Life can be hard as a project manager, not only do you have your work to deal with, sometimes you have to battle awful stereotypes others have about project management. Here are the three most common project management stereotypes, and why they are wrong:
- Project Management Does NothingThe worst, and most common, stereotype regarding project management comes from the old school of thought that “If You Can’t Do, Teach” and that’s “If You Can’t Work, Manage”.
Sometimes members of a project team adopt the perspective that project managers are delegators, not doers. This belief is often exemplified whenever deadlines are fast approaching and a project is behind schedule. Out of frustration, teammates wonder why it’s necessary to have someone that manages, when there are important tasks that need to be done.
Of course, what this stereotype doesn’t realize is that managing is a job in itself, and a very important one at that. Planning, and keeping organized is essential to project success. Without a proper plan, a project’s execution will be flawed, with efficiency for time-completion out the window. There is a reason why productivity blog posts get such high traffic, and that’s because no one can afford to waste time doing something a second time.
Project management is necessary to monitor the progression of a project from planning to implementation to completion in order to set strategic goals to accomplish, prepare for problems along the way, and best execute the plan of action so as to maximize success at minimal costs. A good project manager ensures something gets done right the first time.
- Project Managers Need a PMP certification
You know what a project manager needs to be successful? Here’s a big secret: it’s not a PMP certification. It is people skills.
Sure, there are benefits to buckling down and getting certified as an official project manager. They are as follows:
- It’s a good signalling tool to potential employers
- You get to add the fancy PMP designation to your Twitter handle
But, when push comes to shove, what you really need to be an effective project manager is good people skills. Yes, I’ll simplify it down to that. Despite many articles online that list the “25 Characteristics Every Project Manager Needs to Succeed”, they all can be distilled to having good people skills. Of course, feel free to debate in the comments, but having the ability to deal with project teams, bosses, and clients; make sure all deadlines get met; and keep everyone happy, is way more valuable than a certificate that reads PMP.
If you are already happily employed, or undeniably employable, and you really want to increase your performance as a project manager, work on your people skills. Be a little more thorough in updating the project’s status to your clients, a little more persuasive to your boss about why you need project management software, and a little more tactful when you remind teammates of deadlines.
- Project Management Software is Unnecessary
“What do you need this fancy piece of software for? Can’t you just schedule on Excel?” The short answer is no. Another common misconception about project management is the idea that managing complex projects can be accomplished with minimal resources. There seems to be a common disregard for the tools needed for project management success.
High-level projects need high-level organization. Managing projects through Excel, making notes on Post Its, and keeping track of correspondence with clients and teammates in an overflowing Inbox is not high-level organization.
You wouldn’t hand a developer an old Windows 95 to work on a new piece of software, and we know Steven Spielberg didn’t film Lincoln on his Smartphone, so why would a project manager organize his projects with anything besides proper project management software?
What needs to be known about project management software is that it is a money saver, not expense. Project management software saves time, improves efficiency, and reduces stress for everyone involved in a project. It’s specifically designed to make team collaboration easy and its purpose is ensuring that projects are completed on-time and on-budget. An easy way to overcome this stereotype is to show your boss and project team all the good PM software can do. Most project management software companies offer free trials where you can test the software and evaluate whether it will help improve efficiency on your team.
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