Project Success is Improving – Why, Do You Think?
Project management has been around for decades, and so have studies on its effectiveness. The pattern in research over my years in the discipline clearly demonstrates that project success rates are improving. Despite the fact that I do believe that project success is improving, it made me ask, “What is success?”. Standish Group’s 2015 Chaos Report found the need to “redefine “project success from just being on time, on budget, to one that is on time, on budget, with a satisfactory result. This redefinition was to ensure project deliverables met stakeholder expectations and also added value to the organization.
Understanding this definition of success, I wanted to get some perspectives on what might be driving the increase of project success rates.
PMIs Pulse of the Profession 2017 Report proclaims that “Project success rates are rising. Organizations today are wasting an average of US $97 million for every US $1 billion invested – that’s a significant 20 percent decline from last year’s Pulse of the Profession findings.” The report determines that organizations are becoming more mature with project management and are distinguishing themselves by:
- Developing project management talent
- Managing project benefits
- Establishing Project Management Offices (PMOs)
- Driving executive sponsorship, and
- Addressing agile approaches
PM Solutions’ 2016 research clearly states” for companies seeking to improve their project and program execution, the message is clear: commit to the development of a PMO at the strategic level, work with the PMO as a partner in strategy formulation and execution, and dig in for the long haul.” Some of the 2016 summary findings concluded that
- The majority of firms (85%) have a PMO in place;
- PMOs are a strategic resource; there is a direct correlation between the age of the PMO and its capability;
- PMOs are now more likely to engage in tasks that impact strategic planning, governance, and portfolio management;
- PMOs in high-performing firms are far more likely to have a training program in place, and
- PMO staffs are highly experienced and almost half (45%) have PMPs.
I found numerous sites and articles that credit more successful projects due to engaging stakeholders, leveraging high impact leadership practices, identifying and removing internal obstacles; aligning metrics to guide decision making; using training and development strategies and focusing on business strategy and market.
What I took away from all of my “googling” of recent articles is that there is a thread that is woven in almost all articles regarding what is driving project success. PMOs for sure have had an impact. Engaging employees and training them are seen as critical. Aligning your projects with strategy is crucial. All of these key threads were mentioned and tied to the success of projects. What has been your experience in seeing more project success?