MSc Literature Review 02/2013

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:

  1. focus on talent development;
  2. support standardisation; and
  3. ensure alignment with organisation strategy.

My thoughts

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.


2 thoughts on “MSc Literature Review 02/2013

  1. Pingback: Weeknote 04/2013 | andystew

Share your thoughts and ideas...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s