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Tracking Project Management Trends

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Faced with sluggish growth and shifting market priorities, organizations are often tempted to latch on to whatever's being heralded as the next big thing.

But the smartest project players are going back to the basics, according to PMI's 2012 Pulse of the Profession report.

Over the next several weeks, Voices bloggers will address some of the project management trends identified in the report, including:  

Talent development: Looking to gain an edge in new markets, organizations are scrambling to ensure the right people with the right skills are allocated to the right programs. And Pulse of the Profession data shows a payoff for those organizations that get it right.

Among high-performing organizations -- defined as those companies with 80 percent or more of their projects completed on time, on budget and having met business goals -- 63 percent have a defined career path for project managers. Compare that to only 26 percent of low-performing organizations, defined as those with less than 60 percent of their projects completed on time, within budget and having met business goals.

Project portfolio management: A still-fragile economy spotlights the need for good project portfolio management, with more than half of respondents reporting its frequent use in 2012. Pulse of the Profession data also indicates that 72 percent of high-performing organizations use portfolio management compared to only 39 percent of low-performers.

Organizational agility: As organizations are forced to deal with ever-increasing market volatility, use of change management, risk management and iterative practices is on the rise.

Pulse data shows that 80 percent of high-performing organizations use change management techniques and 84 percent practice risk management. Plus, 40 percent of high performers use agile approaches in project management, versus 20 percent of low performers.

Benefits realization: Companies don't do projects because they can; they do projects because they deliver a strategic outcome. Pulse of the Profession data reveals that defining key objectives, benefits and expectations is the second-most important factor for project success.

Additionally, having sponsors who are actively engaged is one of the primary factors that lead to projects meeting an organization's business objectives. Organizations with active sponsors on at least 80 percent of their projects have a success rate of 75 percent, compared to the average 64 percent.

To discuss Pulse of the Profession on Twitter, please use #pmipulse.

Learn more about PMI's 2012 Pulse of the Profession.


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Companies spend time on many projects but they forgot to be simple and concentrate on what they do, I agreed on the simplicity is the key, the best tools are the management basics and commitment to what they do.

It's great to see you highlight that project management is getting back to basics to a degree. I am a strong advocate of keeping it simple and concentrating on implementation of a minimal set of the most effective tools (80/20) rather than the propensity to have all the bells and whistles.

Too many organizations, have too many Project Management Systems on the bookshelf and not implemented because they are too unwieldy and complex.

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