Work Location Does Not Impact Effectiveness of Project Performance, Finds New Research from Project Management Institute

PHILADELPHIA

To move the needle, PMI Pulse of the Profession® 2024 Report finds organizations are better off investing in specific support programming for teams and individuals

To examine if work location really drives project performance Project Management Institute (PMI), the world's leading authority for project professionals, published its 15th annual Pulse of the Profession® report, The Future of Project Work: Moving Past Office-Centric Models. The survey results of 2,246 project professionals and 342 senior leaders around the world provide compelling evidence that organizations can provide work location flexibility, agility, and empowerment without affecting project execution and performance.

Since COVID-19 transformed the world of work nearly four years ago, there has been much debate about the most effective work arrangement, and many studies have attempted to argue the negatives of remote work outweigh the positives. However, data from the report suggests organizations that bring employees back into the office will likely not see a significant improvement in project performance, especially considering the negative impact this could have on employee morale and retention, as well as operational costs.

Rather, organizations should focus on empowering flexibility that optimizes team collaboration, innovation, agility and efficiency. And they can do so without worrying about negative impacts on project performance. For many teams, that is a fit-for-purpose, hybrid management approach – one that blends both agile and predictive tools and methods. Organizations need to create an environment of continuous learning and support that makes this possible.

“This report underscores the importance of organizations not only reevaluating their work location policies and optimizing how they operate, but also prioritizing the development of essential skills within project teams to enhance their adaptability," stated Pierre Le Manh, President & Chief Executive Officer of PMI. "Empowering project professionals and teams with the autonomy to determine and implement the most appropriate ways of working —irrespective of their physical location—positions them for greater success in navigating uncertainties, evolving business landscapes, emerging challenges, and project demands."

Enabling Teams Drives Project Performance
The research found that enablers – specific supportive programming that helps individuals and teams learn new skills and competencies – play a much larger role in driving project performance than work location. In fact, providing teams with enablers is crucial in today’s dynamic business environment to navigate the demands for flexibility and agility.

The three most common enablers organizations provide are coaching and mentoring, training on new ways of working, and communities of practice to share knowledge and expertise. Organizations that offer employees at least three enablers reported significantly higher project performance rates. However, those that do not offer any enablers were more likely to experience scope creep challenges and increase budget losses on failed projects.

Choosing the Right Project Management Approach is Table Stakes
Another theme the research identified is the rise in hybrid management frameworks, and how they have gained more ground across all sectors and types of projects. Since 2020, there has been a 57.5% increase of survey respondents reportedly using hybrid approaches.

Its growing popularity demonstrates that organizations see the advantages of using different approaches and of combining practices, tools, and techniques to get the job done. And since average project performance remains relatively uniform regardless of the adopted approach, this validates that organizations should branch out when considering what skills development opportunities to offer individuals and teams.

To learn more about the future of project work, read the full report here.

About Project Management Institute (PMI)

PMI is the leading authority in project management, committed to advancing the project management profession to positively impact project success. We empower professionals to excel in project management practices through our growing global community, knowledge sharing, and best-in-class certifications—driving positive change in organizations and communities. Since 1969, our unwavering mission has been to advocate for the profession by offering life-long learning and connections to sharpen high-demand skills. Today, PMI provides professionals at every stage of their career journey with the globally recognized standards, online courses, thought leadership, events, and tools they need to succeed. With more than 300 chapters around the world, PMI members can network, find mentors, access career opportunities, and learn from peers, working together to drive greater impact.

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