8 Common Project Management Myths

Project management wasn’t always the first option for business grads, which led to few individuals well-versed in the profession.

This is probably why many myths and false assumptions exist about project management.

Lack of awareness is problematic because it can lead to faulty logic, poor decisions and heavy losses.

Here’s what you should know about project management that people many believe to be true but is, in reality, utterly false.

1. Project Managers Are In Charge

If you’re a project manager, you’ve probably thought this one to yourself many times as well. Project managers are tasked to look over their teams, handle daily activities and ensure things are running the way they should be minute-by-minute.

However, this doesn’t make project managers walking encyclopedias. There’s nothing wrong with project managers requiring and receiving feedback from clients, customers, team members or others. Should any suggestion or tip strike a project manager as one worth considering, the course of the project could change.

2. Certification Is Necessary

Project management certifications might be trending these days, but they were never really a requirement in the past. For this reason, many successful project management specialists with extensive experience but no certification still get hired to take on huge projects.

The certificate is seen as plus but not necessarily a requirement. In a field where years of experience and number of successful projects are good measures of potential success, certification is not a must.

3. What the Client Wants Comes First

The problem with this approach is that customers don’t always know what they want. Since your client or customer won’t always be an expert in the field, there’s a high chance he doesn’t know exactly how to get what she is looking for.

Instead of allowing the customer to dictate the project, it’s better to let him state what he wants out of the project. Ask them questions addressing the whats, ifs and whys. They will obviously have some goals in mind and it’s those goals you want to be focusing on, not the means.

4. Errors Are Always Human

The first reaction of a failed project is immediately to blame the team. However, there are many instances when a problem occurs because of something that was entirely out of their control.

For example, while the manager may come up with the method or way to approach the problem, the team will be required to follow orders. That being said, it’s possible failure could be the result of the procedure, methods or processes required to do the job.

Additionally, if the manager failed to select the right person with the right skills to do the job, again failure may be a result of incorrect delegation of tasks — not the fault of the employee.

5. All Projects Must Be Completed

Projects can stop for any reason, and in many ways it could be a wise choice to do so. Unforeseen events happen all the time and there’s no reason to force a project to its end just because you’ve committed.

It could be resource constraints, disputes or a sudden change in objective which you can’t meet. Instead of committing to something you know you can’t do anymore, it’s best to step aside and avoid risking failure.

Perhaps someone else with more means, more of a workforce, or better skills can finish up the project and satisfy the client’s needs. That would be better than submitting a failed project that displeases the client and damages your reputation.

6. Expertise in the Field is Necessary

It’s good to know have background knowledge in the kind of work that is required, but it doesn’t guarantee you will be able to hand in quality work.

Someone in HR or even a member of the staff could be perfectly suited for the job just because they have the “people skills” or management skills required to successfully supervise the project.

7. Time Constraints Means Speed Up

The first solution to this problem should always be to ask for an extension. Hurried projects can lead to reduced quality and submissions that were ineffective at solving the problem.

Project management is one of many disciplines where effectiveness should be of greater concern than efficiency.

8. Details Rule the Show

Knowing how to sift through the details is definitely a project manager’s job. But there’s something called “getting lost in the details” that prevents project managers from looking at the big picture.

Project managers, apart from being detail-oriented, should also be strategic thinkers. Strategic thinking leads to focus on the most important goals or objectives — which is crucial to solving the problem that initiated the project in the first place.

Since the field is gaining popularity in business and education fast, it’s safe to say that these assumptions will eventually be put to rest. But before that happens, you need to play your part in busting them out!

(Photo by cpowell2 / CC BY)

Eileen Burton is a media and advertising consultant with years of leadership experience. She currently works for Assignment Valley, a UK-based company offering help with university assignments. When not consulting, she loves to immerse in her favorite activity, i.e., blogging on leadership and entrepreneur topics.


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