Research Reveals the Project Management Challenges and Trends

Feb. 1, 2003
HAVERTOWN, PA (February 7, 2003) A survey conducted by the Center for Business Practices (CBP), the research arm of project management consultancy PM

HAVERTOWN, PA (February 7, 2003) — A survey conducted by the Center for Business Practices (CBP), the research arm of project management consultancy PM Solutions, reveals the latest project management challenges and trends facing executives of Global 2000 companies.

The survey, “Project Management: The State of the Industry,” polled 1,000 project professionals and senior-level executives representing Global 2000 companies in industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, and information technology.

Executives and project professionals report that their organization’s biggest project management challenges are developing a consistent approach to managing projects (23.9%) and allocating resources (19.7%). The next most common issue for companies is that they manage too many projects or the wrong projects (16.9%). Other challenges are project manager competency, economic pressures, and limited visibility of project activities.

According to survey respondents, the three most commonly implemented project management improvement initiatives are software tools (77.9%), methodology development (69.1%), and staff training (69.1%). Companies that implemented project management improvement initiatives spent an average of $712,000 on them annually.

“It’s clear from this survey that more and more companies value project management as an important element of business performance improvement,” says Jim Pennypacker, director of the CBP. “These findings are helpful in gauging what aspects of project management matter most to companies and where the industry, in general, is headed.”

Other key findings from the survey include:

Projects – Companies are implementing a variety of project types. In terms of complexity, 51.7% are considered complex or highly complex, with the majority (72.4%) lasting less than a year in duration.

Enterprise Project Management – According to the survey, more than half (59.7%) of companies manage projects at the enterprise-level. Additionally, 44.6% of companies have an established project office, a center of excellence for project managers and project management.

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) – PPM, the practice of project selection and prioritization, is considered important or very important to 49.3% of those surveyed. Most companies, however, are still at the low rungs of PPM maturity. Only 8.2% of respondents report having an enterprise-wide (Level 5) PPM process.

Value Measurement – The survey also reveals that 51.4% of organizations measure the value of their project management improvement initiatives. The metrics most commonly used to assess value are measured improvements in delivery dates and budgets (78.9%), bottom-line economics (65.8%), and product and/or service quality (57.9%).

Software – An overwhelming 95.6% of respondents report using Microsoft® Project as their primary project management software tool.

Outsourcing – Companies’ limited staff, technology, budgets, and other resources have persuaded more business decision makers to look at project management outsourcing. According to the survey, 54.2% of organizations have only 1-9 project managers on staff, and 25% have 10-25 project managers on staff. Of those surveyed, 39.2% of respondents say they outsource the project management function or are considering it.

The CBP “Project Management: The State of the Industry” survey was sent by mail to 1,000 subscribers of Projects@Work magazine. Seventy-four companies were represented in the survey findings.