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Project management myths

We all love browsing for answers to our questions on the internet and often our first reaction to something we need information on is to “Google it!”. And there are plenty of great resources online – even the once derided Wikipedia is now a respected source of information. But sadly there is also a lot of poor or plain wrong information too and the amount of it is growing by the day.

 

In all fields this can lead to misunderstandings arising and myths developing around certain topics. For instance here are some of the common myths about project management that you can find widely discussed online.

 

A skilled team will make the project successful

 

Every project team can certainly benefit from team members with the relevant capabilities, with good PM knowledge and experience. The right competencies, behaviours and attitudes amongst the team members (project manager included) can ensure the whole project gets off on the right foot and stays on track – all else being equal. Unfortunately we all know that the world of projects is far from perfect and all else often isn’t equal so even with a perfect team success may not be assured because there are so many other factors that can affect project outcomes. Factors such as lack of senior management buy-in, external competitive factors, even the local or world economy can all play their part in causing projects to fail to live up to expectations.

 

Deadlines can be set before the project is planned out

 

Setting deadlines before the project is fully specified and estimated is still one of the biggest cause of projects failing to meet deadlines – why are people so surprised about this? If deadlines are set that turn out to be completely unrealistic how can anyone be surprised when they cannot be met? There is no “magic money tree” or magic tree for extra resources of any kind so make sure you don’t set your project up for failure by accepting unrealistic deadlines. Get estimates that are as accurate as possible and plan the project resources as the bare minimum before even suggesting possible deadlines.

 

 

Training isn’t necessary

 

Anyone from senior management to project managers to teams members can from time to time fall into the trap of thinking project management training is not necessary to get good project outcomes. Yet statistics have shown that those companies that invest in training deliver consistently more successful projects. Not only that project management qualifications are good for your career prospects too!

 

Using a software package is the same as managing a project

 

There are plenty of very good PM software packages to choose from which can make the job of the project manager easier and can help save time and effort on large and complex projects. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that understanding and using a software package will make you a good project manager. Software is merely a tool and needs the right person with the right skills using it. It will not do your job for you.

About Michelle Symonds

Michelle Symonds is a freelance consultant specialising in digital marketing. She has many years experience in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects and managing outsourced project teams.

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