Project Portfolio Management - PMI “Pulse of the Profession” Survey

Author: Ian Needs

When the Project Management Institute (PMI) released their “Pulse of the Profession: The High Cost of Low Performance” survey for 2014, I was fascinated by the study’s insights and heartened to see the many places where it validated the KeyedIn Projects “gospel” of effective project portfolio management.

We have driven the point home again and again: the primary driver for project portfolio management is to help a company improve its performance by selecting and executing projects that link to strategy. The struggle to achieve this is highlighted in the new PMI report. As PMI CEO Mark A. Langley notes in his preface, “Though executives know what they should be doing – 88 percent say that strategy implementation is important to their organizations – 61 percent acknowledge that their firms often struggle to bridge the gap between strategy formulation and its day-to-day implementation.”

The study finds, among many other things, is that companies who report a disconnect between projects and organizational strategy reported that nearly half (44%) of their strategic projects were unsuccessful. We noted with particular interest one of the primary reasons cited: the C-suite was “missing in action.”

Executive buy-in and stewardship of PPM is one of the foundational ingredients for project portfolio-driven success. Leadership’s insistence that project-strategy alignment begins with them and radiates downward through the culture is, to a large part, what determines whether or not a company sees the revenue, resource and competitive advantage benefits that accrue from a PPM strategy that is correctly conceived and executed.

The survey touches on a number of fascinating factors that impact success:

  • Modest continued growth of the global economy means that more new projects (and revisiting of shelved projects) will go forward.
  • Leading companies will increase the number of touch points where customers will help inform organizational strategy; in fact, more customers will come to expect it.
  • The correlation of better talent management to better project performance.
  • Process maturity’s impact on success over time.

To execute their 2014 survey, the PMI gathered feedback and insights from more than 2,500 project management leaders and practitioners across the globe. We highly recommend project leaders check it out when considering ways to architect an organization-wide approach to projects. You can download and read the entire report here.