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
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
7. An astounding 97% of organizations believe project management is critical to business performance and organizational success. (Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers ) 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
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
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!
Don’t want to become a statistic? Capterra offers a directory of over 500 different kinds of project management software products to help project managers find their software solutions.
Looking for Project Management software? Check out Capterra’s list of the best Project Management software solutions.
Comment by Scot Hanley on July 7, 2014 at 7:53 pm
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.
We examined 1,471 projects
Fully one in six of the projects we studied was a black swan
Comment by Rachel Burger on July 8, 2014 at 10:44 am
Thanks for your comment, Scot! A sample size of over 1,000 is a good representation of IT projects.
Comment by Praveen Malik on July 17, 2014 at 2:33 pm
Hi Rachel, A nice compilation of stats. There have been some misgivings about the CHAOS reports but we have to go with stats.
[ ] 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 [ ]
Comment by Donald Shannon on August 15, 2015 at 3:50 pm
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.
Comment by Barney Ellis on October 16, 2015 at 11:04 am
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 [ ]