Expert survey on state and trends of project management
PM study Germany and PM world study
Shorter project life cycles, increased project complexity, a greater degree of interdisciplinary work and internationalisation and globalisation of projects necessitate more frequent and advanced use of project management. In business processes, project management is used to different extents and organised in alternative ways. As a result, project managers have long expressed a demand for more knowledge of the reality of project work and for harmonisation between academic theory and business practice.
The expert survey on state and trends of project management (“PM Study Germany”) tackled these issues successfully in Germany under the leadership of the Institute for Project Management and Innovation IPMI of the University of Bremen in conjunction with the Project Management business field of Volkswagen Coaching GmbH and the PM consultancy ORBITAK (Bremen). The research project explored the very complex analysis field “project management in German business practice” from several points of view. Various methods of investigation were used to obtain information for this purpose:
- Secondary analysis (evaluation of available studies),
- Expert workshop (hypothesis development within a group of invited PM-experts),
- Qualitative survey (60 experts, presence interview, oriented on a interview guideline),
- Quantitative survey (250 experts, telephone interviews, well-structured questionnaire),
- Feedback evaluation (by the team).
The research project “PM Study Germany” was the logical consequence of a series of practical empiric research studies the IPMI carried out with academic and business partners in the last decade (Exhibit 1).
Exhibit 1: empirical research projects (selection) of IPMI
The “PM-World-Study” is a global approach and the continuation and Extension of the “PM Study Germany” - using the same proven methodology. This research global project is in progress under the leadership of the Institute for Project Management and Innovation IPMI (Germany) along with other academic and business partners from various countries of all continents.
Because of the limitations of paper presentations on the PMI congress, this paper will show very selected results of the PM Study Germany (Dworatschek, S., Schmidt, K., Kruse, A., Preuschoff, A. et al, 2002).
We hope to attract congress attendants to take part in the survey of the PM-World-Study.
PM-World-Study can be found on the Internet under www.pm-world-study.com; please contact us.
Selected results of PM-Study Germany
An integrated evaluation of project management literature and the opinions of many interviewed project managers from different branches prepared the basic for the PM-Study Germany. The study describes various states of development and maturity of project management in practice, as well as factors required for successful project management. In addition, the opportunities and limitations of standardised project management concepts as well as the future-role of project management are demonstrated. Relevance and impact of top management support and user-friendly software tools and IT-aids are presented - as the experienced project managers are asking for.
The study shows that important reasons (including the complexity of the project, increasing time pressure, internationalisation of co-operative relationships, new user sectors) will necessitate and promote the increased use of project management in daily work. Project management will be more and more a “management concept” and a “approved methodology“. The assumption of the study, namely that project work is used to different extents and organised in alternative ways in practice, can be underpinned and clarified by the analysis.
Main reasons for the introduction of Project Management
The most important reasons for introducing project management were identified in the in-depth interviews in the qualitative phase. The 250 interviewees of the quantitative phase were asked to evaluate the importance of these seven reasons: (Exhbit 2)
- Increasing complexity of projects:
Projects are becoming more complex, less linear, more international.
- Time pressure for projects:
Ever faster completion of projects is nowadays expected and time-scales are becoming ever shorter.
- Increasing number of projects:
The number of projects which a specific number of people have to manage is continuously growing.
- Quality aspects:
Higher quality project output is expected nowadays.
- Market pressure / pressure from competitors:
The market and competitors are setting new standards and as a result the introduction of project management is becoming a necessity.
- Image of modernity:
Project management is modern and in vogue.
- Employee motivation:
Employees today need project work for their motivation.
- New board:
A new board decides to introduce project management.
Exhibit 2: Main Reasons for the introduction of PM
Benefits of Project Management
The benefits of using project management were touched upon in the workshop with experts and also in the in-depth interviews. By benefit we generally mean how a company can profit from applying project management. The main benefits identified were as follows: (Exhibit 3)
- Greater project transparency:
The possible options for solving a planned task are increased and become more transparent and the roles of those involved and the objectives become clearer.
- Improved project control:
The creation of transparency by status determination enables integrated control and enables partial results to be communicated.
- More active project monitoring:
By demanding results, projects and programmes can be efficiently structured by the management.
- More effective communication:
By being based at the factual level, focus on facts.
- Greater entrepreneurship:
Delegation of responsibilities and creating motivation, high identification at the employee level.
Exhibit 3: Benefits of Project Management
Key elements for the introduction of Project Management
The key elements for the introduction and implementation of project management show how important a number of factors are considered to be by the experts for the introduction of project management: (Exhibit 4)
- Support of top management:
How important is it for the introduction of project management that the top-management supports the responsible persons or departments?
- Use of methods:
How important is it for the introduction of project management that the right company-specific methods are defined and made available (“customised”)?
- Training and/or courses:
How important is it for the introduction of project management that relevant training and courses take place?
- Organisation structure:
How important is it for the introduction of project management that an appropriate organisation structure is present?
- Advanced software:
How important is it for the introduction of project management that the right software is used?
Exhibit 4: Key Factors for Implementation of PM
Types for Project Management application
From the qualitative and quantitative analysis it was attempted to form a sector-independent, practically relevant typology for project management with three types (A, B, C).
Implementations and applications of project management are taken into account in different ways:
- Type A: “PM-islands“,
use project management in selective situations and based on individuals.
Project management is little accepted and is only partly understood and supported by top management.
- Type B “Efficient large projects“,
use project management at an operative level for many tasks.
Project management is understood by top management, but due to the presence of a strict hierarchy there is still potential for conflicts within the organisation.
- Type C “Agile market followers“,
use project management as a competitive advantage to control recognised complexity.
Project management is understood and used at virtually all levels of the hierarchy.
The analysis showed that a large percentage of those surveyed belong to type A ”PM-islands“. A portion of the surveyed companies come from the classical area for project management, namely type B “Efficient large project managers“. Companies belonging to type C “Agile market followers“ have experienced how project management, with the strong support of the board, can bring about a strategic competitive advantage.
Success Factors for Project Management
Successful project management has several dimensions and is only partly defined by the fundamental project objectives in accordance with the magic triangle (performance, schedule/time,, costs). There are other levels on which the success of project management can be dependent, but being soft factors these are difficult to measure. In order to determine the success factors for project management the following were therefore used: (Exhibit 5)
- Companies that have introduced project management very successfully, supplemented by
- the secondary analysis and
- the statements from the in-depth interviews.
Seven success factors for project management were derived from these elements. Of course, the investigation of the operative project management and the process analysis were at the centre of this analysis. But additionally the determination of the conditions had to be observed which allow a lasting project management culture to survive within the company and hence have direct influence on successful process organisation:
Exhibit 5: Success Factors for PM
The national PM study was successfully presented in June 2002 in Berlin - on the 16th PM-world congress of the IPMA International Project Management Association. The feedback and response on the PM Study Germany, was very positive and encouraging – including from international participants; many participants asked for an international investigation. Based on the experience with the German study an extension to a “global level” has been initiated - using the same proven methodology. The process has been started already. Together with research partners from countries of all continents the web survey has been initiated on www.pm-world-study.com. We thank our sponsors and partners and hope to extend the “family of participants” too.
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Proceedings of PMI® Global Congress 2003 – North America
Baltimore, Maryland, USA ● 20-23 September 2003