Updated June 30, 2023
Introduction to Project Management Myths
Project management has gained immense precedence in the past decades, with project managers leading organizations through revolutionary changes and development. These changes have made work easier for mankind with their hands fixated on their computers and other leading technologies. From manufacturing to production, software development to finances, project management has successfully put into place the workings of change management, people management, procurement management, and process management.
Over the years, with such a wide undertaking, there has been a lot of speculation and curiosity surrounding the role of a project manager and project management. With speculation and curiosity come rumors, legends, and the mighty project management myths. It has had its share of “project management myths” and of things that we put across as true, and many project managers over the years have missed many opportunities that have come their way due to these project management myths and the restrictions they pose.
In this article, we will look at 10 such mystical project management myths that have been doing the rounds and debunk all project management myths as it is through the actual picture that we can achieve complete productivity and high performance for our project management endeavors.
Origin of Project Management Myths
Project management has been under wraps for a long time before gaining recognition in mainstream businesses and organizations. It was the best-kept secret among industries that didn’t want to trade their winning formulas with the world for propriety and success measures. The project manager job role wasn’t the one that would have many people flocking to possess it as it is now; all this because of the mystery it would surround itself by. During the initial years when businesses began recognizing the potential of project management to facilitate their growth, there was a significant lack of awareness.
Top-notch organizations and companies employed limited resources to implement project management. However, communities were formed around these individuals who wouldn’t disclose their trade secrets to the masses. Everything was subtly unclear, and employees would come up with different theories and principles regarding project management that eventually turned into project management myths, some true, some untrue.
As the twenty-first century dawned on us, we got a clearer perspective of the origins of these project management myths and were on our way to debunking and clearing out the notions that accompanied them. People set up institutions, and project management grew 100-fold. Many skilled employees made their way into ushering in the new age of industries, organizations, and methodologies to handle businesses and the rapid pace at which project management myths were changing.
Top 10 Project Management Myths
This section will look at the 10 most popular project management myths or secrets you’ve probably heard of before and have never attempted because of the cloud surrounding their existence. So, relieving you of those chains, let me help you understand these project management myths and have them gain a true or false status. Let’s settle this once and for all.
1. Customers have Clarity about their Needs from a Project
Wrong answer! While customers have a clear idea about where they want to reach at the end of the project, they surely don’t have clear-cut answers about every step that goes into getting there.
Customers aren’t project professionals and mostly aren’t aware of the dynamics within the framework of a project. If you believe and go by every word that your customers and clients tell you and then have to draft your project plan, you might surely be missing some very important little things.
It’s crucial as a project manager to not only rely on the words and pitch put forth by your customers and clients but also conduct a thorough background check and market research on the subject in question while being very proactive in understanding the customers’ needs.
They may require more than what they tell you or your project can be completed in a few steps and assignments than your clients estimate. Know always that you’re the project’s driving force, and you know how to maneuver the best.
2. Project Management Software is going to Heavily Cut through Your Pockets
Not using project management software might rip off your pocket entirely! With the various advancements on the project management front, many businesses are resorting to many project management software on the market that can cost them a fortune. But, then again, project management software is also very economical and cloud-based.
If you underestimate your project management software requirements or even overestimate them, you will be in for a steep hike in the price you pay for your project management software. With proper estimation and calculated study on the software you’d like to help you benefit from, you will retain more money than you spend. So, the power of debugging these project management myths lies in the fact that it depends on you and your search whether this comes true or not.
3. Only Meetings are Crucial to Communication
While that isn’t a false statement in the partial sense, project managers must be careful of the word “only”. Meetings cannot be the only communication medium to the outside world about your project. With attention being paid to elaborate communication plans, it’s the responsibility of a project management official to understand the needs of the information to be communicated and accordingly plan for different media to convey those messages.
We hate meetings! Yes, that’s the truth. Suppose you’re a project manager resorting to many meetings to discuss and discuss every little development. In that case, you are surely wasting the time needed by your team members to complete the tasks at hand and the project in its entirety. Instead, you can adopt the framework of Scrum meetings as they are short, precise, and mostly occur in the morning. In this case, your team members won’t have to wait very long at the office after shift hours.
Focus on a productive meeting than just a meeting. Value every single minute and watch this project management myths burst into flames.
4. Project Management Certification is 100% Needed
The notion that project management certification is necessary is merely a myth within the project management community, without any factual basis. Many employers worldwide would love to have project management certified individuals on board; however, this has never been a necessity, and looking at current surveys and studies, this doesn’t seem to be the trend that will overtake the project management scene any time soon.
With more and more professionals taking the project management dive, many have reached the pinnacle of success not based on the project management certification but on unadulterated merit and success.
With many project managers rising from the ashes, they have worked up through experience, like a project manager with a shiny certificate around their collar. This doesn’t mean that taking up a project management certification course isn’t a good idea and will probably waste your time; a myth created by this project management myth—busted! A certification will help you enhance and flex those project management muscles and can probably prod you further. But, as a project management myth, it is not true.
5. Project Managers Need to Have Technical Knowledge of their Domain
Not true! I’ve worked with project managers from very different backgrounds than the work they handled and managed, but they did just fine! This project management myth needs debunking fast and now. A project manager need not have the technical skills for the work they are managing, but they will need the wit and understanding to get the work done, and that happens to be a page from the diary of a successful project manager.
Project managers entering a new domain don’t need to be experts in that field but have a basic understanding of how things work. Clubbing this basic knowledge with loads of project management experience and learning can help these project managers attain success while not on home ground.
In the project management realm, the skills of handling hold more significance than the specific knowledge of the domain being managed.
6. Facts and Spreadsheets Trump Intuition and Perspectives
This beeper cannot just stop beeping! Again, a large project management myth is that, as a project manager or project team member, you need to rely solely on facts and figures laid on elaborate spreadsheets. While you will need those for yourself and your charts and presentation to bring your project on the wheels, your projects will need that human touch, where you bring your perspectives and intuition into play.
These two factors are vital in ushering success while on a project. To uncover some of the facts and figures, it’s important to look at it from different perspectives; only then will you know that you have many other places to dig through to get the needed information for the success of your project.
7. Hey Project Manager! Pile Up Those Hats
A unique system called “Six Thinking Hats” designed by Edward de Bono rocked the world of psychology when he came up with an activity that would enable different individuals to adopt parallel thinking and improve the efficiency of how one should bring about changes through constructing thought processes. Soon, project management adopted this methodology of developing tactics and strategies for functioning projects within the organization.
But, the myth among these wonderful things is that a project manager alone can wear all these hats simultaneously and become different individuals with different perspectives to wear these thinking hats and achieve the goals there to achieve. The project manager isn’t the sole individual who will carry out the various tasks to successfully complete the project. The team should back up and support the managerial decisions they are authorized to make unless it is evident that the decision is incorrect.
8. Deadlines Agreed by Clients is More Important than Quality of Product
This project management myth can’t get any more mythical. Quality is always the main factor in the development of a product or the rendering of a service.
When you agreed on certain timelines and deadlines with your clients or customers, it was an agreement keeping in mind the quality of the output of that particular stage. As we know, every project undergoes frequent changes within tight time intervals. With these changes influencing the deadlines, companies often resort to sidelining quality to accommodate client requests and deadlines. This is the wrong way of going through a tight deadline, and project managers should never compromise on the quality that the output goes out with.
9. Project Management is All Paperwork No Play
Those experienced project managers who work until the last minute understand that project management doesn’t quite match its portrayal. That said, project management is not your good old clerical job, documentation work, or an enter-the-number-proceed-with-the-project game; It creates a dynamic space to usher in organizational change.
Most of the time, project managers spend their time and energy on communicating, problem-solving, decision-making, people management, task management, assignment, procurement management, and many more functions. Another project management myth debunked!
10. Project Managers Need to Get Down to Being Detail-oriented and Not Attentive to Strategy
Attention to detail is significant and needed in a project manager. Paying attention to every detail and entity of a project can give you a focused perception of everything around you. But, along with that, we have constantly and commonly heard that project managers, while out with their magnifying glasses, need not pay attention to the business’s strategic plans or actions as they aren’t of much relevance to the project.
The project happens to be a side to the platter we call a business. Project managers handling these projects need not bother about the organization’s strategy. False!
This is completely untrue, and project managers should have a fair stake in understanding the company strategy before undertaking and planning the project at their hands. The project manager is encouraged to contribute and bring significant value to their business area, influencing the business is direction.
We hope that this EDUCBA information on “Project Management Myths” was beneficial to you. You can view EDUCBA’s recommended articles for more information.