Top 10 Things To Not Do On Your Project

by Jennifer Bridges, PMP (formerly, Jennifer Whitt)

How not to manage your project is a little tricky to address for the double negative it sounds like, but essentially there are ten things we recommend not to do on your project. We will Top 10 Things To Not Do On Your Projectalso look at excuses and, ultimately, at the end result. Some of these phrases may sound familiar because they are things you or a colleague is doing; if they are, hopefully the end results will convince you to adopt better practices.  What not to do:

  1. Wing It. In essence, you don’t take the time to plan. The excuse we often hear is, “Well I just don’t have enough time to do planning; we just have to get it done.”
  2. False Starts. You get the team going before the project actually starts – without the appropriate approval, and while scope is still undefined. The excuse is, “We might not have enough time so we just have to get going.”
  3. Agree to Favors. You agree to favors by clients, stakeholders, friends or favorites that add additional scope to the project. The excuse is, “We’ve got plenty of time. While we have this open or while we are doing that we’ll just go ahead and incorporate this too.”
  4. Ignore Input. You discount the collaboration of people who can give you additional feedback or input that may change a result of something. The typical excuse is, “I know,” or “What we have is good enough.”
  5. Pad Estimates.  You jeopardize timeline or budget by padding estimates, and excuse yourself with the  justification, “This gives us leeway just in case.”
  6. Misrepresent Status. You do not check or go the extra mile to verify status with detailed, accurate information. The excuse is, “I think we’ll be okay.” People don’t always intend to misrepresent status, but  by thinking everything is okay you are actually building mistrust.
  7. Over Protect Your Team. You discount what a customer may be saying to protect the team. The excuse is, “They just don’t know. The customer just doesn’t have all of the facts.” The result is customer dissatisfaction.
  8. Never Support Your Team. It’s the polar opposite of over-protecting your team that leads to a dysfunctional team. The excuse is, ”The customer is always right.” No, my friend, the customer is not always right. The customer may have a viewpoint, additional requests or information but the customer is not always right. We want to incorporate their input into the project and evaluate and assess and take the proper steps to get it approved.
  9. Become the Bottleneck. Becoming the bottleneck forces the team to miss milestones. The excuse is, “Well I need to make sure everything is okay.” If everyone has to come through you for your approval, or you have your hands in everything, you can’t help but become the bottleneck.
  10. Omit Testing or User Acceptance. The result of testing is poor quality. The excuse is, “We can borrow time here, because we need it in the earlier phases.” The resulting poor quality essentially qualifies your name to be inscribed on the hall of shame for failed projects.

If you found these tips from Jennifer Whitt, PMP of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in her self-paced, downloadable courses at


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