Early Results Annual Project Management Survey 2015

In November of 2015 the first interviews were conducted for the University of Waterloo Professional Development Project Management Survey. The survey is conducted by students participating in PD5 Project Management, an online course undertaken by University of Waterloo students while on a co-op term with an employer. It will be conducted every Fall and Winter Term in the future and the results will be reported here. Over time the survey will focus on the development of projects and project management in organisations. A video presentation of these early results is included in this post and provides more details.


Highlights from the presentation are:

51, mainly large, companies have responded so far, mostly in Canada but also internationally. The survey indicates overall significant room for improvement in the project management practices in most organisations. Half of the respondents think project management certification is important. Half of the respondents also have 30% or less of their PMs certified.

41% think that project management is weak in their organisation, a significant concern.

Half of the respondents use a PM methodology – Agile PM is the most commonly used by the respondents which may reflect the technology orientation of the roles in which the respondents are placed in their organisation. One third of those who have a methodology don’t use it consistently. This is a serious concern. While we find that only half use a methodology, a third of those don’t use it consistently. This implies that only one third of organisations in the survey use a project management methodology consistently.

Most respondents think their organisations manage project stakeholders effectively. This may be a concern – increased emphasis on project stakeholder management has been stressed by the Project Management Institute and others in recent years because of a belief that it is often done badly. The organisations surveyed don’t seem to see a need for improvement here.

The survey asked about how projects were changing in their organisations as compared with the previous year and the results show that projects are becoming more complex, larger, more strategically important and more internationally based. This suggests that projects are becoming more difficult to manage and at the same time more important to the organisations that conduct them. Effective project management methodologies and the skills to apply them should be highly valued by today’s organisations.

“Changes to the project” is the most commonly cited reason for project failure, highlighting a commonly cited problem which remains essential to manage carefully.

Further results from the survey will be available in April 2016 when the next round of interviews will be completed. Thank you to all of the students who conducted the survey interviews – your work is appreciated.

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