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.



December 1, 2015


Project managers offer a diverse and adaptable skillset that can help with almost any endeavor. Before going it alone, make sure you fully understand what project managers can do for you.

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”. While adhering to policies and procedures is essential, the work also has to incorporate an understanding of operations management and business processes.

Good project managers help you define the policies and procedures that will lead to project success. It’s not a question of simple adherence. The project manager needs to know how things should be done to get the best results, not just how they’ve been done.

Project Manager Misconception 3: It’s all about execution

Project managers are expected to manage execution and this is usually 40-50% of the job, but project managers should also be involved in the initiating, planning, monitoring and closing of projects.

Good project managers support the project from start to finish by helping to define what should be done and how to do it, monitoring and controlling the work’s progress, and ensuring the final product meets requirements.

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

Project managers are often associated with large, multi-year endeavors. 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

There is a body of knowledge associated with project management. The most well-know being PMBOK from the Project Management Institute. You want your project manager to be familiar with best practices, but the work of the project manager varies a lot depending on the domain.

Good project managers understand the variety of processes that can be leveraged, but also know that not all processes are relevant. 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 so useful because they offer a perspective and processes for managing any range of tasks, and can be adapt to suit your needs.

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

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