Many organizations realize the right project, program and portfolio management practices give them a competitive edge. But there’s always more that can—and should—be done, according to PMI’s 2015 Pulse of the Profession®.
The latest edition of the annual trend report underscores that when it comes to executing strategy and avoiding waste, there’s no substitute for focusing on the basics. High-performing organizations embed a project management mindset in their culture. They focus on talent management by establishing training and knowledge transfer programs. And they support project, program and portfolio management through standardized practices and strategic alignment.
The payoff is clear: High-performing organizations meet their project goals two and a half times more often than their low-performing counterparts. They also wasted 13 times less money than low performers.
These are sobering figures—yet they shouldn’t be surprising. The 2015 Pulse finds a project landscape largely unchanged from years past.
Fifty-five percent of Pulse respondents say their organization fully understands the value of project management. That number has remained roughly the same since 2012, which means nearly half of organizations don’t see the payoff of creating a culture of project and program management.
Changing an organization’s culture sounds daunting, but the 2015 Pulse report suggests that rather than reinvent the wheel, organizations should go back to the basics. For example, practices that distinguish high performers from low performers include:
- Actively engaged executive sponsors (81 percent versus 45 percent)
- High alignment of projects and programs to the organization’s strategy (57 percent versus 29 percent)
- Standardized project management practices used throughout the organization (51 percent versus 14 percent)
Organizations won’t get far without solid talent management strategies. The 2014 PMI and Economist Intelligence Unit global survey Rally the Talent to Win: Transforming Strategy into Reality found that 40 percent of strategy implementation efforts are significantly held back by talent deficiencies. Yet only 28 percent of organizations provide a full suite of talent and development competencies for project managers, including training on tools and techniques, defined career paths and formal knowledge transfer processes, according to the 2015 Pulse.
CONTINUITY AND CHANGE
Across all organizations, the study finds that a number of fundamental practices remained consistent from 2014 to 2015. The frequency with which organizations use change management and project portfolio management practices, and the prevalence of project management offices (PMOs), remain unchanged. So, too, has the percentage of organizations reporting high project management maturity.
But the report also uncovered some significant shifts. There’s been a 63 percent rise in the number of organizations reporting a high level of benefits realization maturity since 2013. The use of agile/incremental/iterative project management practices also continues to grow: 38 percent of respondents say their organization uses them frequently, a rise of 8 percentage points since 2013.
With economies around the world still clouded in uncertainty, organizations don’t have a lot of room for error on their projects and programs. The need to efficiently meet strategic goals has arguably never been greater. While the 2015 Pulse of the Profession outlines a familiar route for staying ahead of the pack, it’s one that works. PM