Five most common project management mistakes

Project management is key to every successful building project. Without effective management, mistakes can occur that will affect the project, its profitability and in some cases contribute to the failure of the project entirely.

We will be looking at five common project management mistakes and how to rectify them.

  1. Insufficient project plan

Unsurprisingly one of the most common mistakes in project management is not actually having a project plan in the first place and indeed if you do have one having one that is sufficient for the scope of the project. You’d be surprised by how many builders do it all in their head! You need to know what team, materials and plant you need and when; identifying what potential bottlenecks could occur to really understand the critical path of the project. A tool like ProjectXpert our project management software can help get your thinking down on paper.

  1. Poor Communication with Stakeholders and Project Team

Communication is key in ensuring that your project runs efficiently and effectively; whenever there is a breakdown in communication this is where things go wrong!

With an effective build programme, you can share information between your project team and your customers.

By sharing a clear project plan and documents such as a Gantt chart you can illustrate to your clients when they can expect parts of the job to be completed and manage their expectations. You can also then effectively communicate to them the impact of changes they make on the likely project completion.

On top of which by communicating it to other members of the project team i.e. contractors you can ensure that you get the team you want on site by providing them with sufficient notice.

Adrian Wild, HBXL Building Software Managing Director (and former builder & developer!) says, “They [contractors] really value knowing when they are required as it helps provide them with a steady income. If you leave it until the last minute they themselves may be over committed elsewhere and you will then have to find other more expensive, or unreliable, or poor quality contractors, which can be a costly mistake. And of course it snow balls as other contractors cannot follow on as agreed and the job slows down”

  1. Poor resource allocation

Are you selecting people for your project based on availability or skill set? All too often, people are selected simply because they are available.  This could put the project at risk if the skills and experience needed are not present in the team. Build a team based on skill set and experience, not on availability. Consider whether it’s worth paying a premium for a small team of highly proficient and experienced people.

If you are managing multiple projects. You also need to ensure that you have the right people on the right site at the right times. It is definitely a black art but again with ProjectXpert can help you to manage (not juggle!) multiple jobs big or small.

  1. Allowing scope creep

A common part of dealing with domestic clients is a change in the design, or a change in the type of materials used. The changes in themselves might not actually be that significant however unless these changes are reflected in the project scope, you cannot see what impact this will have on your project leading to project creep which means that your eat into your profit, incur further overheads and miss out on new opportunities with other clients.

  1. Underestimating time & budget

The old addage is true – time is money!

You need to remember that it is not just the project that is running over; consider the true cost in terms of wasted overheads and opportunities to make profit elsewhere. Coupled with the potential interest on finance as well as possible penalties for not hitting deadlines, you are eating into your bottom line – you really need to ensure you have a clear project plan to get you over the line, on time and on budget!

Without a clear project plan you will not have truly considered the time and budget that you require for the project.  This can be broken down into two main areas where time and budget can really affect your project progression.

Materials – lead times on specialist materials are often underestimated which unsurprisingly has a considerable impact on your project – a prime example of this could be roof trusses. They can take several weeks to be designed and delivered to site and if you have not considered this in your project plan, you’re in for serious delays. This slippage on your projects critical path then impacts further build phases, the requirements for other materials and specialist trades on site.

Labour – it can be all too easy to underestimate the time taken for a particular team to do an aspect of the job.  If you have not done a good job of allocating your resources you could end up with a team on the project who do not work at the same rate of productivity OR no team at all. This could have a knock on effect on the rest of your project.

How to fix project management mistakes

Leading construction software suppliers, HBXL, have a foolproof solution to the issue of making project management mistakes. It’s their straightforward project management software, ProjectXpert that helps builders and developers across the UK take control of their building firms and manage them efficiently. Plus, ProjectXpert seamlessly links with award-winning EstimatorXpress and the whole HBXL Building Software range to save our users even more time. Builders can simply import the data from their estimates and ProjectXpert does the rest! Give us a call on 0117 9167898 and we’ll talk you through the software, give you a free trial, a live 1-2-1 demonstration and £100 off the software when you spend £1000!