Project management bottle is half-empty

Only 2.5 per cent of global businesses achieve 100 per cent project success and over half of global business projects fail, says a new survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers

Superior business performance is dependent on project management maturity levels according to the survey called Boosting Business

Performance through Programme and Project Management. Yet, of survey respondents, 51 per cent are at maturity levels 1 and 2 and only 13 per cent achieve level 5, the highest rating.

There are fundamental changes companies need to undertake in the way they launch and implement new projects to achieve success, said Richard Noble, director of project management services with PwC’s Advisory Practice.

Good project management is not just about using a new software tool kit. Companies need to manage project budgets, time, and drive out the project’s intended business benefits for example reduced operation costs and improved market share.

Doing so can materially impact top and bottom lines.

The PwC survey focused on 200 organizations, both large and small, in 30 different countries and from a broad range of industries. It is the first such survey to address the issue of project management maturity on an international scale.

Altogether, the 200 participants represented some 10,640 pending projects, at a total estimated value of $7.2 billion.

On a scale of one to five, the overall average project maturity rate for respondents was 2.5. Only 2.5 per cent of the companies completed 100 per cent of their projects on time, within budget, to scope and with the right business benefits. This accounts for only 254 projects out of the estimated 10,640 projects undertaken by the companies surveyed.

More than 50 per cent of the survey respondents projects actually failed.

The survey also found that 60 per cent of respondents are dissatisfied with their current maturity level. One-third of the businesses questioned said they hoped to advance at least two levels. Only nine businesses said they were happy to stay at Level 1. The desire to improve is driven by an increased recognition that successful projects directly contribute to an organization’s performance, competitiveness and stakeholder value in both the private and public sectors. Also boards of directors and management must get involved.

If they don’t keep tabs and benchmark their performance, projects can peter out and fail, says Noble.

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