34 Project Management Stats That Foreshadow The Future Of Project Management

The workforce and the way we work are changing—what does the future of project management hold?

Disruptive changes have been noted by experts everywhere (and there’s no shortage of explanations): new technology and AI, changing attitudes toward work among the younger generations, climate change, and more. They affect the way project managers work and will affect the future of project management. 

How are people adapting to this upheaval?

  • 86% of workers think they need to overhaul the way they learn, 84% believe they need to find new ways to boost productivity among their workforce, and 80% are concerned about the way they train and develop leaders within their company (Deloitte, 2019).

For project managers, this means adapting to new ways of learning, perfecting project management, and leading their teams in new and innovative ways. 

Project managers must consider the changing nature of work and how to adjust to ensure they evolve with the future of project management. The project management stats in this article will help project managers make tough decisions to keep projects on track and stakeholders happy.

future of project management statistics

Statistics On The Future of Project Management 

The future of project management is coming into focus with insights from project management stats, surveys, and data, enabling project managers to use this information to forge their own path in the changing work environment.

  • In the next 7 years, there will be a much greater need for employees in project management positions and roles – to the tune of 87.7 million employees (PMI, 2017). With more roles to fill, both in project management and on project teams, companies and project managers will need to look to new places for skilled workers.
  • In 2019, 33% of companies were using freelancers or alternate solutions for IT projects (Deloitte, 2019). This trend will continue as more talent is needed and as competition for skilled and qualified individuals increases.

Stats on The Purpose of Projects in Organizations

Projects are increasing in number and scope across all organizations – 35% finished 50 or more projects in 2018 (IPMA, 2019). This number is expected to keep rising, as more projects types and business-oriented outcomes are expected.

24% of organizations start projects to create or update infrastructure, 19% do so to make strategic developments within their organization, and 13% do so to increase profits (IPMA, 2019). As the need for new projects rises in conjunction with new technologies, the future of project management will see new project types centered on new technology.

Project Management, Trending Upward

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), one trend in the future of work, which will impact the future development of project management, is an increase in education around the world (WEF, 2018).

  • 74% of respondents in one survey noted project management skills will increase in importance as the field progresses (IPMA, 2019). The future of project management lies in furthering project management skills and more education to complete more successful projects and keep up with the learning curve.

Another WEF trend is an increase in big data.

  • According to WEF, 85% of respondents are expecting to further their use of big data and analytics (WEF, 2018). Project managers need to know how to handle data and leverage it to ensure stakeholder and audience needs are being met, and to continue to achieve this in the future of project management.  

WEF also predicts that developing countries will continue to grow their economies.

  • In a study of 11 countries from a range of economic development levels, total job growth in project-oriented roles is expected to be 33% overall by 2027 (PMI, 2017). This broadens the scope of the future of project management – it will encompass many industries and global locations, so picking a niche to specialize in becomes more important. 

Another WEF trend is more new technology, including artificial intelligence and cloud technology.

  • According to one study, 61% of respondents believe that the duties and roles that project managers will take on will increase (Wellingtone, 2019). In addition to adopting AI and cloud technologies, the future of project management will see project managers spearheading more projects in developing AI and cloud technologies.

Project Management, Trending Downward

There are some negative trends that project managers need to be aware of as well. One major one we’ve noticed that can impede business growth is a lack of talented and qualified individuals where they are needed.

  • One estimate states that this lack of talent could equate to a loss of 207.9 billion USD combined in 11 countries, including the USA, Canada, and the UK (PMI, 2017).
  • Even worse, 54% of qualified employees with the right skills will need training and upskilling by the year 2022 (WEF, 2018).

The lack of skill could prove to be disastrous, unless companies invest in training and recruitment for their project teams.

Project Management Technology

Let’s dig a little deeper into new technology and what the project management stats say about how it can affect the future of project management.

  • 41% of companies use some type of automation comprehensively (Deloitte, 2019). Project managers should be well-versed in automation for things like email reminders about upcoming meetings or notifications about deadlines.
  • Companies are certain that use of new technology will increase in the future of project management – 64% think robotics will be used more and 81% think AI will be used more (Deloitte, 2019).

This increase in technology causes a rise in related training, which is a significant undertaking for a company. However, companies are wisely making or preparing to make this investment.

  • 84% of respondents in one survey who agreed that new technology would require more training also stated that they are planning to boost financing for training (Deloitte, 2019).

However, not every organization is willing to take the plunge.

  • Worldwide, only 8% of respondents in one survey use AI in their projects (IPMA, 2019). Many companies are not taking advantage of the benefits that AI can provide.
  • What’s more, 56% of companies in one study stated that they had no way to view project KPIs and analytics in real time, and 43% spent 1 or more days creating project reports manually (Wellingtone, 2019). Not having access to analytics can be disastrous for a project, as measuring the success of a project becomes impossible.

However, there might be a good reason for this reluctance.

  • Almost 50% of organizations are worried that by 2022, automation will decrease their employee count, but 38% of companies are expecting to expand with more employees in roles designed to increase productivity (WEF, 2018).

New technologies are here to stay and will impact the future of project management. Whether you are worried or excited about the future of AI in project management, you’ll need to prepare.

Project Management Approach

Project management requires constant adaptation, and the future of project management is continuing in this direction. For project managers, this means building their skills in prioritizing, time management, and staying agile – both in the soft skill sense and in the project methodology sense. Trends in agile approaches indicate that it is here to stay.

  • 47% of companies use agile approaches in their project process (IPMA, 2019). And it’s working – they see more projects completed, and more on time and on budget projects.
  • 95% of companies have completed at least some projects successfully using an agile project management approach (CollabNet VersionOne, 2019).
  • There’s also an unexpected benefit. 64% of companies noted that agile improved overall team morale (CollabNet VersionOne, 2019).

How are project management approaches changing?

New ways of defining success are one way approaches will change in the future of project management.

  • In 2019, 59% of companies defined success measures for projects right at the beginning (IPMA, 2019). This number will increase as more companies find that without defined success measures for a project, stakeholders are often unsure whether projects have been fully completed. Setting project objectives early will solve these challenges.

Another change is an increase in project reviews throughout a project to ensure it is on track.

  • 81% of organizations review budget throughout a project, and 83% review changes in time and cost throughout a project (IPMA, 2019). This will increase, as will the frequency of reviews as project managers adapt to changing budgets, timelines, and needs.

Project management approaches are an important aspect of project management, as are project management styles. The future of project management is trending towards more varied and hybrid project management styles like transactional and transformational, as project managers adapt to what works best for their teams.

Project Management Teams

Companies are moving towards team-based structures, rather than traditional hierarchical structures, which will affect project processes.

  • 31% of organizations function “mostly” or “almost wholly” in teams, and 65% noted that they are primarily hierarchical but do have work based in a team environment (Deloitte, 2019). We know that team collaboration leads to project success, so we expect this trend toward teams to continue in the future of project management.

Companies and organizations often have a project management team or office that coordinates projects throughout the entire organization. Here’s what the project management stats say.

  • 40% of companies have a central project management office, but within the past two years 30% of companies removed this office (IPMA, 2019).
  • The future of project management will be dominated by specific, niche projects as companies attempt to edge out their competition. Companies are dispersing their central project management offices in favour of targeted, project specific teams, with 65% of companies noting that they use this model (IPMA, 2019). This allows them to deploy project managers to projects best suited to their specific knowledge and skills.

Project Management Issues

Identifying project management issues and challenges is the first step in proactive problem solving. Project managers face similar challenges on different projects, like time management, priority management, and lack of communication. Looking ahead to the future of project management, there are some further challenges that project managers will need to be able to deal with, according to these project management stats.

  • According to one study, only 36% of companies believe that their organization is competent in creating a culture friendly to projects and project management (IPMA, 2019). Ultimately, project managers must convince their organizations to improve their culture and prove the value of their projects by being better at what they do and upgrading their skillsets.

Another challenge faced by project management teams is a lack of a defined strategy for deploying project managers throughout the organization and using their skills strategically.

  • Only 25% of organizations believe their project management offices are a “strategic business partner”, and only 32% think they have sufficiently defined a strategy (Welllingtone, 2019). Without a strategy, how can project managers prove their value or measure their results? This will be an important project management issue in the future of project management.

Project Failure

If you don’t catch project management issues early enough, they can cause project failure. These project management stats don’t reveal confidence in the current landscape, but other trends in project management provide a better outlook on the future of project management.

  • Only 19% of organizations complete projects successfully on a regular basis, only 30% are completing projects within set timelines, and only 36% are completing them within set budgets (IPMA, 2019). These numbers should motivate project managers to improve for the future of project management.

According to the project management stats, confidence plays a major role in project success.

  • In IT projects, 75% of respondents in one survey stated that they believe that projects are often “doomed right from the start” (Geneca, 2017). When project managers don’t believe in a project, their teams won’t either.
  • Further, 14% of project managers indicated that they were not comfortable starting a project (PWC, 2018). When starting a project, project managers should aim to feel confident through activities like research on the project type or stakeholders, creating a project plan from start to finish, or brainstorming with other team members or project managers.

IT Project Management

IT Project Management has its own challenges and trends.

  • One major one – only 23% of respondents in one survey stated that project managers and stakeholders always agree on whether a project has been completed (Geneca, 2017). One way to solve this is to define project objectives at the beginning of the project. Gathering and defining requirements that reflect the needs of the business or stakeholders is also important.
  • Fewer than 20% of project managers agree that IT project requirements match these needs (Geneca, 2017). IT project managers must ensure requirements are clear at the start so the future of project management includes more agreement on when projects are completed.

Conclusion

Overall, the future of project management looks bright, and these project management stats show how.

  • 58% of companies believe project success, as measured by meeting stakeholder needs, is increasing (IPMA, 2019). This will help project managers prove their value and the value of their projects to organizations.
  • And overall, it’s working – 66% of companies believe that project managers within the company have a positive reputation (IPMA, 2019).

Project management trends and project management topics can change and shift quickly, so while the future of project management looks bright now, project managers must stay vigilant to ensure it stays that way. There are challenges ahead and whether you are a seasoned project management expert or still considering a project management career, they will affect your projects. To keep up with the future of project management and all the latest project management stats, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media!  

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Association For Project Management Salary Survey 2020