Project management myths

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The author spent the first part of her career working in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects involving the management of outsourced project teams. She now runs a digital marketing company with particular expertise in technical SEO and Content Marketing.

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.

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Project management has developed into a fully-fledged chartered profession since the granting of the Royal Charter in the UK to The Association for Project Management (APM) in 2017. Training courses for project managers were already available and highly popular to help people gain professional project management accreditation, but with this wider recognition of the profession it is now seen as a desirable career path for many. Whilst the APM has the coveted Royal Charter and continues to develop its APM PMQ (formerly the APMP) programmes, there are also other internationally recognised qualifications that continue to be highly regarded such as PMP and PRINCE2.

Organisations have become increasingly project-focused in this era of rapidly emerging new technologies and they value the expertise that comes with experienced and fully qualified project teams and managers. By investing in their project management capability businesses can be confident of delivering their new projects in time and on budget more often and more successfully. Many major corporation are now training their people to have the right project management qualifications as well as relevant experience, through internal Learning & Development (L&D) programmes; or by using external project management training providers.

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