Those of us who have been managing projects for a few years seem to run into the following myths and misconceptions on a sufficiently frequent basis that I felt it might be of value to consolidate and publish a few of them.
Project management competency is about learning tools and techniques
As with any other profession there are hard skills which need to be acquired to claim competency, but soft skills trump hard skills in project management every day of the week which ends in “day“.
Planning is everything
Yes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail, but organizations don’t invest in projects to deliver infinitely detailed plans. Delivering business value in a predictable, consistent manner is the true value of project management.
The right PMIS will solve everything!
Did we learn nothing from the legacy of failed CRM, ERP and other enterprise applications? Automation makes a broken process break faster, so make sure you have defined, repeatable processes before purchasing and implementing a project management tool.
The squeakiest wheel needs greasing first
Stakeholders often follow Teddy Roosevelt’s advice to “Speak softly and carry a big stick“. If your focus is on the loudest stakeholder, you might end up making a detractor of a quiet, but highly influential one.
Certification is crucial
There are many qualified, competent project managers who are not certified along with many unqualified, incompetent practitioners who are. On top of that, just because someone is competent at managing one type of project within one organization doesn’t mean they will be successful at doing so in another or in a different domain. Caveat emptor.
Agile only applies to software or systems projects
Agile is a philosophy which can be applied to almost any project. Agile methodologies (e.g. Scrum) are relevant to specific project domains.
The PMBOK is a methodology
PMI’s PMBOK is a body of knowledge. The PMBOK Guide is a document containing a subset of the PMBOK. Neither are methodologies.
Changes to scope are to be avoided at all costs
Scope creep is bad. Managed scope change through reprioritization or formal change control is an expected outcome of the uncertainty present on all projects.
I’ll close this week’s article with what I believe is the greatest myth of project management: lessons learned.
Need I say more?