Following are three common mistakes made by project managers during the initiation and planning phase.

1. Neglecting to share the Project Charter Document with the entire project team. Giving all resources insight into the purpose and goals of the project gets everyone on the same page and improves the project’s likelihood to stay within scope and on budget.

A Project Charter Document outlines the project goals and objectives, sets the stage for what the project is intended to accomplish, and identifies what success will look like at the end. Keeping this document close at hand, posting it on a central portal, and referring to it frequently during meetings will keep the project on track and remind the team about the priorities and the ultimate end goal.

2. Ignoring the need for a well-documented Communication Management Plan. You can never assume that everyone knows their role or how to best communicate with stakeholders. To avoid duplication of work, frustrated team members, stepping on toes, or poor communication due to misunderstandings about who’s doing what, it’s important to document, share, and perform communications planning up front before the project kicks off.

A Communication Management Plan outlines information about meeting cadence, communication channels, contact information for all internal and external stakeholders and resources, and an escalation plan when issues arise. It’s important to make sure that the team reviews it and all stakeholders have bought off.

3. Skipping the formal Kick-Off Meeting. When rushing to begin a new project especially when timelines are tight, it can be tempting to save precious time and skip the kick-off meeting. Kick-off meetings set expectations, ensure everyone involved is on the same page from the get go, and lay the foundation for a well-executed project.

Some PMs may mistakenly opt to send a simple kick-off email instead, or worse, swiftly dive into tasks and deliverables. You can never assume that everyone reads their email or knows where to go to get the latest information.

Ultimately, communicating with key resources early on ensures that the project plan will be something that everyone can stick to and that ongoing communication will be appropriate and effective throughout the project lifecycle. The SharePoint platform with EPM Live is a powerful tool that helps PMs be effective and communicate during the ever-so-important initiation phase.

If you are a consulting company or corporate program owner that wants help managing a project so it will stay on schedule and within budget without any dreadful scope creep issues, please contact today!