Project Management

10 Deceptive Project Management Myths

Myths and misconceptions crop up all over the place in project management. You have probably already heard about several of them before, and some of them are more obviously untrue than others. But in an article for CIO magazine, Moira Alexander collects a new set of myths to debunk, some of which sound deceptively believable at first:

  1. Everything within a project is fixable.
  2. Clients always know what they want.
  3. A previous project template is a recipe for future success.
  4. All project managers can execute any project successfully.
  5. New project managers aren’t as effective as veterans.
  6. Project managers can resolve any conflict.
  7. Scope changes indicate a project is headed for trouble.
  8. The project manager is the top expert on a team.
  9. If a project is within budget and on time, it will be successful.
  10. Projects are finished at sign-off.

Glimpses of Truth

A few of these myths are pretty easy to spot as false; clients seldom know what they really want, for instance. But a lot of other myths require investigation. It sounds optimistic to believe that there is no element of a project that cannot be fixed, but limited time, budgets, and resources make that not true. There are some projects that just leech too many resources with too little payoff, and they have to be nipped in the bud.

Similarly, no two projects managers—even PMPs—are going to be able to execute all of the same projects well. There comes a point where technical skill and/or past experience comes into play. Sometimes, specific skills are required to lead a project well, and sometimes, a decade’s experience in the complex subject matter is what is required to be successful. In any case, project managers are not interchangeable.

And they are also not super heroes when it comes to resolving conflicts:

Many project managers excel at conflict resolution, but that doesn’t mean they can resolve every conflict. Project managers often have to approach sponsors to assist in resolving conflicts that involve team members, stakeholders, and/or the project manager herself. In these instances, outside help or mediation will be required. Conflict resolution requires a willingness by all parties to resolve issues, and if all parties are not willing to do so, project managers simply cannot work miracles.

Two fundamental measures of project success are whether the project was delivered on time and on budget, and for good reason. But they do not tell the whole story. The project is not truly successful unless it has also delivered business value and satisfied key stakeholders. And along those same lines, the project does not end at sign-off. It ends after a proper lessons learned session has been conducted, so that important knowledge can be captured for future use (though ideally, you have been having regular sessions to discuss learning already).

For additional thoughts on these myths, you can view the original article here:

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