10 project management myths to avoid
Don’t let your projects fall prey to the unnecessary confusion, uncertainty, and harm that can result from these all-too-commonly held project management misconceptions.
Here are the 10 most commonly held project management myths. Recognizing these project management myths and working to overcome the challenges they can create is vital in ensuring that projects are planned, executed, and completed based on best practices instead of misconceptions.
1. Everything within a project is fixable
Project management professionals are wizards at leading teams in the successful execution of projects, reducing risks, collaborating with stakeholders, resolving conflict and a host of other things — but they are not magicians. Project cannot fix everything, especially when problems have gone unaddressed for too long. It is important for project managers, stakeholders and sponsors to recognize and accept when it is time to close off a task or initiative, instead of pouring more resources into trying to fix a lost cause.
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2. Clients always know what they want
It is usually assumed that stakeholders know what they are looking for. More often than not, however, they only understand what they are hoping to achieve, not what exactly is required, how realistic their wish list is, or how various parts of the wish list contradict one another. This is where project managers and their teams can help narrow down the stakeholders’ wish list to help identify project goals that meet the stakeholders’ strategic goals. Without zooming in on the stakeholders’ real intended needs, a project can miss the mark with very little effort.
3. A previous project template is a recipe for future success
Regardless of how well a previous project was planned and executed, applying the same approach, techniques, tools, collaboration style, or methodology to a similar project is no guarantee of success. There are many other internal or external factors that could alter the outcome of a project, such as timing, process, human, technological, cultural, or other differences. What may seem to be a slight change could translate into a significant gap down the road. Each project should be planned and executed separately; yes, some aspects of previous projects can be applied, but with due diligence and only when appropriate.
4. All project managers can execute any project successfully
Although a large percentage of project management professionals (PMPs) have the same training and are required to meet the same educational and experience requirements, they are not all the same. No matter how similar two project management professionals may appear on paper, each individual brings different attributes to the table. Their experiences, vision, leadership and collaboration styles, approaches, project or industry exposure, and lessons learned will shape what they offer and how they approach any given project.
5. New project managers aren’t as effective as veterans
Every project manager should be assessed based on their and training, experience, and approach to project management. But experience is no guarantee of success, and lack of experience is no guarantee of failure. Some projects require the experience of a veteran project manager and other projects require a fresh set of eyes that can see the project from a new vantage point. It can be hard for seasoned project managers, stakeholders or sponsors to accept that a newer approach from a less experienced project manager may create an opportunity for greater project success at times.