5 Project Management Pitfalls to Avoid

Some surprises are fun–like finding $20 in your coat pocket. 

But most surprises in business are best avoided. For example, no one wants to be surprised by cost overruns or an unforeseen product launch delay. We’re always looking for ways to get our projects to run more seamlessly. With Nintex, you can build digital workflows which easily connect the people and systems you and your teams use every day to better manage projects. 

Here are examples of how Nintex can help avoid 5 of the most common project management pitfalls. 

1.  Effective Communication

Pitfall:

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), ineffective communications contribute to project failure at least 30 percent of the time, and less than optimal performance over 50 percent of the time. 

Solution: 

Automating communications workflows during the project design phase can help project teams avoid communications issues. For example, a marketing manager named Joe wants a new page built on his company’s website. Let’s look at what it would look like if the entire process were automated. 

To initiate the project, Joe fills out a Nintex Workflow Cloud request form from his browser. Kate, the website manager, is alerted via email, with a link to review the form. Once she approves the request, Joe gets an update via email. Simultaneously, a project folder in Box is created to store the request form based on its related metadata (requestor, date requested, type of request, etc), so that project information is easily retrieved and archived. 

Kate is also automatically assigned a card on the Trello board she uses to keep track of website projects. Joe is added to the card so that he can track project status. The website development team is alerted of the new project via email, with links to the auto-generated project channel in Slack. Everyone receives links to the project folder in Box. When the project is completed, Kate simply responds to the initial email with the word “Done”. Joe receives a notification in email, and status is updated in Box, Trello, and Slack. 

Nintex helps orchestrate the moving parts and keep communication flowing. And that means higher-quality projects delivered on time, on budget, with fewer opportunities for miscommunication and wasted time and resources. 

2.  Managing Change

Pitfall:

Managing change can be challenging, and in a typical agile organization, it means constant change and iteration as projects evolve. Managing constant change while keeping teams informed and aligned requires tools that are as agile as your team. 

Solution: 

Nintex makes it easy for project managers to revise their automated workflows, or generate new ones as needed. Here’s an example from Kate and Joe’s web page project. 

Kate assigns Jane–a member of the in-house legal team–to review a key document before it goes live on the new web page. When the document is ready for review, Jane is out of the office and the project can’t move forward. To change reviewers, Kate simply replaces Jane’s contact information within the existing workflow. With a few keystrokes – and no code – she can assign the task to another team member, and the project keeps flowing. 

A workflow can also be easily updated to trigger a new workflow based on updated project requirements—for instance, adding copy editing into the flow. New processes can also reuse components of an existing workflow to make the process even easier. 

Even for Agile project teams, change can drain time and energy. For teams using Nintex, change management is as easy as drag, drop, and done. 

3.  Accurate Timelines

Pitfall:

Projects designed around impractical timelines are often doomed from the start—stakeholders make commitments based on false expectations, and project teams are overwhelmed with demands to produce too much work in too little time. 

Solution: 

Unrealistic deadlines often stem from a lack of historical data to inform new project timelines. With Nintex, projects can be tracked and analyzed from start to finish, so teams have an accurate picture of how long it typically takes to complete a task or set of tasks. 

For example, Kate can use Process Intelligence to identify common bottlenecks that other teams have encountered with similar assignments. A detailed audit trail of historical projects helps the team anticipate delays, who will respond quickest to a request, or how working with international colleagues will affect the timeline. Armed with the information she needs, Kate can confidently set expectations with Joe, and set reasonable deadlines for her team. 

The life of a project owner gets much better when they have insights and intelligence that project teams need to accurately forecast and establish realistic timelines. No late-night pizza required. 

4.  Resource Utilization

Pitfall:

Connecting all the dots to accurately forecast and schedule resources is difficult, especially when different pieces of the puzzle are scattered across teams and systems. 

Solution: 

Integrate disparate systems to pull together a single view of resource availability, and accurately plan for optimal utilization of those resources. That may sound like a herculean task that will sit on IT’s backlog forever.  Fortunately, Nintex easily connects and integrates into most platforms to quickly keep teams and projects moving forward. 

As Kate is designing her project plan, she consults the team calendar, which Nintex auto-populates as team members submit vacation requests to HR or mark themselves out of office in Outlook. It also shows trends in business activity pulled from Salesforce and back-end ERP systems to indicate when resource utilization will likely be at its peak. Some members of her virtual team also work on other projects, so she uses these insights to schedule tasks for them when they are available–avoiding under and overutilization. 

With Nintex to connect teams, systems, and environments, project managers can act intelligently to avoid under- or over-utilizing valuable resources. 

5.  Effective Tool Usage

Pitfall:

In the modern workplace, a major challenge for project managers is to figure out how to work with the apps and tools that people prefer, rather than impose new tools on teams. 

Solution: 

Kate and her project team can leverage Nintex to rise to the challenge. Out-of-the-box connectors with common collaboration tools like Office 365, Salesforce, Google Docs and others –  as well as an Xtensions framework that allows for custom connections – mean that teams can work in their preferred environments without creating app silos, and project managers can stay on top of dates and deadlines.  Kate loves the fact that she gets all the information she needs in one place and can communicate with her teams through the tools that they prefer. 

These are just a few of the project pitfalls that project teams can avoid when they leverage Nintex to get things done. Improved communications, better change management, accurate forecasting, optimal resource utilization, and integration with multiple tools help keep teams on track and have success. 

 

Projects that run with Nintex—like finding a winning lottery ticket in your pocket.

 

 

Gary Kamikawa

Gary is the Nintex Vice President of Demand Generation. Bringing a wealth of experience in strategic marketing, product management, and data mining/analytics to the Nintex marketing team, he has helped to build and leverage demand generation and global engagement programs that enable Nintex to gain market share and effectively engage in customer relationships.