4 red flags to watch for in project planning

When planning projects, some red flags are easier to see than others. Learn five tips for managing project planning risks.

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We often hear project managers and other stakeholders say, “I should have seen that as a red flag.” More often than not, some red flags repeat in many projects, regardless of the project type, industry, complexity, or size; however, in larger and more complex projects, some of these red flags are more likely to increase the severity of downstream risks. 

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Noticing and addressing the red flags quickly will decrease your risks. Keeping an eye out for these four issues may not prevent every potential problem, but it can significantly increase the chances of successfully executing the project.  

1. Poorly defined objectives

Poorly defined objectives can pose one of the most severe risks to any project, no matter the project size or complexity. During the project planning phase, a vital step is to identify all of the objectives. If the primary objectives are not clearly defined, the project is likely to end in failure. Project managers must be able to clearly identify each objective and explain how it links back to larger company-wide goals. 

Without being able to identify and communicate high-level project objectives—the who, when, and why around each objective—confusion will plague stakeholders and dominate the project. It is essential that sufficient time is allocated to clearly identify and confirm project objectives before moving on to set and assign tasks to team members. 

2. Unrealistic timelines or budgets

Unfortunately, too many projects are still executed with inaccurate timelines and unrealistic budgets. These issues can be properly addressed by allowing sufficient time during the planning stage…