Some project management facts and myths are described below:
- Project manager is accountable for the successful delivery of the project. This is true. However, the whole team and organization will reap the benefits of the project success and bear the burden of project failure. Therefore, the key stakeholders of the project will be better off by taking shared ownership and shared responsibilities for the project success. As a project manager, take charge and engage others as partners, and promote shared ownership and responsibilities in order to ensure successful delivery of the project.
- A project delivered on time and budget is a sign of successful project delivery and maturity. Sometimes the heroic effort of one or few of the project team members can ensure timely project completion. However, this is not a sustainable practice. Assembling the right, committed and disciplined resources for the project is the key to the success of the project.
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- A good project manager tries to please the client by avoiding saying ‘NO’. This is an unrealistic and self defeating attitude. A mature and result oriented project manager learns how to say no with style, for instance you could make a statement like: if the A, B and C conditions are met, we may be able to do this and that, turning the situation into a negotiation, as there are different options to solving a problem or resolving an issue. You can turn an emphatic no into possibilities with conditions. Remember, negotiation is a key decision making tool in project management. You cannot and should not (always) be dictated to or instructed. For example, a change to the project scope needs to go through the change management process in order to understand the impact of the change and get it approved by authorized stakeholders.
- Be optimistic and you will be fine. I like being optimistic, albeit cautiously, and I do not encourage pessimism. However, it is advisable to be realistic about project management and respect differed opinions as part of the overall effort to ensure successful delivery of projects. It is important to be realistic about project scope, associated cost and time, applicable technology and value creation.
- Ensure quick delivery, compress time and be aggressive. Be careful, ensure that the key players understand what is required of them and commit to a realistic time to deliver. Of course, as an entry strategy, you may put forward a tight schedule to prevent slackness from others. Unrealistic schedule leads to constant shifting of target dates. The key here is openness and clarity of work description, delivery expectations and realistic estimation, based on experience and good judgment.
- Defend your position at all cost. This is not professional, particularly when you are in a hole stop digging. Debate does not imply blindly misrepresenting information. Whoever recognizes his/her limits, will seek and receive help. He who is not ready and willing to learn cannot be counseled.
- Lessons learnt sessions should be conducted at the end of the project. You may forget important lessons if you follow this rule. It is advisable to make lessons learnt part of your regular project management activities. You may conduct a short informal lessons learnt session after the completion of a work package or a major activity.
- Enforce methodology at all times. Realistically, in some organizations, a project manager is chosen before a project is formally initiated, funding approved and project charter completed. This may not be a bad practice as long as the project manager is not required or mandated to commit to deliver project outcome, prior to the formal initiation point. Choosing a project manager earlier could afford him/her some advantages – influence preliminary planning activities (funding, business case and project charter development), acquire early understanding and take control of the project.
- Clients require a competent and strong project manager. The truth is, sometimes, when a strong, disciplined and professional project manager joins the team, he/she meets strong resistance. Project managers who are not strong and competent may find themselves standing for nothing or delivering mediocre result, at best. All organizations, teams and individuals are not the same. Be yourself, be strong, be focused and aim for gold in your project management discipline. Your effort will surely be appreciated and rewarded by those who value your candor and substance.
- Your understanding of what you say or communicate might be different from the understanding of your audience. It is practically impossible for anyone to clarify every spoken word, but ensure you clarify your stakeholders’ understanding of what is expected of you and of them.
- Claiming to know everything is the beginning of (and lead to more) ignorance. There is no harm in saying I don’t know. This could make you look like a fool once, but claiming to know when you don’t could make you a fool forever. Those claiming to know it all cannot be counseled. Ask questions, and you shall receive answers from willing and able minds.
- The true cost of a project is established after the close of the project. This is true. However, wide discrepancies in cost, time and quality will not be entertained by the client and could make you lose respect, except in an evidently unusual or rare situation that is usually beyond project control.
- Lowest bidder is preferred. ‘Caveat emptor’ (buyer beware); you will get what you paid for.
above are few of the project management facts and myths.