Project Management

5 Mistakes Every Project Manager Should Avoid

Khaleeji FZ LLC (UAE) Chapter +3

Yasmina Khelifi is a French project manager with three PMI certifications. She has been working in an international environment for 20 years. She is a passionate volunteer at PMI and Professional Women’s Network. She is also a regular volunteer blogger on She is the host and founder of the podcast “Global Leaders Talk with Yasmina Khelifi."

When I landed my first major project for software development, I was both happy and insecure. I didn't have any mentors. I didn't have any project certification, nor any training. But like many of you, I was full of energy and passion.

Over the years, I contributed to many projects. I managed several projects at work, I talked with project managers—and even mentored some of them. Here are five mistakes I made that every new and seasoned project manager should avoid. (By no means is this a comprehensive list, but it is mine!)

Mistake #1: Failing to understand the purpose of the project
As noted by my colleague Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez, “the purpose is a key driver for engaging team members and the organization and motivating them to support the project.” It goes beyond deliverables and deadlines; the purpose transcends the project team.

Antonio stresses that by clearly understanding and articulating the purpose of the project, the leader can motivate each team member. For example, if your project team has to launch a money transfer application in Africa, one team member may be excited by the prospect of providing financial support to the community—while another will be thrilled to use a new coding language.

Who can help you to understand the purpose? Identify the sponsor of your project, the person who will be accountable for it, and …

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- George Bernard Shaw