The State of Project Management 2020 Report will be published in January, but the data is in so let’s take a quick look at some of the headlines.

We’ve included some ‘food for thought’ for you to ponder over the Christmas break. Well it can’t be all mince pies and presents can it?  Maybe.

Now in its fifth year, The State of Project Management Report provides a snapshot for all of us into PPM. This year saw participation from 111 organisations with engagement from 29 countries.

It is important that we all look beyond our own organisation, and in fact beyond our borders to gain a truly global perspective on our industry and the latest thinking.


One headline trend is the growth of the PMO. 90% of organisations state having one ore more PMOs (50% have more than one).

We still find that a quarter of these are relatively new, being less than 2 years old.  So what does the typical PMO do?

Well, the top 6 activities include:

  • Project status reporting
  • Maintaining the portfolio list
  • Maintaining the PM methodology & templates
  • Facilitating the project approval process
  • Providing project management expertise
  • Facilitating lessons learned

We have found the PMO is becoming more and more involved in supporting, mentoring or training those asked to run a project.  The PMO is more of a ‘centre of excellence’ providing expertise & guidance to the organisation as a whole in terms of best practice project management and adherence to the defined PPM methodology.

Looking into 2020 and beyond most respondents see their PMO getting larger (57%) but the scope of services increasing at a much higher rate (72%).

In line with this, 71% see the perceived value of their PMO increasing.

Over three quarters of respondents see an increase in the percentage of people needing to gain project management skills, with similar numbers seeing the volume of work identified as a project increasing. This is significant. The role of the PMO and project management will become more and more valuable to organisations.

Project Management Maturity

  • 61% of organisations mostly or always apply a defined PPM methodology
  • 60% of organisations mostly or always create a scoping document as part of a planning stage
  • 60% of organisations mostly or always apply risk management on projects
  • 72% of organisations mostly or always actively use project schedules as part of managing projects

The numbers are steadily increasing year on year for these characteristics of mature project management.

Interestingly the number of participants that report being somewhat or very satisfied with the PPM maturity in their organisation remains relatively static at 36%. At the other end of the spectrum, 52% report being somewhat or very dissatisfied with maturity.

Our view is that this reflects wider, increasing knowledge of what mature or ‘good’ PPM is, and what it is not.

Practitioners looking beyond their organisation have real awareness of where their organisation stands, and where it should be.

Every organisation should have a defined, practical, scalable PPM methodology. This guides the selection, planning, running and closing of all projects and their governance.

So, food for thought for your Christmas break; does your organisation have a defined PPM methodology and is it applied?

PPM Processes

Participants report the three most difficult PPM Processes to embed are:

  • Benefits Realisation
  • Resource Management
  • Project prioritisation

Benefits Realisation has been cited as one of the most difficult processes to embed for many years. Every project should have a clear benefits case. Why are we doing this rather than something else?

These benefits could be financial, or non-financial (e.g. legal compliance, reputation, employee satisfaction) but should then be monitored by the Project Management & owned by the Sponsor throughout the life cycle.

A project that looks like it will not deliver its benefits might need to be cancelled or significantly re-scoped. Once a project finishes then the team disbands.  Who should then monitor benefits?

The Sponsor should still own them, but a practical solution is for the PMO to take over benefits tracking. These should be reported as part of the value-added services a PMO provides to their organisation.

So, food for thought; does your PMO maintain a benefits tracking log?

Efficiency in Monthly Reporting

The classic PMO activity is to produce a monthly reporting pack for senior decision makers. Here we find the PMO nagging PMs for their report every month to create an impressive slide deck.

The prize this year goes to a client that created a 150 slide deck each month, yes…150 slides!

A third of respondents reporting spending a day or more each month creating manual reporting decks, with another third dedicating a day to this activity.

We need to be much more efficient.  Only ⅓ of organisations suggested they had access to real time project KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) so what about everyone else?

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, our strong recommendation is to lever Microsoft PowerBI for easy to use data rich dashboards. MS PowerBI can report on data from most data sources, from MS Excel & MS Project Online to many other third-party applications.

Our favourite is to pull actual project cost data from a finance system and forecast cost data from Microsoft Project Online schedules, providing decision makers with the full picture of actual and forecast costs against budget within one chart in Microsoft PowerBI.

So, your food for thought?  Look at how much time you are spending each month manually creating reports.  If you automated this process how much time would you save?

Wouldn’t it also be so much better to give senior decision makers access to this data anytime they wanted, rather than waiting for the end of the month, when frankly, the data is out of date anyway.

This article touches on some of the headlines from The State of Project Management 2020 Report. We will be publishing the full report in January 2020 and it will be freely available to download from our web site.

Look out for this in the New Year, and in the meantime you have something to ponder over the Christmas break.

Contact us for more info about The State os Project Management and visit our YouTube channel to review the last webinars.

Merry Christmas!