PMI Credential Passport March 2014

Knowledge Zone

2014 Pulse of the Profession® Informs Successful Actions

Customer Influence Is a Key to Strategic Initiatives

PMI’s new Pulse of the Profession report reveals that now is the time for organizations to focus on improving project, program and portfolio management and its alignment to strategy.

The power of tech-savvy, informed customers will increase the importance of organizational agility and points to the need for additional strategic initiatives.

The Pulse research finds that 11 percent of every dollar spent on projects is lost. There are many ways organizations can improve their performance to reduce this risk of loss. And given the fast-changing marketplace and the slowly improving economy, now is the time to act.

Companies realize they should be performing better, but there still is a large gap between the desired state and the present one. The majority of projects (58 percent) are not highly aligned to organizational strategy. Nearly one half (44 percent) of strategic initiatives are unsuccessful. Only 15 percent of organizations report high agility.

People, Processes and Outcomes

The Pulse study finds that to increase success, organizations should focus on:

  • People: developing talent and practices for developing talent; effective knowledge transfer; managing employees through organizational change; ensuring that executive sponsors are in place to help drive organizational change
  • Processes: standardizing and maturing project, program and portfolio management practices
  • Outcomes: ensuring that a project’s outcome produces the projected benefits claimed by the business case

Given the state of today’s markets, high performers are more likely than low performers to be effective at change management, successfully moving the organization from the current to the desired future state and actively involving executive sponsors. Additionally, high performers are better at talent management, having ongoing training and formal processes to develop and mature their people.

Pulse distinguishes high performers versus low performers by combining the results of three key indicators:

  • Percentage of projects completed on time in the past 12 months
  • Percentage of projects completed within budget in the past 12 months
  • Percentage of projects successfully meeting their original goals and business intent

High performers are organizations that have 80 percent or more of their projects achieving all three measures. Low performers have 60 percent or fewer of their projects achieving all three measures.

The report also shows that high performers are significantly more likely than low performers to understand the value of project management; have a project management office; have standardized practices in place; and have high project, program and portfolio management maturity.

Regarding benefits realization, high performers effectively identify, measure and communicate the intended benefits of their projects and programs. Organizations highly mature in benefits realization average 73 percent of their strategic initiatives meeting goals and business intent, compared with 44 percent for organizations with low maturity in benefits realization.

The bottom line is that high performers report twice as many successful strategic initiatives as low performers, and they lose 12 times less money on failed projects.

Additionally, high performers are three times as likely as low performers (31 percent versus 9 percent) to have high levels of organizational agility. They are in a better position to adapt when new strategic initiatives are needed to address shifts in consumer demands and expectations that ultimately shape strategy.

The message of this Pulse research for organizations is that now is the time to focus on people, processes and outcomes. The economy is improving; consumers have become a key part of the executive suite’s agenda. This report suggests that focusing strategically on these three areas will lead to more successful strategic initiatives.

Visit to download the report.

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