In this post I’m focusing on PMI’s Pulse of the Profession™ – The High Cost of Low Performance.
The report is based upon the findings of a survey carried out by PMI’s Pulse of the Profession™ however there is very little detail about the survey and the respondents i.e. who are they and how many actually responded? Data visualisations are available via their website but I haven’t had a really good chance to explore this yet. At the time of writing it seems very much a replication of the figures represented in the report and summaries of each question. It would be great if they could just release the data, even if it was anonymised.
The report links to the findings of other reports which might be worth following up, in particular PWC’s third global survey on the current state of project management which states:
For this year’s survey, we asked participants if project management is critical to business performance and organisational success. As many as 97% of respondents agreed that project management is critical to business performance and organisational success and 94% agreed that project management enables business growth. (PCW, 2012)
Anyway, enough about complementary resources, what did this report have to say:
- Percentage of every dollar at risk = 13.5%. They demonstrate this as US$135m for every US$1bn invested in a project. I’m assuming this is to grab the reader’s attention?!
- High performers risk 2% whilst low performers risk 28%. Only 8% or respondents were considered higher performers i.e. 80% or more of their projects were delivered: on time; on budget; and met their goals. 22% of organisations were considered low performers i.e. 60% or fewer of their projects were delivered: on time; on budget; and met their goals.
- Portfolio, programme and project management (P3M) practices are not yet mature across the range of respondents. There’s no real explanation as to how they define mature P3M.
- There is a graph towards the end (p.11) that I think relates to P3M maturity. It mentions: ongoing PM training; process to mature PM; process to develop project managers; use of standardised practices; defined career path for project managers; PM maturity; C-Level Title; % of projects with active project sponsor; organisational agility; portfolio management maturity; benefits realisation maturity.
- On p.10 the report states “standardisation (sic) is also critical, as more organisations (sic) seek to innovate through partnerships with other entities that have historically been competitors”, however it does not state why. It then goes on to talk about open innovation but to me this seems a very tenuous link or at least it is from the way it is written. I’m not sure this can be taken into consideration.
- It does provide data highlighting projects are more likely to have better outcomes if they have an active project sponsor.
The report summarises by listing three key steps to minimise risk, aspects that set high performers apart from low performers i.e. they:
- focus on talent development;
- support standardisation; and
- ensure alignment with organisation strategy.
Despite my reservations about some of the claims on p.10 of the report linking standardised approaches to partnerships and open innovation I really enjoyed this report and felt it related more strongly to my research than KPMG New Zealand Project Management Survey 2010. I’m still unsure as to how they’re defining mature project management practices but it might be a case of getting in touch with them. I think it would be useful to help inform the kind of survey I might develop for UK higher education. Next steps are probably to follow up some of the reports referenced in this one.
The other slight nag I do have is that I’m reading reports written by project management professionals. It’s very much one-sided at the moment and it’s bound to bring out lots of positives relating to project management. It’s also got me thinking about who I aim my survey at. If I focus on those that are bought into project management practices are the results going to be biased? How do I define high performers across UK higher education? This reports focuses on organisations whose project success rates are high, I’m more interested in relating maturity to organisational performance. Lots to think about.
Following in the same vein as my weeknotes I thought it might be useful to collate my literature review notes. My proposal hasn’t been formally accepted but I want to make sure I can hit the ground running or at least have enough knowledge to adapt my proposal. With that in mind I asked the APM’s LinkedIn Group whether they felt there were any relevant resources worth looking at. The following is a summary of the KPMG New Zealand Project Management Survey 2010 and my thoughts reading it. I’ll review other resources mentioned in subsequent posts.
Carried out by the KPMG this survey was completed by almost 100 organisations (KPMG clients) from over 13 different sectors. The survey comprised 22 questions focusing on project governance; business case management; and benefits realisation. There are no appendices attached, it would have been useful to see all of the questions asked and the data received. Key messages include:
- Key drivers of project activity: introduce new products and services; support organisational change; and develop IT;
- 59% of organisations do not have a formal benefits measurement and realisation process;
- 68% of organisations do not formally undertake strategic reviews to track benefits realised by the business;
- 60% organisations fail to consistently align their projects with corporate strategy;
- 32% of organisations always initiate projects with a business case. The survey does highlight concerns that critical aspects are often missing or poorly presented;
- 29% consistently practice timely and accurate monitoring and reporting or projects; and
- 13% always take risk management into account.
The report also indicates that high performers coordinate projects through a Project Management Office (PMO); view their projects as part of a programme or portfolio; initiate projects with a full defined business case; and apply risk management.
…there are still organisations who are failing to benefit from effective project governance and alignment to organisational strategy.
I think the above quote, taken from p.9 of the survey, relates quite strongly to a comment made by John Townsend on my proposal regarding an organisation’s maturity in relation to project management. How well placed is the organisation to make best use of the various methodologies available? Understanding your organisation is essential and was a key consideration of a programme of work carried out by Jisc in 2002. The work explored the concept of Managed Learning Environments in UK Further and Higher Education. A publication developed by Jisc infoNet providing guidance to those developing an MLE focused an entire chapter on “understanding your organisation“.
One of the biggest difficulties for projects across UK Higher Education (HE), from my own experience, is in articulating and evidencing the benefits derived from a project. I think there are a number of reasons for this, relating to the survey findings: projects are initiated without a business case; they don’t have a formal benefits measurement and realisation process; and I’m not convinced they formally undertake strategic reviews.
The report talks of project success but in terms of my research I’m not sure that’s necessarily important. A project can be closed early and still have achieved certain benefits, and although the full range of benefits might not have been realised the organisation still learns from it. It doesn’t mean to say the project has been poorly managed. I’m more concerned with project management maturity and organisational performance. I was interested by the four items listed by the report that relate to the “high flyers” i.e. a PMO; programme/portfolio view; risk management; and initiation with a business case.