Project Management

PMI’s Pulse of the Profession 2018: Success in Disruptive Times

PMI’s Pulse of the Profession lives up to its name, providing a crisp snapshot of the project management profession every year. This time around, they surveyed 4,455 project management practitioners, 447 senior executives, and 800 PMO directors across industries and continents. Among other things, they found that 9.9 percent of every dollar is wasted on poor project performance. But it is not all bad news.

The Shape of Projects Today

The numbers actually vacillate in places. A substantial 93 percent of organizations use standardized project management practices of some kind, but only 58 percent fully understand project management’s value. Seventy-one percent of organizations have found more agility over the last five years, but only one in three reports high benefits realization maturity.

PMI makes distinctions in its respondents according to their performance levels; “champions” are those who successfully complete 80 percent or more of their projects to business expectations, and “underperformers” are those who only complete 60 percent or fewer of their projects. The champions are more likely to be doing well with three top drivers of project success identified: (1) investing in actively engaged executive stakeholders, (2) avoiding scope creep or uncontrolled changes to a project’s scope, and (3) maturing value delivery capabilities.

The report also delves into how the nature of project management is changing amid technological and cultural shifts. One of their findings is that value delivery will soon become the result of a wide web of approaches intersecting, “predictive, iterative, incremental, agile, hybrid, and whatever will come next to change how we work.” How companies creatively optimize their different approaches will be a major business differentiator heading into the future. PMI also discusses the nature of the “gig economy,” which is the idea that people are increasingly choosing to work one-off/freelance jobs instead of settling into permanent positions. PMI sees the gig economy as a direct reflection of how business is becoming more project-oriented. Whether that is good or bad is debatable.

And of course, the report touches on some of the obvious things we hear every year too, such as that technical skills are not enough to thrive in project management, etc. But they go a little further with it, discussing the impact of project managers on digital disruption:

The dynamic, rapidly changing, complex business environment continues to emphasize the need for excellence in project, program, and portfolio management. We see that more than half of champions feel digital transformation will have a major impact on work … . Just over one in four respondents mentioned the ability to learn, understand, apply, and keep up with technology as the most-needed skill for project managers to respond to the impacts of the digital transformation. Other skills include communication (22%); leadership and management skills (18%); and change management, adaptability, and flexibility (12%). As a result, organizations will recognize the value of project and program managers who are versatile, experienced, and skilled.

For many more insights and data into the project management profession, you can view the full report here:

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