Errors of the novice project manager

Greetings readers!

In this article, I will talk about several mistakes that I made while taking one project for management, which led to not the best consequences. I will also voice my recommendations on how to get away from the risks of reputational and financial losses. For an experienced and even inexperienced manager, the things I have voiced look quite obvious. And yet I see that I am not the first and not the last to step on the rake.

I will outline the situation, avoiding references to specific persons. There is a waste management company in N. The director of this organization has set before me the task of increasing the flow of customers by identifying areas of activity: the processing of hazardous waste; sale of waste (PET; carbon black; glass break, etc.).

I liked the sphere and its prospects so much that I began to rush to get to work. I have a good background in the field of web development (PHP, MySQL), and at that time there was also a small business and a passive source of income, so the financial conditions were of little interest to me (but in vain). After a superficial analysis (and this is in vain), I determined the following vector of my efforts (in general terms):

  • systematization of the sales department: implementation of CRM; telephony;
  • creating a new site, and, more precisely, an online service for customers (to automate part of the work);
  • identification of factors affecting the final result (analysis of the data obtained);
  • audience segmentation, building marketing and sales team work. There was a marketer in the company and when I asked who your client was, I heard the answer that everything (the head of the sales department also answered me).

Inertia processes were strong (and remain to this day) in the company. Therefore, I could not imagine the final result and warned the director about it. At the initial stage, I decided to take money only for the development of the site, and discuss the further rewards when a more or less clear process is built in my head. They decided to make the site on the framework (without CMS), because later it was planned to develop an online service on it. The fact that the admin panel will not look like a modified control system was also, just in case, said.

We concluded a contract for the development of the site in the amount of 70,000 rubles without VAT (and in relation to my other work, no). I started trying to configure CRM and telephony (for free), and also started developing the site. He quickly drew a sketch of the future service, libraries and put into operation its simple part on content management (to launch advertising and set up lead generation). According to the agreement on the creation of the site, it was necessary to prepare a library for authorization and publication of content. I created something in the style of WP (different types of posts, taxonomies and additional fields for them) and started advertising with my money. In addition, I decided to get to know the client better and spent a week on cold calls.

As a result of my work, I received the following:

  • Two leads for the processing of waste oil (about 12 tons). Agreements were signed on them (84,000 rubles);
  • Lead (sanatorium) on the conclusion of an agreement on waste processing. According to it, a contract was signed in the amount of about 60,000 rubles;
  • Three leads for the purchase of HDPE plastic waste at a price of 30 rubles per kilogram (before that, the company sold HDPE from 15 to 20 rubles). But not a single contract was concluded, as it was not possible to supply the necessary volumes and desire to organize this;
  • Three or four leads for the purchase of cullet for a volume of 12 thousand tons per month (13 million rubles). For the reasons stated in the previous paragraph, not a single contract was concluded;
  • Two leads for the purchase of pyrolysis fuel. A supply of 100 tons per month was required, but it turned out that the maximum capacity of the enterprise does not allow to give this volume. In general, the transaction did not take place.

There were a dozen applications in two weeks after the launch of the site. On average, one lead cost 100 rubles. The potential monthly turnover on transactions (if they were all concluded) would be from 14-15 million rubles, despite the fact that the sales department with great difficulty concluded contracts for 4 million. In this case, I'm talking about applications where customers were ready conclude a contract immediately. But not one, even a successful lead, was normally worked out by the sales and support department. During this time, I had financial difficulties and had to take a three-week timeout to fix things, while I continued to advertise the services of this company. A few more leads failed, my work was found to be unsatisfactory, and I was asked to return the money for the development of the site. In general, I did not start the second stage of work.

But I did not blame my partner, but tried to analyze the situation and identify my mistakes. And now I will list them.


I talked a lot, listened a little. Having explained the concept, I should have asked how exactly my partner understood the essence of cooperation, whether he clearly understands what we are doing. My job was to manage a project to implement measures to increase sales (quantitatively and qualitatively). My partner decided that I was creating a site and setting up advertising.

Surface analysis

It does not have to be superficial. Before starting work, I should have soberly evaluated the company and its real ability to provide each type of service, its strengths and allocated resources. And it’s tough to require the partner to fulfill his obligations (which I did not fix on paper), and also to discuss in advance all possible risks (which should also be reflected in the contract).


I concluded only one contract for services, for which I decided to take the money right away. Moreover, the development of the site was a relatively secondary task (but important, after all, were the leads). Even if for some stage you are not ready to take the money, it makes sense to conclude a contract (or several) for all services that provide and clearly state the responsibility of all parties, as well as understanding by partners of their risks.

The decision to drag the project on yourself

The business whose project you are taking on is not your business. You need to live on something, so every step you take must be paid. In my case, I even invested my money, brought customers, but was forced to return funds for the development of the site. This is fundamentally wrong. I would call myself one word now, but rules prohibit insults. Just remember, even if the project is very like, even if it is complex, you do not need to drag it on yourself. This is not your pain. Treat everything coldly and do not rush. Think it over.

Above, I have listed far from all the errors, there are some that are not voiced, and this already applies to aspects of my personality, behavior scenarios, etc. (this is already part of M.E. Litvak).

What did this failure teach me? Something I have already listed and yet:

  • Evaluate the project realistically, abandon their illusions, expectations, prejudices.
  • Conclude a contract and carefully treat its clearly defined conditions.
  • Be flexible but tough.
  • Remember the interests of the customer, but do not sacrifice your own.

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