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7 Deadly Sins of Project Management

Seven Deadly Sins in Project Management


Project managers are people, too. We have weaknesses and bad days like anyone else. But we’re also responsible for projects with a high material, financial, and manpower cost, and we need to hold ourselves to higher standards than most.

Below I’ve listed the seven deadly sins that lead project managers to failed projects and shortened careers:

1. Complacency

This is one of the easiest traps to fall into, partly because it’s hard to stay vigilant 100% of the time. Everything may seem to be running smoothly, but there may be trouble under the surface. You may think you’ve done all your tasks, but actually forgot one very important detail.

2. Timidity

We mentioned before how project managers can still be nice guys and still come out ahead. But being nice and being a pushover are two totally separate issues. If other people can walk all over you because you can’t stand up for yourself, how can you stand up for your team?

3. Idleness

An idle project manager is one who isn’t earning his pay. Project managers who spin their wheels or sit on their laurels will quickly find themselves left behind by their peers—and even their team. If you have time to twiddle your thumbs, we can find you something to do.

4. Unpreparedness

A scattered mind makes for a failed project. If you’re not in the habit of preparing things in advance, you’re going to look foolish in meetings, forget important project details, and lose the respect of your team. Doing things “on the fly” is just another excuse for not doing your homework.

5. Apathy

This is one of the worst sins of project management because everything a project manager does comes from attitude. If the project manager doesn’t care about the project, how can he execute it well? If he doesn’t care about his team, how can he manage them effectively? And if he doesn’t care about his career, why the heck is he in project management in the first place? Give a damn, or get out.

6. Ignorance

Nobody can respect a leader who doesn’t know what’s going on. In an era of project management software, electronic calendars, and email notifications, this project management sin is inexcusable. If you don’t care enough to know what’s going on, then you’re probably also suffering from sin #5.

7. Selfishness

Leaders don’t have to be entirely selfless, but they do need to give a crap about other people. Keeping a selfish attitude is going to make you plenty of enemies within your organization—and even your team—and alienate you from the people who you’ll eventually call upon for help. No man is an island, especially in project management.

Image credit: RavenFire, Flickr

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