Reduced focus on project management jeopardising business transformation

PatMillar

  • Improving project management capability last in IT priority list
  • 37 percent admit that up to half of all projects delivered late
  • One third rate their project delivery capability as just satisfactory or poor
  • Widespread inconsistencies in project management practices
  • Growth of dedicated project management offices up to 63 percent

      To mark the occasion of International Project Management Day, leading project management and IT consulting specialists, Clarion Consulting today released the results of its annual survey into project management practices in Irish organisations.  The report reveals a reduced focus on improving project management capability with Irish organisations ranking it last in a list of top 10 IT priorities.  While the growth of dedicated project management offices has increased again this year, up to 63 percent from 46 percent in 2007, widespread inconsistencies in project management practices remain.  One third of organisations rate their project delivery capability as just satisfactory or poor while 37 percent admit that up to half of all projects are delivered late.  Now in its third year, the survey was carried out on-line across public and private sector organisations during the month of July 2009.

      “Many project management practitioners display a fundamental lack of understanding of how project management can help business transformation,” comments Pat Millar, managing director, Clarion Consulting.  “While the bulk of organisations are focused on cost-cutting, business process re-engineering and new product or service introductions, they fail to see that these objectives can be achieved by applying the principles of project management.  Project management can serve as a real driving force for organisational change in lean times and failure to invest in that capability can seriously hamper business transformation efforts,” he adds.

      There appears to be a sustained level of project completion over the last 12 months despite the economic downturn.  Over half of all respondents or 54 percent completed more than 21 projects in this timeframe, a marginal decrease of just 3 percent on 2008. However, results also reveal an increase in the exclusive use of internal project managers over external ones, up to 46 percent from 29 percent in 2008.  This suggests that some companies at least are reducing their dependency on contract staff and hoping that existing permanent staff can sustain project delivery levels with fewer resources.  Similarly, 17 percent of companies reported an overall decrease in the number of project managers employed compared to 2008.
      The Ireland Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI) welcomes the increasing adoption of project management offices to deliver more predictable project outcomes, up to 63 percent from 46 percent in 2007.  Liam Dillon, President, Ireland Chapter (PMI) said:  “We are delighted to see the continual growth in project management offices in this research. There is a growing trend in best-practice affiliated companies to place continual emphasis on suitable governance models incorporating appropriate processes and methodologies.”

      Half of all respondents “sometimes” use certified project management professionals on their project teams, revealing a risk of expertise and knowledge gaps.  Pat Millar believes that companies need to ensure that internal and external staff have the necessary skills and experience to successfully deliver positive project outcomes.  “Skills deficits can be effectively addressed by mentoring and coaching programs as well as traditional training to build internal expertise. With less experienced project managers, the role of the steering committee and project sponsor also needs to include more attention to governance and oversight.”

      There has been a steady increase in the number of organisations using Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software, rising from 12 percent in 2007 to 29 percent in 2009.  However, 37 percent of organisations said that they have no plans to introduce PPM in the short term while 50 percent were unsure of their plans.

      Clarion Consulting conducts regular research into the Irish market for the purposes of encouraging best IT practice and knowledge-sharing with the wider IT and business community.  Each respondent to this survey will receive a personalised report benchmarking their project management capability against other contributors.  Hard and soft copies of our report “Building Real Competitive Advantage – An Analysis of Project Management Practices in Irish Organisations” are available on request frominfo@clarionconsulting.com or tel: (01) 802 5182.

      On November 17, 2009, posted in: Change, Project, Strategy by

      Tags: , ,

      No Responses to “Reduced focus on project management jeopardising business transformation”
      Leave a Reply