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A Sneak Preview of Our New Study, The Adaptive Organization

Posted by Deborah Bigelow Crawford

Deborah Bigelow Crawford has more than 20 years of experience in business management and handles the operational and administrative functions of PM Solutions. Ms. Bigelow Crawford also serves as Co-CEO of the PM College®, PM Solutions' training division, where she is responsible for the fiscal management and quality assurance of all training and professional development programs. Prior to joining PM Solutions, she served as the Executive Director of the Project Management Institute (PMI), and was instrumental in providing the foundation and infrastructure for the exponential growth that the Institute has maintained over the last 10 years. In addition, she served as the Executive Director of the PMI Educational Foundation. Over the last decade, she has authored numerous articles in PM Network, Chief Project Officer, and Optimize magazines. Ms. Bigelow Crawford is also co-author of the book Project Management Essentials. She has presented a variety of papers as a speaker at international symposia and conferences, and is a member of the National Association of Female Executives and the Project Management Institute.

I was very excited to get the preliminary results of our newest research study, The Adaptive Organization: A Benchmark of Changing Approaches to Project Management. After my first read-through, I had some questions. Below is a short Q&A between myself and Jim Pennypacker, who works with our PM Solutions Research department on our studies.

Crawford: According to the findings, the percentage of organizations that use adaptive or hybrid is 84%.  Does that mean that 16% of those that responded only use predictive? 

Pennypacker: Yes, 16% of respondents only use predictive approaches and they were directed to exit the survey.

Crawford: So, it looks like the percentage of projects that use predictive is still the highest, and they also have the highest capability. Even though the percentage of organizations that use adaptive or hybrid is 84%, the number of projects that just use predictive is still the most used approach -- am I reading that correctly?

Pennypacker: Yes, the percentage of projects that use predictive approaches is still the highest and organizations are more capable at using predictive approaches than adaptive or hybrid. And yes, organizations that use adaptive or hybrid approaches still use predictive approaches in more projects.

Crawford: One area where there might by some confusion is where the survey scores capabiltiy. When we looked at the capability of the organizations that use each of the approaches, Predictive scores 3.8 on a 5-point scale, where 5 is the most capable; Hybrid scores (3.3); Adaptive scores (3.1). So far so good. But then on the next page, it says the percentage of organizations that rate capability of approaches, Predictive showed 68% as opposed to 39% for Hybrid and 33% for Adaptive. 

Can you clarify?

Pennypacker Sure. The first question gives you the overall rating of organization’s capability in using the three approaches. The second question gives you the percentage of organizations that are especially capable, rating themselves at 4 or 5 in capability. It’s clear that organizations see themselves as much more capable at using predictive approaches.

Crawford : My gut feel for these results is that most organizations are trying adaptive and hybrid, but are not very mature and experiencing a learning curve (which makes sense).  Can you give a summary of what these results are telling us?

Pennypacker: I think your gut feeling is right – companies are trying adaptive and hybrid but most aren’t mature (most are at level 2 or 3) and they’re mostly still learning. It should be noted, as well, that the 84% figure is doubtless pretty high for the general population of organizations. Any study attracts those who are most interested in the topic … in this case, people from organizations that are implementing adaptive approaches.

Look for the release of the complete findings soon!

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