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The Project Management Basics – How do you Compare to the Benchmark?

The Project Management Basics – How do you compare to the benchmark? - Wellingtone PPM

The State of Project Management is an annual report published by Wellingtone with contributing input from the Association for Project Management (APM) Project Management Office (PMO) Specific Interest Group (SIG) and the APM Systems Thinking SIG.

Although a number of non-salary focused project management surveys are published each year they tend to be either very US centric or global in perspective. Our UK project management industry is highly developed and deserves special attention.

We invited colleagues from across our project management industry to participate, and they did, in their hundreds! This is the largest annual non-salary focused project management survey in the UK.

The State of Project Management survey asks questions across a number of important topics including; project management maturity, tools & techniques, project success rates and of course PMO maturity.

The results demonstrate there is much room for improvement. In this article I’m focusing on the basics, those fundamentals that demonstrate good practice. Bear in mind the number 1 reason why projects fail is scope creep or lack of scope definition so we all know (maybe) that having an approved scoping document makes good sense…and for this to be approved near the start, not at the end!

So it’s a shame that approximately 60% of projects mostly or always have a scoping document, or perhaps more accurately, 40% don’t always create one!

A key metric for “good” PPM maturity is having a consistent approach to selecting, planning, running and closing projects of a similar size. This approach includes the governance to oversee projects and the methods used to run them. The report shows that around 60% of projects are run using a defined methodology. Turning this on its head, 40% are not.

The State of Project Management Annual Survey - Project Methodology -Wellingtone PPM

A further step in good PPM maturity is to ensure the project schedule, budget, scope and even resource forecast is baselined at the end of the planning stage. We all agree the plan, its approved and baselined. Microsoft Project includes the baseline functionality and enables you to effectively snapshot the project data to then act as a comparison to your updated plan at a later point.

Remember, telling me you are 40% complete on your project is of some interest, but telling me you are 40% complete but should be 35% or 55% or whatever the baseline states is much more powerful.

So we asked if PMs baselined their schedules. Over 50% don’t. This data speaks volumes about the level of maturity most are working at.

The State of Project Management - Project Schedules - Wellingtone PPM

Finally, another basics question, this time on risk management.  Ironically the scoring is better than the trend so far with 62% undertaking some form of risk management.  This is often done badly or not at all with some PMs then being able to use issues as a reason for delays or overspend.  “It was all going fine, then this happened, what could I do?”.  A good PM thinks ahead, considers the risks and takes a pro-active approach to responding to them rather than just crossing their fingers.

The State of Project Management - Risk Management - Wellingtone PPM

So hopefully this gives you food for thought.  How do you compare to these benchmarks?  Look across your portfolio of projects and consider if you are taking a consistent approach, that projects have approved scoping documents, schedules are baselined and you undertake project risk management.  If you are not in the “most or always” camp, it’s time to step up.

Click HERE to read The State of Project Management Annual Report 2018

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