Mistakes for digital project managers to avoid

Monday, September 16th, 2013 By Jack Nevison

More and more, projects are being managed remotely with digital tools. Project managers need to be ready with new skills to succeed. As with any project, there are pitfalls that could doom a digital project before it is finished.

Harvard Business Review contributor Perry Hewitt lists several mistakes that project managers must avoid.

Some managers prize communication control more than collaboration. Let your team decide the best way to communicate, and then "periodically, re-evaluate this decision." With free tools like Apollo or Google Docs, both communication and collaboration are surprisingly easy, and should be embraced. The days when the "company dictated the terms of communication" are dead and gone — which is a very good thing for the timely sharing work-related information. 

Fear of failure afflicts all projects. Digital projects are no different, except that they offer more room for experimentation. Rather than simply sticking to tried-and-true methods, managers should encourage team members to try out new ways. Hewitt says that managers can create "beta environments" and use "assiduous segmenting, testing, and iteration" to reduce fear of failure. Managers should also be open with their teams about their own mistakes and how they avoid repeating them.

Above all, it's crucial for managers to remember how quickly technology is changing. Ten years ago, blogging was a new, barely understood platform. Many of the internet services we know today did not exist, and were not even imagined. No matter what the goal of a project, managers must know that when working in the digital world, things can change more quickly than they expect—for good or ill. In the world of the digital project, adaptation can be the key to project success.

New Leaf has a variety of ways to help you succeed in both digital and "real" management modes. Our "Managing Outsourced Projects" program shows you how to avoid some of the hazards of "virtual" project management. "Computer Tools for Project Management" will bring you up to speed on the latest project management software tools. In addition, those who are seeking their PMP recertification can read our free white papers and earn affordable PDU credits by successfully completing a post-test.

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