Project Management Institute

Escaping Pilot Purgatory

Chasing Innovation Isn't Enough; Organizations Need Project Management To Make Test Projects Pay Off

Pilot projects can bridge the gap between a brilliant idea and a valuable product—but only if the bridge is successfully completed and built to scale. And in the age of disruption, that doesn't always happen for many organizations. Take internet of things (IoT), for instance. A 2017 study by McKinsey & Co. found that less than 30 percent of companies with IoT pilot projects had even started to scale. More than 80 percent of those projects were languishing in the pilot phase for more than a year. And for 28 percent of initiatives, the pilot project had dragged on for more than two years. Of course, pilot project purgatory can strike any industry. Glacial progress, an inability to scale, or an initiative that ends without clear success measures or next steps are universal risks project professionals encounter in today's fast-paced business environment.
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