The project management profession would appear to be in a confused state!
PMI’s 2008 Pulse of the Profession survey shows improved performance from 2006 with over 55% of project completing on time and over 58% on budget. The survey also found a strong correlation between the project management maturity of the organisation and improved project outcomes.
Meanwhile, the new Standish Group report (April 23, 2009) shows a marked decrease in project success rates,
- 32% Successful (On Time, On Budget, Fully Functional) – worst in 5 years
- 44% Challenged (Late, Over Budget, And/Or Less than Promised Functionality)
- 24% Failed (Canceled or never used) – worst in 10 years
These numbers represent a downturn in the success rates from previous studies, as well as a significant increase in the number of failures.
Around the same time as PMI, Human Systems International Ltd and the Association for Project Management (APM – UK) conducted a survey. The results of this survey reported in the May 2009 edition of Project Manager Today which showed that whilst value realisation is a long way from satisfactory it is not as bad as Standish would suggest. The survey showed 48% of organisations do not measure benefits realisation and of the remaining around half achieve more than 80% of the expected benefit and 22% less than 60%.
It’s hard to know what to make of the conflicting data – superficially, it would appear that organisations that employ professional project management staff (APM and PMI members) do better then organisations overall. But even then, the results are not that good.
An alternative view may be the definition of a project with the APM & PMI membership being more focused than the Standish survey. For more on this see: What is a project?
The last alternative is IT projects (surveyed by Standish) are worse on average than projects in general.
Confused???? I certainly am. The real key seems to lie in the area of project management maturity. Maybe OPM3’s time has come at last?? (PMI’s Organizational Project Management Maturity Model).