Flying Higher

Project Success Rates Are (Finally) on the Rise—And Are Giving Organizations Room to Grow

BY NOVID PARSI

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PHOTO BY LOVETHEWIND/ISTOCK

Organizations are getting back on track. A surge in project performance last year reversed years of lackluster results and helped more organizations gain a competitive edge, according to PMI's 2017 Pulse of the Profession®: Success Rates Rise: Transforming the high cost of low performance.

Organizations that invest in proven project management practices waste 28 times less money than organizations with poor project performance, according to the annual global survey of project management professionals, senior executives and project management office directors. The average waste of $97 million for every $1 billion invested due to poor project performance represents a 20 percent decrease—and thus improvement—compared to the 2016 Pulse report. (Figures are in U.S. dollar amounts, but represent a percentage that applies to any currency.) That's the lowest amount of money wasted in nine years of research.

But the gains don't stop there. For the first time in five years, there was an uptick in projects meeting their original goals and business intent and being completed within budget. Sixty-nine percent of projects fulfilled their original goals, and 57 percent stayed within budget, compared to 62 percent and 53 percent, respectively, the year before.

And there's another milestone in the latest Pulse. For the first time, the report adds a fourth criterion—benefits realization maturity—to measure project performance. Scope, budget and schedule are the other three. Organizations that excel in all four areas have a remarkably higher project success rate (92 percent) than underperforming organizations (33 percent).

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