Project Management Statistics
If you've ever needed some hard numbers on some aspect of project management, you'll know that they're really hard to find. When we find something interesting, we add it to this page. We hope you find these tidbits interesting as well. If you come across something you find interesting, please let us know.
Is project management important?
According to the Anderson Economic Group study commissioned by the Project Management Institute in 2006, over 24.4 million employees were participating in projects in 11 major economies. By 2016, this is projected to grow to 32.6 million employees in the same countries.
The world as a whole spends (2010) nearly USD10 trillion of its USD40.7 trillion gross product on projects of all kinds.
More than sixteen million people regard project management as their profession.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that at least three times as many people use project management disciplines in their regular work practices.
Does project management help?
From the UK National Health Service:
- 33% of projects which didn't use PRINCE2 were successful
- 66% of projects which did use PRINCE2 were successful
which implies that in this organisation, use of PRINCE2 helped to double the project success rate.
Is there a dominant project management method?
In 2007, the takeup of two of the main project management methods was:
- Over 500,000 members of PMI worldwide, of which over 250,000 were PMP accredited
- Over 650,000 people worldwide had a PRINCE2 accreditation. This number is increasing at the rate of 60,000 per year and growing exponentially
During September 2012, APMG-International (the PRINCE2 accreditation body) announced that more than 1 million PRINCE2 project management examinations have now been taken.
As at 28 February 2014, the PMI announced that 605,909 people had attained their PMP certification.
In February 2015, AXELOS (the new PRINCE2 accreditation body) announced that 1 million people had attained PRINCE2 Practitioner certification, while another 400,000 had attained PRINCE2 Foundation certification.
Also in February 2015, APMG (the accreditation body for the Agile Project Management certification) announced that since late 2010 over 20,000 people have attained an AgilePM certification.
Are we getting better at managing projects?
The CHAOS Report from the Standish Group tracks IT project success rates. The results reported for the past few years were:
Successful means that the projects finished on time, within budget, and delivered the required features and functions
Challenged meant that the projects were late, over budget, and/or delivered less than the required features and functions
Failed means that the projects were cancelled prior to completion, or delivered products which were never used.
So, we could conclude that project success is a little better than in 2006 (37% vs. 35%) but definitely better than in 1994 (16%). What can we make of this information? On the one hand, there is better project management expertise (more certified project managers), better training, and better tools and techniques. On the other hand, the complexity of projects and their environments have increased while the time to deliver has been reduced. Look at the table above and make your own conclusions.
In our opinion, project success in IT has improved when looking at all the many angles that are not being considered by the CHAOS Report. Nevertheless, the figures are still low and need to greatly improve.
What factors contribute to project success?
Below are the “Top ten factors contributing to Project Success” as listed in the 'Empirical Study on Current Project Management Practice' by Diane White and Joyce Fortune of the Centre for Complexity and Change. PRINCE2 addresses all of the top 10 factors on the list and goes further to address all 22 factors identified.
- Clear goals/objectives
- Support from senior management
- Adequate funds/resources
- Realistic schedule
- End user commitment
- Effective leadership/conflict resolution
- Flexible approach to change
- Clear communication channels
- Taking account of past experience
- Effective management of risk
Does the development paradigm matter?
Since 2007, Scott Ambler has conducted research on the impact of the development paradigm on project success.
His 2011 findings include:
- Iterative and agile approaches had statistically the same success rates, with 69% of iterative projects being successful and 25% challenged; whereas 67% of agile projects were considered successful and 27% challenged;
- Traditional and ad hoc teams also statistically had the same levels of success, which in turn, were statistically lower than those enjoyed by agile or iterative teams. In this case, traditional teams were 50% successful and 36% challenged, and ad hoc teams were 49% successful and 38% challenged;
- 62% of lean projects were considered successful and 30% challenged, putting it dead center between the agile/iterative and traditional/ad hoc pairings.
The CHAOS Report from the Standish Group for 2012 compared success rates for Waterfall versus Agile paradigms. The results they reported were:
Does Proper Prior Planning Prevent Poor Performance?
According to the Project Management Institute’s 2012 Pulse of the Profession survey, it turns out that teams that do the heavy lifting upfront and come up with a well thought out project plan have a project success rate of 71% compared to an industry standard of 64%, and who doesn’t like better odds? What this means is that teams that take some time out and really think through their project ahead of time instead of during are setting themselves up for success.
How well do those in project governance roles perform?
A recent survey conducted by QUT researchers found that project managers were critical of those in project governance roles:
- The respondees who used PRINCE2 were exceptionally critical of the competence and effectiveness of Project Boards and Project Sponsors;
- The respondees who did not use PRINCE2 were likewise highly critical of the absence of defined project governance structures, processes and associated roles, responsibilities and accountabilities.