The State of Project Management is our annual research project run in conjunction with University College London. You’ll have to wait until May for the final 2019 report, but here’s a taster with some fascinating facts about our industry.

According to The State of Project Management 2018 Report 42% of projects are run by “professional” Project Managers, leaving a higher portion to subject matter experts (SMEs), the “accidental project manager”. The 2019 State of Project Management Report tells us that 53% of respondents are somewhat or very dissatisfied with the current level of project management maturity in their organisation. It also tells us that the number one challenge for organisations is “poorly trained Project Managers”.

Does this lack of maturity and use of SMEs impact our ability to deliver projects on time, for the right price, to the right level of quality? Well, the project performance data certainly has room for improvement with 34.5% admitting projects are never or sometimes completed on time, 40% never or sometimes completed on budget and 37% stating benefits are never or sometimes achieved.

Oddly over 50% also perceive their organisation has a track record of project success.

If we look at some simple indicators of PPM maturity, how many of us are doing these “most of the time” or “always”?

  • Apply a defined PPM methodology = 59%
  • Create a scoping document (PID, PMP or similar) during planning = 58%
  • Undertake some risk management = 62%
  • Actively use a project schedule = 67%
  • Baseline a schedule to compare against actual performance = 44%

Turning these stats on their head paints a bleaker picture and shows much room for improvement even amongst those organisations interested enough to get involved in a large piece of research on project management!

So we need to train our Project Managers, even the SME ones? Absolutely! We need to improve our project management maturity? Always! Organisations need a champion for best practice project management and in the ever expanding world of superhero’s it’s time to welcome the PMO, complete with cape and badly positioned pants. 83% or organisations that are engaged in project management have one or more PMOs. The largest growth area in terms of responsibilities of PMOs in the last couple of years has been Project Manager training and mentoring.

Looking to the future, two thirds of PMOs believe their scope and responsibilities will increase, but their size in terms of FTEs will not rise in proportion. This suggests PMOs need to increase productivity; do more with no more people. How can we achieve these goals of improved project management maturity, driven by the PMO, who themselves need to increase productivity? We need some very good tools. A Project and Portfolio Management (PPM solution) is that tool.

A PPM tool should enable us to focus on high value activities, letting us automate where possible. A shocking 24% of respondents for The State of Project Management Report 2019 said they spent more than two days a month manually collating project status information. Two days a month! This time sapping activity affects both Project Managers and PMOs. It’s time to work smarter. Much smarter.

Consider your organisation. How would you compare to this industry data? Are you ahead of the curve or is this an opportunity to make some improvements?

Look out for The State of Project Management 2019 Report being published next month!

By Vince Hines, Wellingtone PPM