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8 Project Management Myths Debunked!

Some projects can really be based on misconceptions and wrong intentions – planned and executed badly. All the precious work done by engaged staff, using the newest tech, working on time – everything can be derailed, destroyed by a misguided project.

That’s a fact, not just a terrifying hypothesis. In this text, we’ll give you 8 examples of totally wrong approaches towards project management. Avoid mistakes and turn your project into a productive and high performing process!

Mythical project management

Let’s look closely at those 8 misconceptions, myths, secrets concerning project management. You may also be aware of them but you’re not sure whether implement these tips or abandon them. Let’s shed some light on these mysterious concepts and expose their real status – are they totally wrong or helpful?

Myth #1: Agreed deadline is more important than the product’s quality

This management myth is in fact the most common: is quality < time? No!

Treat quality as the most important factor in product development or service delivery.

Well, it’s normal that you agree on certain timelines, deadlines and crucial dates with clients. But! you also promise to maintain the high quality of a product, having in mind the agreed stage of a particular agreement.

Quality vs deadline - what's more important in project management?
Image source

It’s obvious that each project will go through several changes and amendments over time and they will impact the deadline. Always talk to your clients, communicate the product’s stage and inform those involved about encountered problems. Never sell a low-quality product because time is running out.

Myth #2: Clients know best

Many projects miss their purpose when a client is not aware of their needs. Managers need to work out all the needs and goals of the stakeholders. As we all know, sometimes our customers have expectations that are unrealistic and their fantastic requirements tend to be improbable to work in reality or even contradict their vision.

Ask a lot of questions concerning the client’s need and chew over the terms concerning the final date of product/service delivery to manage your teams’ work successfully.

Myth #3: A project manager is the only and top expert

Of course that’s not true! A great percent of people in general believe that a project manager will cure every disease and extinguish even the biggest fire, being an expert in every area possible. Wrong. A manager of a project has a different role. A project manager helps experts to deliver quality work, they don’t do it themselves!

A project manager’s biggest role is to lead, talk, support, encourage people in their teams and analyze data and information received from various sources.

Myth #4: Pay attention to details vs work according to strategy

Surely, being attentive to details is welcome when managing any project. Controlling every little chunk of work will allow you to focus on the whole process. Nevertheless, a misconception still exists that managers don’t need to bother about aligning projects with company’s business strategy.

Such unprofessional and short sighted beliefs can be harmful to the whole company’s business. A real manager ought to understand the whole business vision even BEFORE planning others tasks. When a leading manager knows the company’s goal, works to achieve it and provides an example for their teams, it has a marvelous effect on the firm’s development.

Myth #5: Everything that fails can always be fixed

This is another myth that is extremely common. We have to stop thinking of a manager as an omniscient god, able to fix any failure and sweep the dirt left by others.

These words may be sharp and uncomfortable but are true: it’s better to be brave enough and admit that a project has failed than to rescue it and lose more money.

Yup, we’re referencing the sunk cost fallacy, which says that humans choices and decisions are affected by emotions. The more we believe, invest, trust in something, the harder it is to leave it and call it a “failure”. Look at the picture below. Is it familiar?

Myth #6: Project managers = problem solvers & solution seekers

Managers of a project may be perceived as magicians who have all the answers and a remedy for every difficult situation. It’s a complex case since managers should resolve conflicts and lead people wisely enough to keep balance at work. But there are cases where you should ask someone from outside the company to help and mediate.

Also, there’s a common misconception about entrepreneurs that a manager will solve every difficult, fragile case. It’s a good idea to educate your clients about every manager’s set of duties and their limits as well.

Myth #7: Project Management Certification terribly needed

Nope. This is another popular myth to debunk. Project management certs are helpful but not extremely necessary to manage a project. You surely know great managers around the business world without a special certificate and still manage their team’s work on a project like professionals.

Project management certifications - are they necessary?

If you want to have a specialist on board, look for an experienced man who worked for glory with real teams and difficult projects, not those who have a diploma and zero experience. This is a good trend growing on the business scene nowadays.

Again, a little démenti: upgrading and taking a project management course won’t harm you or your skills. Another myth busted.

Use such a course to verify your own knowledge and existing skills.

Myth #8: Successful projects are perfect examples for future work

Surely previous projects that ended with success are something to be proud of and mention to your team. BUT: remember that to new endeavors, not everything that worked in the past will be applicable to new projects.

What often changes and varies depending on a project:

  • technique,
  • tool(s),
  • methodology,
  • many (un)known factors,

Many different things could happen and impact the past success of a project! Even the relationships and mood in your team may count on the final result of a task.

Also, as it often happens, supposedly minor changes can have a major effect on a final outcome.

To sum up, be proud of your past successes but approach every new endeavor with an open mind and don’t try to apply a “one size fits all” solution.

Matt Warcholinski

Matt Warcholinski is the COO of Brainhub (a software house building awesome node.js web and mobile apps) who loves to build startups and play guitar.

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