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The 7 Deadly Sins of Project Management

        posted by , November 19, 2012

Project Management is a challenging profession that requires particular experience, skills and abilities.

There are more ways to get project management wrong than right. These are prime examples:

1. Not Caring

Eighty percent of success is showing up.
~ Woody Allen
You've probably worked with people who don't care if their projects succeed or fail.

Effective project managers care. They don't just pretend to care — they truly care. They let their enthusiasm shine through in hopes of inspiring an intense desire to succeed in their team (i.e. management by example).


2. Lack of Candor

Be candid with everyone.
~ Jack Welch
It's a common political tactic — minimize the flow of information to maximize your personal power.

It's important for project managers to be politically astute. However, keeping stakeholders in the dark has a tendency to shipwreck projects.


3. Reactive Management

Don't manage - lead change before you have to.
~ Jack Welch
Projects that get stuck in reactive mode are doomed to failure. It's not always easy to anticipate project changes. Nevertheless, effective project managers plan for change.


4. Counterproductive Politics

Crispin und Scapin

A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.
~ David Brinkley
Project managers are usually at the center of office politics (like it or not). Effective project managers are politically aware but prefer collaboration to dirty politics.


5. Wearing the Wrong Hats

As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.
~ Bill Gates
Project managers are often tempted to complete a document that's overdue from a sponsor, to provide estimates or make decisions beyond their authority. These are all recipes for project disaster.


6. Winging It

Everything yields to diligence.
~ Antiphanes
Winging it is good, diligence is better.

Most professional project managers undergo a series of professional certifications. When exams are over, there's a temptation to drop formalities.

Effective project managers adapt formal processes to the situation (e.g. a light weight process for a lightweight project). Nevertheless, they maintain a high level of diligence in all professional matters.


7. Burning Out

It's better to burn out than to fade away
~ Neil Young
Project management can be a stressful profession. After all, a high percentage of projects fail.

Effective project managers work at a sustainable pace. They might even make success look easy. Many have a passion for working smart to avoid pain.


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