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5 Myths of Project Management

The average person does not know that project management is even a formal discipline, so it should hardly be a surprise when myths crop up around the profession. Still, it is important to pull up these weeds before they can do damage. In an article for Project Times, Bola Adesope discusses what he sees as five big myths:

  1. Anybody can manage projects.
  2. A project manager must be a technical person or an SME.
  3. Documentation is not necessary or can be done later.
  4. Agile is the best.
  5. The halo effect is warranted.

Debunked

The idea that you can hand someone a clipboard and declare him or her a project manager is silly, but again, the average person would probably not think of it as silly. Most people do not know that project management requires sophisticated communication and coordination skills in order to be successful. However, on the flip side, there are also those who think project managers must have a technical background in order to excel in the role. This too is not necessarily the case, (but then again…) as understanding the overall parts of the project is more important than understanding the underlying granular details. A non-technical project manager is capable of this understanding, which—when paired with the aforementioned communication and coordination skills—will suffice.

The third myth, that documentation does not matter, is something that began as agile rose into prominence. But this is not true and has never been true:

The Agile Manifesto, which some have used as the main excuse, never said Documentation is not important. It simply says “working software over comprehensive documentation” and at the end, Agile Manifesto says “while there is value in Comprehensive documentation, we value working software more”. … Documentation is boring, it is tiring, it is difficult. But just like insurance, it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Furthermore, agile is great, but it is not the best fit in every situation. It is just one more option to consider in delivering a project. Executives who hear all of the buzz around agile and assume it must just be the Right Way are not hearing the whole story.

Lastly, in business, people are often promoted into management because they did a great job doing something more technical within projects. This is one version of the “halo effect,” where a generally positive impression of a person in one area is extrapolated to apply (perhaps unfairly) to other areas. But a worker whose skill set contains outstanding technical skills might also contain zero communication and collaboration skills. It is important to ascertain such information before a person is promoted.

For additional thoughts, you can view the original article here: https://www.projecttimes.com/articles/top-5-myths-in-project-management.html

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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