Common Mistakes Beginner Project Managers Make

A complex atmosphere like that of a project often acts as the forcing house for misjudgment, miscommunications, mismanagement, and most commonly, mistakes. Therefore, the management of a project demands a wide range of experience, insight, and skills for a project manager, be it in planning, organizing, or leading the team effectively to achieve the project objectives within the defined timeframe and budget. In such situations, the project manager making mistakes is inevitable, especially in the early stages of their carrier where they might struggle to navigate the many complexities of the job.

All Project Manager Mistakes Are a Result of an Action Taken or Not Taken

While it is understood that the probability of a beginner project manager making a mistake is high, it is also important to understand the ‘why’ behind them.

  • Lack of Experience − It is natural for a beginner project manager to make mistakes resulting from the lack of exposure and knowledge of the task and its input-output relation.

  • Lack of Training − Many project managers fall into the role without receiving formal training or may not have had the opportunity to learn from the experts.

  • Lack of Guidance − Beginner project managers are often not given the benefit of having a mentor or guidance of experienced individuals whom they can seek assistance from in the initial stages of their careers.

  • Overconfidence − Regardless of knowledge, training or guidance, it is essential for a project manager to follow the essential and prescribed procedures. However, some beginners tend to skip or underestimate these steps in planning and preparation due to overconfidence.

  • Pressure to Succeed − New project managers are often unable to manage the pressure to succeed and meet the expectations of their superiors and stakeholders due to their lack of exposure to it and this can lead to them taking on more than they can handle or not being thorough in their planning and execution.

Common Mistakes Beginner Project Managers Make That You Should Avoid

  • Unclear Goals and Objectives − Defining clear goals and objectives for the projects can be quite a struggle for first-time project managers. This could create confusion and also result in a lack of direction among team members.

  • Poor Communication − Beginner project managers struggle to communicate effectively with team members, stakeholders, and other key individuals. By effectively communicating, project managers are able to enable teamwork and progress however this skill could take some experience and practice to master.

  • Improper Planning − Overlooking and underestimating the planning of their project is one of the common mistakes that a beginner project manager could make. This could lead to delays, budget overruns, and other problems.

  • Lack of Risk Management − A beginner project manager could be wrong in identifying and addressing potential risks to the project, which can lead to unexpected problems and challenges.

  • Poor Time Management − Effective management of their time and that of their team members is also a major challenge that is more likely to cause struggle for a new project manager. This in turn leads to delays and other issues.

  • Improper Delegation − For a project manager, multiple people, tasks, and deadlines are lined up at a time to be managed and hence in order to effectively manage all of these on priority, the project manager should strategically delegate the tasks to the right people. However, beginner project managers may try to do everything themselves, which can lead to burnout and may not be the most efficient use of resources.

  • Lack of Team Building Skills − Beginner project managers tend to be oblivious to the criticality of teamwork and team bonding for the successful delivery of a project. Hence they would not focus on effectively building and leading the team which in turn leads to conflicts and other issues.

Tips to Excel as a Beginner Project Manager

  • Seek Guidance and Support − Regardless of the amount of experience you possess, it is important to seek guidance and support when in you are unsure due to any reason. This could be from more experienced individuals, such as mentors, colleagues, or industry experts. Through this, you could gain a better understanding of the subject, new insights, and different perspectives and avoid common or avoidable mistakes.

  • Get Formal Training − In order to gain a solid foundation in project management principles and master the best practices, you can take a formal project management training course or get officially certified which assures you and others of your skillset and knowledge.

  • Build Strong Communication Skills − Good communication skill is essential for a managerial position hence it is important to develop strong communication skills. This includes the ability to listen actively, clearly articulate your ideas, and build strong relationships with team members and stakeholders.

  • Plan and Prepare Thoroughly − The more planned and prepared you are the lesser will be the likelihood and impact of any unfavorable event. You should invest time in thoroughly planning and preparing for your projects, including identifying and addressing potential risks and developing contingency plans. This will help you stay on track and avoid unexpected problems.

  • Focus on Team Building − It takes more than just a project manager to run a project and it is vital that all these people involved are on the right path having the right intention and vision. It is equally important for these people to work with each other and for each other, thereby proving the importance of a well-built team.

    Hence it is your responsibility as the project manager to focus on building strong relationships with your team members, creating a positive work environment, and encouraging collaboration and teamwork. well-built

  • Continuously Improve your Skills − In this evolving field, it is highly critical that you continuously improve your skills and knowledge through ongoing training, seeking out new learning opportunities, and staying up to date with industry trends and best practices.


The key to avoiding mistakes as a beginner project manager is to be aware of your limitations, be open to challenges, and most importantly the right mindset to seek guidance and support from more experienced individuals, and continually strive to improve your skills and knowledge.

By being proactive and strategizing the approach to each task, person, and situation, mistakes can be avoided. By building skills and experience over time and you can continue to improve your performance on future projects. With dedication, perseverance, and the willingness to learn and grow, you as a beginner project manager will be able to overcome the challenges of the role and achieve success in your career.

Updated on: 21-Mar-2023


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