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20 Surprising Project Management Statistics

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Update: 9/26/2016: Project management statistics aren’t stagnant. We’ve updated this post with 20 (instead of the original 14) surprising project management statistics so that this list stays up to date.

The project management landscape is changing.

With an increased emphasis on efficiency, reporting, and a newfound stress on the information technology industry, being a project manager today is radically different than being a project manager in 2005.

With the changes in the industry, it’s easy to lose track of how often projects fail, what that can cost companies, and how the PM role has changed. Below are 20 surprising statistics that reveal how project management is performing across industries.

1.Over 1 in 3 (34%) projects have no baseline. (Source: Wellingtone) <<Tweet this stat

2.For every $1 billion invested in the United States, $122 million was wasted due to lacking project performance. (Source: PMI.org) <<Tweet this stat

3. 75% of business and IT executives anticipate their software projects will fail. (Source: Geneca<<Tweet this stat

dilbertsteamingpileoffailure

4. 50% of all Project Management Offices (PMOs) close within just three years. (Source: KeyedIN<<Tweet this stat

5. Fewer than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and on budget over the past year. (Source: Standish Group<<Tweet this stat

6. Barely over half (56%) of project managers are certified. (Source: Wrike<<Tweet this stat

project management certification

Source: Wrike

7. An astounding 97% of organizations believe project management is critical to business performance and organizational success. (Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers<<Tweet this stat

8. The median salary for project managers is $87,500 in the U.S. (Source: Glassdoor<<Tweet this stat

9. 80% of project management executives don’t know how their projects align with their company’s business strategy. (Source: Changepoint) <<Tweet this stat

10. 33% of projects fail because of a lack of involvement from senior management. (Source: University of Ottawa<<Tweet this stat

11. Businesses identified “capturing time/costs against projects” as their biggest project management challenge. (Source: The Access Group<<Tweet this stat

project managemetn 2

Source: TheAccessGroup

12. Reliability, ease of use, and ease of integration are the top three requirements project managers look for when shopping for software. (Source: The Access Group<<Tweet this stat

13. PRINCE2 is the least-popular project management methodology among project managers. (Source: PMI) <<Tweet this stat

14. 44% of project managers use no software, even though PWC found that the use of commercially available PM software increases performance and satisfaction. (Source: Pricewaterhouse Coopers<<Tweet this stat

15. Two-thirds of companies are communicating with clients using project management software. (Source: Capterra)<<Tweet this stat

16. Project managers were 13% less likely to use story mapping tools in 2014 than in 2013. (Source: VersionOne<<Tweet this stat

User_Story_Map_in_Action

17. 75% of IT executives believe their projects are “doomed from the start.” (Source: Geneca<<Tweet this stat

18. High-performing organizations successfully complete 89% of their projects, while low performers complete only 36%. (Source: PMI.org)<<Tweet this stat

19. 63% of companies defer to executives to decide when to eliminate or put off a project. (Source: InformationWeek)<<Tweet this stat

20. 49% of organizations have a project management training program in place. (Source: PM Solutions<<Tweet this stat

More project management statistics?

What other statistics do you think are relevant to the PM industry is it continues to evolve? Add them in the comments below!

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About the Author

Rachel Burger

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Rachel is a content manager for Capterra, a free online resource that quickly matches businesses to their software needs. She specializes in project management tips, tools, and tricks . She also runs her own blog on content marketing. On the rare occasion Rachel isn't writing, she's reading, hiking, jogging, or spending time with her friends and family.

Comments

The 1st stat you share is misleading. One in six projects does not have cost overruns of 200% and a schedule overrun of 70%. But one in six of the 1,471 projects studied by the authors did. You should make the clarification or removed the stat in good conscience.

Source: http://hbr.org/2011/09/why-your-it-project-may-be-riskier-than-you-think/ar/1

“We examined 1,471 projects”
“Fully one in six of the projects we studied was a black swan”

Thanks for your comment, Scot! A sample size of over 1,000 is a good representation of IT projects.

Hi Rachel, A nice compilation of stats. There have been some misgivings about the CHAOS reports but we have to go with stats.

BR,
Praveen Malik
http://www.pmbypm.com

[…] aren’t using suitable project management techniques. In fact, according to Standish Group, less than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and on budget in the last […]

One significant contributor to numbers 1 and 5 on your list is optimism bias on the part of individuals who create schedule or budget estimates. The second factor contributing to late completions and over-budget completions is a failure to include the effects of risk in the project schedule and budget.

For example, if one simply uses a three-point estimate (as in PERT) to specify task duration the tendency is for the estimator to select the Most Likely value based on a degree of optimism – which is also echoed in the Best Case estimate. Consequently if one computes the critical path using the “best case” values one will inevitably come up with an optimistic estimate of duration. Since many project costs are labor driven, the underestimated duration translates into an underestimated cost. When reality sets in these costs are often overrun.

The better approach is to compute an unweighted mean of the triangular formed by the three estimates (Best Case + Most Likely + Worst Case) divided by 3. This is the value that should be used in computing schedule and cost. My research shows that using the most likely value creates an estimate that is less than 50% likely to be achieved whereas the mean value tends to be closer to 50 percent likely.

There are techniques to reduce optimism bias such as ensuring you always ask for the most likely value first than ask for the other two values and the Delphi approach.

Look for my upcoming article on this estimating technique to create better estimates in the upcoming edition (Fall 2015) of the Journal of Contract Management.

How about a statistic on the percentage of projects which become obsolete before delivery? Perhaps what makes them obsolete and how many are completed and how many are abandoned.

[…] point to a majority failure in achieving the initial target. According to Standish Group, less than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time, and on budget over the past […]

[…] says M in the Bond film Spectre. It is the nature of glass to break. It is the nature of projects to fail. It is the nature of people to overreact. Some things are risky in and of […]

[…] Only half of project managers are certified. (Source: capterra) […]

[…] alarming facts about project management and why projects fail […]

[…] on the research, project failures can reach up to 68% which is staggering but not surprising when you look at the reasons. Some of high profile failures in the Irish arena include the health service failed payroll and […]

[…] that’s an important quality. Finally, the onerous task of submitting paper approvals—something 55 percent of people claim is a major hindrance to project completion—can be done with a tap on a […]

[…] management is vital to completing important tasks 97% of people asked about its importance to productivity, think it is critical to business performance […]

[…] as. When a company has a new IT solution brought in, the statistics are that these change projects fail 70% of the time or […]

[…] recently came across this really interesting blog containing project management stats that most people would not want their CFO to see. Why? Because projects are a gamble. And CFOs, as a rule, don’t like to […]

[…] on the research, project failures can reach up to 68% which is staggering but not surprising when you look at the reasons. Some of high profile failures in the Irish arena include the health service failed payroll and […]

[…] Two-thirds of companies are communicating with clients using project management software (Capterra). It’s never been easier to digitally assign tasks, set deadlines and reminders, manage your […]

[…] shameless recruitment aside, project management stats convey that no less than 97% of all organizations believe that this practice is critical for success in the business world. This makes competent […]

[…] to statistics, a bit more than 12 percent of money invested in business was a waste because of poor project performance. Keeping the team efficient is key to success and […]

[…] 68% of IT projects fail. This isn’t so surprising when we learn that according to Capterra as many as 75% of IT executives believe their projects are “doomed from the […]

[…] wonder that 62% of businesses believe that understanding how much time and money a project costs them is their #1 project […]

[…] “Fewer than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and on budget over the past year” as per Capterra. […]

Two-thirds of all projects fail, as a standard in the Project Management industry.

[…] astounding 80% of project management executives don’t know how their projects align with their company’s business strategy. A nonexistent plan […]

[…] that’s an important quality. Finally, the onerous task of submitting paper approvals—something 55 percent of people claim is a major hindrance to project completion—can be done with a tap on a […]

[…] to project management statistics published on Capterra, most of the organizations (97% of them) agree that project management is an important factor in […]

[…] shameless recruitment aside, project management stats convey that no less than 97% of all organizations believe that this practice is critical for success in the business world. This makes competent […]

[…] Capterra Project Management Blog.  (viewed in 2017)  https://blog.capterra.com/surprising-project-management-statistics/ […]

[…] is no wonder that 68% to 70% of technology projects fail. Or that every day, major organizations report that their data was exploited, […]

[…] 14 Surprising Project Management Statistics […]

[…] Statistics show that the biggest project management challenge facing most businesses (62%) is capturing time/costs against projects. […]

1. What percentage of projects use external contract project managers (not from customer or development team)?
2. What is the project success rate when using external project managers not from the same organization that is providing the development team.

I believe you will see a higher success rates bc the PM is not tied to dev team or to the customer. Less chance of organizational political influence or hiding project issues.

[…] Statistics show that the biggest project management challenge facing most businesses (62%) is capturing time/costs against projects. […]

[…] experienced project manager to take the helm of their next high-priority project. According to a 2016 PWC survey, more than 97 percent of organizations consider project management crucial to their business’ […]

Any body can tell about the standard success rate of any project (in percentage %)

[…] so, you’ll definitely want to seek out effective project management advice. Research shows that for every $1 billion invested in the US, $122 million has been wasted because of poor project […]

[…] time/costs against projects” as their biggest project management challenge. (Source: The Access Group) Having a realistic understanding of time and resource requirements can address this […]

Project Managers don’t actually cut any code. If you have a 100 PM’s managing a monkey with a paintbrush you aren’t going to produce a Rembrant. Success and failure is entirely due to the experience of the Technical Architect and coders. PM’s are superfluous really, apart from reporting the state of the project. Managers always muck it up because they think Application development is intuitive. It isn’t. Most of the correct decisions are counter-intuitive. Thats why you have to have fallen in those man traps to avoid them in future. Experience is everything, and manager who opt for youth get burnt. Other project fail because big business is involved. Then get a dozen lawyers to draft contract and prevent blow-back. Then spend 5% of budget on coders knowing its going to fail, but they will make a profit regardless.

[…] experienced project manager to take the helm of their next high-priority project. According to a 2016 PWC survey, more than 97 percent of organizations consider project management crucial to their business’ […]

[…] Capterra: 20 Surprising Project Management Statistics […]

[…] The nature of the industry. Statistics for successful project delivery are not encouraging, with less than one-third being completed successfully. But, after getting in the trenches with these guys and seeing what […]

[…] 31% of companies interviewed by the Access Group claimed that low visibility of particular human resources in the organisation is a big challenge they struggle with. […]

[…] 31% of companies interviewed by the Access Group claimed that low visibility of particular human resources in the organisation is a big challenge they struggle with. Using a resource scheduling, leave management, and time tracking tool in our company proved extremely beneficial. Not only did it help us save money, but it also allowed us to better plan and manage the ongoing and future projects. This is also important for keeping employees happy, Zbigniew Czarnecki says: […]

[…] Internet is filled with statistics on the matter – just take a look at these stats compiled by Capterra – some of the more popular ones include that less than a third of projects is successfully […]

It would be good to know what percentage of all projects actually involve the development of new software.

Stat #6 doesn’t mean anything without adding other stats to it, such as: What is the percentage of successful projects (on time and within budget with good quality) of the 56% of certified Project Managers as compared to successful project deliveries of the non-certified Project Managers. And how many non-certified managers received training from among the 49% of organization that have Project Management Training programs in place?
Answers to these additional questions would then either give substance to the stat or prove that certifications don’t mean much in practice.

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