Project Management

The 6 Most Damaging Results of a Poor Project Plan and How to Avoid Them

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The 6 Most Damaging Results of a Poor Project Plan and How to Avoid Them
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The 6 Most Damaging Results of a Poor Project Plan and How to Avoid Them

Project planning is the process of setting project goals and developing a plan for how to achieve them. It’s an ongoing activity that helps teams stay on track and reach their goals throughout the project’s life cycle, but it also necessitates organization skills, excellent time management, and good leadership qualities.

All projects must be managed and controlled to make sure they stay on course. In many cases, this involves making changes to the project’s business plan as more is learned about the risks involved and about how long a project might take from start to finish.

Whether you’re planning a home renovation or building a skyscraper, changes need to be made along the way, but you mustn’t stop planning. And you need to make sure that your plan is good and on target.

It’s no secret that poor project management can lead to disastrous consequences. But what are those consequences, exactly? And how can you avoid them? In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the consequences of poor project management and offer some tips for avoiding them.

What are the consequences of poor planning?

There are several consequences of poor project planning which, you’ve guessed it, can lead to disastrous consequences. Here are the 6 biggest ones:

  1. Increased expenses
  2. Delays
  3. Quality issues
  4. Client Relations breakdown
  5. Lacking motivation in your team
  6. Loss of trust by clients and employees

Increased expenses

1. Increased expenses

Some consequences of poor project management are not as obvious or immediate as others, but they can be just as dangerous in the long run. One such consequence is increased expenses.

As your team works on your projects, you shouldn’t be surprised when costs increase gradually over time; that’s normal and to be expected. However, if there is a sudden and unexpected spike in costs, that could be an indication of poor planning.

Let’s say you are planning for the total cost of creating an online store. In your initial estimation, you might think that the job will cost about $15,000. But as the project progresses and you realize how much work must be done – or if unforeseen problems arise – it may become clear that you need to spend more money than originally expected to complete the project. Suddenly, you find yourself thousands or tens of thousands of dollars over budget and you’ll need to go back to your client for more money.

So how do you avoid a budget-busting increase in expenses? Well, a project manager who uses a proven methodology for budgeting is less likely to experience surprises when it comes to the final costs.

Therefore, project management must include dedicated study, monitoring, and forecasting. You must have all of the necessary information and data to create a realistic cost baseline.

You should also have the procedures in place to effectively track and report on any cost variances. A competent project management team would consider all possible methods for saving money and would never let a penny go to waste.

One way to get to an educated estimate is to take the time to compare the project to other similar projects on the front end. If you’ve done this sort of work before, look at your previous projects or use market research to get the best possible estimate.

Over time, you’ll begin to learn how long similar tasks typically take and you can account for this in your new project. This will give you an educated estimate based on previous experiences, which is always better than just guessing.

If you happen to be in the middle of a project and you see something unexpected, like a large cost increase, don’t ignore it; if you suspect something might be amiss, investigate to find out what’s going on and make the proper adjustments while communicating with the client.


2. Delays

Another danger of poor project management is the increased risk of delays. Your team may have underestimated how long a task will take to complete – or perhaps unforeseen issues kept popping up. This is unfortunately common; you might be surprised by how often projects get delayed.

The problem is, on some jobs, a delay can add up. If your team misses deadlines continuously, then the project may fall behind schedule and that will impact the final deadline. What’s more, this can snowball into expensive consequences down the road; if your project is running late, then you’ll likely have to pay your team overtime rates.

Delays also impact other factors in a project. For instance, if your staff misses deadlines for milestones, then they may miss them on the entire project. You could even experience delays due to missed milestones or because work wasn’t done properly the first time around.

If a project gets delayed, you’ll have to work extra hard to meet the new deadline. You may even have to bring in additional help or hire more staff if that’s an option. However, you cannot just push back the deadline repeatedly because that will put your client – and your project – at risk.

All of this could have been avoided with proper planning and monitoring.

How to avoid project delays? It’s important to stay on top of any delays and make sure that your timeline stays in place. One way to ensure this is by having a dedicated team member whose only responsibility is staying on top of deadlines. This person can offer updates at relevant times and serve as the liaison between your team and the client.

If you go back to our example of the online store, if the project manager had ways to track schedule progress, he or she might have seen a delay was imminent and could have taken steps to fix it. This is why management tools like Teamly are so important because they can offer real-time updates to keep you informed.

Quality issues

3. Quality issues

Another problem with poor project management is the risk that your final product will be of inferior quality. The reason for this is twofold: you might need to rush a task or do multiple things at once, and your staff may not have enough time to complete all of their tasks properly.

When rushing a task, it’s easy for mistakes to happen. You could end up overlooking important details or rushing through something that would have taken more time if it had been done properly the first time around. If your team members are working on multiple tasks at once, they might not have enough time to conduct proper quality assurance testing or carry out extensive research for each task.

If you set goals for your team to meet, you can help avoid this problem. This will ensure that your team members have ample time to complete their tasks and it creates an incentive for them to work harder.

Tools like Teamly can also be useful in this situation because it allows your team to collaborate more efficiently so that they don’t fall behind schedule or rush through tasks.

Client relations breakdown

4. Client relations breakdown

If you fail to stay connected with your clients, it will be more difficult to get their buy-in. If you neglect the client’s wishes or try to force something on them that they aren’t comfortable with, you could damage your relationship with them.

If you’re not attentive, then your client may go to another company that can meet their needs. This will leave you in a tough situation because now it’s difficult to rebuild your relationship with the client or find another one. You also cannot give them any guarantees about what happens to the work you’ve already completed for them so this damages your reputation as well.

To avoid this outcome, you should set up regular meetings with your clients so that they can provide feedback and ask questions. By staying in constant communication, your team members can ensure that they do all they can to meet the client’s expectations.

5. Lacking motivation in your team

If your team loses motivation, then their productivity will suffer and the quality of their work might decrease. This can happen for a couple of reasons. One, the task is too simple and gets tedious; and two, because the project plan keeps changing, and their efforts feel like they aren’t making a difference.

If the project is too easy, your team members will most likely get bored because they aren’t challenged.

If the project keeps shifting then your team members may lose interest in the project altogether because it’s always changing. This can also happen if timelines are continually missed.

Avoid losing motivation by delegating project assignments that are on the more challenging side. Consider that to sustain motivation, you must combat boredom. You may also prevent your staff from losing motivation by laying down a solid framework ahead of time. Plans are always subject to change, but you can at the very least provide your team some sense of where they’re heading in terms of milestones and outcomes near the start.

6. Loss of trust by client and employees

If you let the client down by missing deadlines and providing low-quality work, they will lose faith in you and your services. This might cause them to turn to another firm, which means you could be losing out on a crucial source of income as well as future employment possibilities.

Your team members may also lose faith in you if you don’t respect your own deadlines. If you fail to hold yourself accountable for your work commitments, then they may not respect the deadlines either.

Avoid this by setting clear goals with timelines that are feasible. You can set up milestones along the way to keep you on track and help your team members see their progress more clearly. If you’re late on delivering something, update them immediately

Meeting expectations is your currency in trust-building. To the degree that expectations are missed, trust is eroded.

Make sure your team and clients trust you, keep your promises, and depend on useful conversations by doing things the right way. To build and preserve trust, stay true to your word.

What needs to happen for success

What needs to happen for success…

So now that we’ve looked at the risks of improper project planning and what to avoid, let’s look at a few bullet points for achieving success…

  • The project schedule needs to be realistic so stakeholders can rely on the schedules being met.
  • Project deadlines need to be monitored and managed effectively with enough time for changes to be made if the project is not going as expected.
  • Communication within the team and to other involved parties should always take place so everyone knows what’s happening and where they fit into the bigger picture of achieving project goals.
  • Feedback from all involved (and affected) parties needs to be taken seriously and acted upon accordingly, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative.
  • Any changes that need to be made must always include a detailed explanation of why the change is being made and what the benefits are, so everyone involved understands why you’re making certain decisions.
  • Rejecting feedback won’t gain trust with your team or clients, so you must always be open to giving and receiving constructive criticism.
  • Once your team has a clear idea of what success looks like they will be able to do their best work and maximize project productivity throughout the project.


No project plan is perfect but as a project manager, it’s your job to optimize the project plan as much as possible to deliver the best possible results for your clients, team members, and company. You want everyone to be happy with the result of the project.

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