Shocking results from a first analysis of 200 Project Success Scans!

Dia1“Based on 200 reactions of the Project Success Scan it becomes clear that, despite many recommendations, we still think we know better how to run projects.”

If we take a list of success or failure factors you often see the same topics. The last year we asked many project managers or project executives to take the Project Success Scan questionnaire.

In the Project Success Scan we focus on the following areas by asking in total 15 questions:

  • Plateau 1: The project management team: support top management, user involvement, project governance, competences and availability PM and team
  • Plateau 2: Project characteristics: definition, business justification, organizational and technical complexity, and size
  • Plateau 3: Organization of projects: portfolio management design, maturity, change capacity and willingness
  • Plateau 4: Business organization: business organization and supporting departments.

If you look for reference at the top 10 from a Chaos report from the Standish Group you find several comparable factors. Besides the project related ones (our first two plateaus) we take the impact of the environment – portfolio management and complexity of the business or e.g. the IT landscape into account too, factors which are not part of the Standish studies.

Standish Chaos report top 10: 1. User Involvement, 2. Executive Support, 3. Clear business Objectives, 4. Emotional Maturity, 5. Optimization, 6. Agile Process, 7. Project Management expertise, 8. Skilled resources, 9. Execution, 10. Tools and infrastructure.

See attached info-graphic.


In the info-graphic (PPS (Infographic I, 150426) v1.0) I summarized results from 6 questions: top management involvement, user involvement, steering committee performance, project manager experience and availability, business justification and portfolio management.

  • Why are the numbers 1 and 2 of every recommendation – user and senior management involvement – not always taken into account? In 65% of the projects there is a lack of senior management involvement. In 40% of the projects we think we don’t need users.
  • In 50% of our projects we don’t have a project board or we have a project board without responsibilities assigned.
  • Only 45% of the projects have a project manager with enough skills and time available.
  • Only 40% of the projects have a business justification.
  • Only 40% of our projects are managed via formal portfolio management.

“I don’t get it. Why are we not taken into account these recommendations? Why do we think we can be successful without these recommendations?”

In a next post I will go into the other questions of the Project Success Scan. questions regarding the project definition, the project team, project size, organizational and technical complexity, change capacity, and PMO maturity level.

If you want to see your own project in a spider diagram compared with the average figures of these 200 projects, please fill in your own Project Success Scan:

Dia1Attached a link to our English quick scan: Project Success Quick Scan.  For Dutch: Project Succes Quick Scan

One response to “Shocking results from a first analysis of 200 Project Success Scans!

  1. Pingback: Shocking results from a first analysis of 200 Project Success Scans! Part II « Henny Portman's Blog

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