On your path to become the best
project project that you can be, you may have acquired beliefs that are hurting
your projects and career. As Mark Twain said "It ain't what you don't know that
gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."
Perhaps you are not aware of your
self-defeating beliefs. If you think any of these beliefs may apply to you, then
review your actions for the past month. Your actions are the manifestation of
Here are five beliefs that "ain't
so" for project managers.
1. Believing that you
know enough and your manager will initiate action if you need to know
more. You place yourself at a disadvantage if you wait for others to
teach you more. Take the initiative and develop the discipline of self-learning.
Learn more about the craft of project management and the business that you are
in. Create your own body of knowledge about your employer with the acronyms and
services that you provide. This makes you more valuable, because knowledge is
power in large organizations and you can become the go-to person.
2. Believing that you are
immune from being laid off. Don't become complacent, regardless of how
long you work at a company. Time after time I meet people who were laid off
after a long and dedicated employment, and no longer have skills that are
current. It does not matter if you have been a loyal and exemplary employee for
23 years. Both good and lousy employees have been laid off and downsized in this
recession. To make sure your skills are current, continue to take courses that
are valuable to your employer and other employers. Also develop your leadership
skills by joining your industry association and taking a leadership position,
especially if you are not qualified for it. There you will be in a situation
where you are given the opportunity and forced to grow. Apply your leadership
skills at work to take on more valuable projects for your employer. Never allow
yourself to become complacent with your employer.
3. Believing that
developers are driven to deliver highest quality code on software
projects. When you are managing IT projects do not expect that
developers are committed to delivering high quality code. They may have other
thoughts on their mind and delivering code is their objective, without the words
"high quality" in their vocabulary. Your developers might have plans for the
weekend and their objective is to "Ship this code before leaving the office on
Friday." Put plans in place to validate the code you receive and ensure thorough
testing is conducted.
4. Believing that
everyone involved in your project wants it to succeed as much as you
do. The truth is that other people have varying levels of support for
your project ranging from wanting to see you fail to complete disinterest. Your
manager may have an aversion to reporting the truth and want to only report
green status on all projects. Some people can be convinced to support you if you
speak with them. Other people will always be against you. This is reality and
you need to constantly be alert to people's actions to determine their level of
support or lack thereof for your project.
5. Believing that it is
different this time, despite the indicators. No one wants to work on failing
projects. Yet, as a seasoned IT project manager, you know more than you
think you do. You get a sense of a project that is going off the rails when
milestones pass without appropriate progress, and your experts tell you that
your project is in jeopardy. As tough as it is to accept what people and your
indicators are telling you, you want to believe that the situation is not as bad
as it is and that this time it is different. It is not different this time. You
need to face the facts and take corrective action and the sooner you do it, the
better. Project problems get worse with age, not better.
These five false beliefs may long
standing beliefs for you. You may not be aware that you have these beliefs. If
you are in doubt, then have someone close to you evaluate your actions over the
past few weeks. Fortunately, you have the ability to change your beliefs and the
course of your career with a new mindset.