Last week, I wrote about the challenges that project management faces due to changing business practices. How does project management respond to these challenges?
Sincerely, I don’t believe that we are.
71% of projects fail every year
93% of projects achieve what they set out…
… and it takes 84% longer than planned

These statistics or similar ones are likely familiar to you. These statistics are from the Standish Group’s Chaos Report and a UK survey called “State of IT Project Management”. The results of both studies are a little out-of-date, but the overall picture is still grim, even if they are 50% better than the time the research was conducted.
John Fondahl’s 1960’s invention of the precedence diagramming system was my favorite innovation in the way we do project management. You are using the precedence diagramming method if you use Microsoft Project’s Critical Path feature. John Fondahl was a pioneer in the development of methods to manage large-scale construction project scheduling. He died in September.
Although critical path method and precedence Diagramming are very useful, these tools were not intended for the construction industry. How many of us are involved in construction projects today? Most of us work in offices, where we focus on technology, process innovation, and business change.
There are likely the same number of construction projects today as there were in 1960’s. For example, there is a lot of work going on in London in preparation for the 2012 Olympics. There are many other projects that do not fall under the construction category. This is especially true now that a lot of the repetitive, non-core work has been outsourced or off-shored.
We are using tools that are decades-old and not appropriate for the projects we manage every single day. Do you see the problem here?
Last month, I asked the audience at the APM conference if their project management teams were prepared to meet the changing demands of 21st-century business practices.
63% of respondents said they weren’t. Only 8% of respondents said they were ready to face today’s business challenges. If you are one of the 8%, and have any ideas to share with us, please get in touch!
There are many new ways to work. Next week, I’ll be looking at the techniques and tools in use in other areas and writing about how project managers could make use of them.
Did you miss last week’s article about the business challenges that project managers face? You can catch up here.