Business recovery at risk as one third of organisations neglect fundamental project management processes

Dublin, Thursday, 19 April 2012: One third of Irish organisations are jeopardising business recovery efforts by failing to put in place documented project management methodologies, according to the results of a survey released today by leading business and IT consultancy, Clarion Consulting.   The report also reveals a marked decrease in the number of organisations using project management to drive business strategy, down from 29 per cent in 2009 to just 8 per cent in 2011.

The number of dedicated project management offices (PMOs) is also in decline, down by 12 per cent to 51 per cent and the perceived value of project management has suffered with one in ten now citing it as ‘unimportant’.

Poor project management practices lead to a whole host of organisational problems including budget overruns, missed project deadlines, organisational waste and can jeopardise business transformation efforts.

The results come as Irish project management professionals gather for the Project Management Institute’s National Conference, which takes place at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin today.

Commenting on the results, Pat Millar, managing director with Clarion Consulting said:

“There appears to be no real increase in the number of organisations that view project management as strategic, which is disappointing.   We believe that project management serves as a real driver of organisational change and business transformation in lean times.  Companies that choose to invest in the discipline can yield tangible business benefits in terms of cost, resource and time-savings.”

While the survey highlights a lack of discipline in certain project management practices, with less frequent use of project sponsors and a deficit in continuous process review, the employment market is showing some signs of recovery with one third of organisations reporting project management hires in the previous 12 months.  This compares with just 9 per cent in 2009.

The decline in the number of PMOs, down from 63 per cent in 2009 to 51 per cent in 2011, points to what Millar believes is a struggle by practitioners to add real value to the business.  “PMOs that succeed have made the transition from a cost-centre to a service centre that adds real business value,” he says.  “Those that are thriving are helping the business to deliver strategic projects in a controlled and consistent way, while those unable to make that critical transition are being disbanded.”

There has been an overall decline in the standard of project management practices.  For example, results reveal a slippage in the number of organisations that ‘always’ align their projects with business strategy.  In 2009, this figure was recorded as 31 per cent but by 2011, it has fallen to just 16 per cent.  This could be seen as a by-product of shorter planning windows with a strong focus on tactical delivery as businesses struggle to meet current economic challenges.

Similarly, there has been a puzzling collapse in the use of project sponsors – down from a high of 62 per cent in 2007 to just 40 per cent in 2011.  This collapse could be viewed in light of an overall reduction in staffing levels with resource directed at what senior management perceive as tasks of a more critical nature.

In tandem with this, a dramatic decline in the perceived effectiveness of project sponsors has become apparent with less than half or 46 per cent citing their performance as ‘always’ or ‘usually’ effective, compared to 65 per cent in 2009 and a high of 71 per cent in 2011.

On the positive side, however, there appears to be a significant increase in the number of smaller project teams.  In 2009, one fifth or organisations said their project teams consisted of between one and six members.  By the end of 2011, this figure had grown to 44 per cent, an increase of 24 per cent during that time.

The Project Management Professional (PMP) qualification has grown in popularity with 43 per cent confirming this certification, up from just 23 per cent in 2009.  Millar welcomes the increase in certification as an important development.

“It shows that project managers are willing to invest in their skills and expertise and points to a maturing of the profession.  It also demonstrates a growing demand by employers that project management staff are professionally trained and certified and bring with them best practice in project management practices,” he says.

Allied to this, project management confidence has grown with 12 per cent of individuals awarding themselves a rating of ‘excellent’ for their project management skills.  This is up from 6 per cent in 2009.  On the negative side, though one in ten admit their project management skills are ‘poor’.

The survey was carried out online during the months of December 2011 and January 2012.  86 per cent of respondents currently hold a project-management or IT-related role.  Copies of the project management report are available from


Editors Notes

Download/view the full report into Project Management Practices in Irish organisations here.


About Clarion Consulting

Clarion Consulting is a Business and Information Technology consultancy specialising in Program and Project Management, IT and Business Consulting, Process Excellence and Resourcing.

With offices in Ireland, the U.K. and the Netherlands, Clarion Consulting helps blue chip organisations and public sector bodies to improve organisational agility and build sustainable competitive advantage.  Its portfolio of consulting services focuses on creating organisational agility through information technology, human resource development and best practice approaches to program and project management and process excellence.

For more information, visit us at



On April 19, 2012, posted in: News by
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