do not have a tool that will support you throughout the project management, documenting and providing real data on the execution and monitoring, the chances of errors will be even greater.