5 Common Misconceptions About Project Managers

Project managers can do more for you than you think. Make sure you're not missing a key resource because of common misconceptions.

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December 1, 2015

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Project managers offer a diverse and adaptable skillset that can help you get more done. Its worth it to understand what they do and clear up misconceptions before writing them off. Read below and make sure you fully understand what they bring to the table before going it alone.

Project Manager Misconception 1: It’s just scheduling

The standard image of a project manager is someone managing a calendar to make sure people meet deadlines. This is definitely part of the job, but a project manager takes responsibility for so much more including the structure of the project, the scope of work, quality of deliverables, alignment to the budget, and the satisfaction of stakeholders.

Good project management ensures that the schedule produces the right things in the right way, not just that things are produced on-time.

Project Manager Misconception 2: It’s administration

Similar to #1, many people think that project managers are there to dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s”. Adhering to policies and procedures is important, but a good project manager will also excel at operations management and developing business processes.

Good project managers help you define the policies and procedures that will lead to project success. It’s not a question of adherence: the project manager knows how things should be done to get the best results and will help guide the project.

Project Manager Misconception 3: It’s all about execution

This is sort of correct. A project manager is responsible for execution of the tasks and reaching of goals. But that is more than checking something off a list. Quality project managers will understand the project well enough to offer ways to improve the outcomes and optimize the workflows. This can include everything from vendor selection to proofreading.

Project Manager Misconception 4: It’s only for big projects

Project managers are often associated with large, multi-year projects like digital transformations or big software migrations. However, big is relative: what seems small to a Fortune 500 might be an enormous undertaking for an SMB or startup.

Good project manager can provide the focus, process, and expertise to ensure any-sized project meets requirements within constraints.

Project Manager Misconception 5: It’s all the same

Project management has a body of knowledge and different schools. The most well-know being PMBOK from the Project Management Institute. Project managers will know different frameworks, but they won’t shoehorn your project into a plan that doesn’t make sense.

Good project managers understand what processes will best fit the goals and resources. When hiring a project manager, look for one that has domain experience or analogous experience. Don’t assume that any project manager will do.

Project Managers Can Work Almost Anywhere

A project is any temporary endeavor with a defined outcome. That can be something as small as updating images on a website or as large as building a space shuttle. Project managers are useful because they offer support for managing any range of tasks, and can adapt suit your needs.

Take the time to consider your resources, goals and skills, then consider bringing in a project manager to help you.

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