Project management is a blossoming field—this guide comprising project management studies and statistics will provide you with plenty of interesting trends in the industry to sink your teeth into.
Whether you’re a project manager (PM) looking for data points to secure executive buy-in or you’re a complete project management newbie hoping to get a feel for the industry, we’ve got you covered.
To make this article as helpful as possible, we’ve sectioned the data into six sections, grouping insights in an intuitive way.
Here’s what you need to know about the state of project management in 2022.
The Future of Project Management
Project management is a hugely exciting and varied career, but it’s certainly not a walk in the park, as the research we’ve collated shows. According to a 2021 project management survey:
1. At any one time, project managers are running between two and five projects.
The majority of project managers (59%) are running between two and five projects. In contrast, a small group (11%) are running six to ten projects while 15% juggle more than 10 projects.
2. Just 15% of PMs work on one project before moving on to another.
Undoubtedly, PM roles are extremely fast-paced and varied. To have a successful career in project management, you should develop certain soft skills. You need to be highly organized, agile and cool under pressure to take projects to the finish line successfully.
Even if you have all these traits, without the right frameworks to help you manage your projects, you could easily feel like you’re spinning too many plates.
This is where project management tools are a game-changer, providing much-needed clarity in the chaos by giving you a centralized, bird’s-eye view of your workflows.
Project management software is critical now that companies are working in a hybrid and geographically dispersed environment. For a global perspective on remote work, check out these WFH statistics.
With people outside of the office, PMs and teams need a unifying platform to track and manage projects, no matter how many miles away they are from each other.
In line with this growing need, it’s no surprise that the project management software market is booming. In 2021, the services market was forecast to top $1.1 trillion, which is why:
3. The market growth of worldwide IT is estimated at 6.7% per year. (IDC, 2021)
Project Management Systems Let Managers Down
While PMs may be working at lightning speed and handling many projects at once, the systems they have in place are holding them back.
4. Just 35% of PMs are satisfied with their current systems for project management. (Wellingtone, “The State of Project Management”)
When we dive a little deeper into other research projects, we start to get a feel for where this dissatisfaction stems from.
5. Three-quarters of PMs are working with disjointed tools like spreadsheets and paper.
6. This is to blame for the fact that 54% of organizations lack the ability to track KPIs in real-time.
7. Unsurprisingly, at least one-third of the activities that make up project management could be automated (McKinsey, “A Future that Works”).
Across industries, AI and automation are helping employees to be more productive and efficient—and project management is no different.
That’s not to say AI will take over PM’s roles. Instead, AI can handle any routine, time-intensive tasks, freeing up a PM’s time to focus on more strategic jobs with higher-value. Still, AI won’t be taking over the role of PM anytime soon.
8. The main roles of AI would be either PM assistant (52%) or PM advisor (42%) (IPMA, “AI impact in Project Management”).
9. 39% of PMs don’t have a defined project management methodology for their projects.
Without automation in place, PMs will continue to struggle to streamline their projects and keep track of KPIs.
These methodologies, tools and frameworks help create a blueprint for success.Find out which are the most popular methodologies for project management.
However, managing complex methodologies without digital tools can easily become a headache. The common thread is that managers need digital tools to work at optimum levels.
Organizations Fail to Realize the Value of Project Management
10. Only 58% of companies fully understand the value of project management. (PMI, “Success in Disruptive Times”)
Interestingly, there’s a strong link between undervaluing project management and project failure rates.
11. Organizations that under-value project management report an average of 50% project failures. (PMI)
It’s possible this is reflective of a bigger issue in the industry. Companies don’t realize the importance of project management, meaning they don’t invest in it, so their projects fail.
12. Just 2.5% of companies complete 100% of their projects successfully. (PWC, “Improving Performance, Reducing Risk”)
How do you define success? Well, PWC compared project outcomes with the PM’s initial goals, budgets, and deadlines.
Project Management Is a Blossoming Career Path
On a lighter note, project management is definitely a good career to be in. The industry is booming.
13. By 2027, organizations will need 87.7 million people working in project management-oriented positions. (PMI, “Job Growth and Talent Gap”)
The labor force in project management environments is expected to grow by 33%—that’s nearly 22 million new jobs.
14. The average PM earns about $88,000/year in 2022. (Glassdoor, 2022)
In the United States, the average base pay for a project manager is $88,000 while a senior project manager earns close to $120,000. The average base pay for a project manager in IT is around $104,000—we think this niche is worth exploring.
What does a project manager do? It’s highly varied. The top six core activities center around:
- project status reporting
- maintaining portfolio lists
- maintaining project management methodology and templates
- facilitating project approval processes
- providing project management expertise
- facilitating lessons learned
While companies may not fully realize the value of project management, it’s encouraging to see that they recognize the validity of this career path.
15. 89% of companies have at least one project management office. (Wellingtone)
Project managers are also noticing a positive shift in how they’re perceived:
16. 71% believe the value of their role is increasing, compared to just 55% in 2019. (Wellingtone)
We’re seeing this reflected in how companies approach project management:
17. 61% of companies now offer project management training. (PMI, “Forging a Future-focused Culture”)
18. Almost half of the companies have established clear roadmaps for PM careers. (PMI)
Being Within-Budget Isn’t the Norm
If you’re a project manager whose projects have gone a little over budget recently, you’re not alone:
19. 57% of companies run over their allocated budget.
Interestingly, bigger isn’t better when it comes to project management budgets. In fact, the higher the budget, the more likely the project will fail:
20. Projects with budgets of more than $1 million are 50% more likely to fail.
The best way to combat overrunning budgets and signs of failure is through efficient planning and expenditure monitoring.
We’ve written a handy guide on everything that needs to go into a project plan to help you avoid this bottleneck.
Project Management Software Is the Future
At this point, we’ve got a pretty solid picture of the project management industry. Project managers are a huge necessity, but organizations aren’t allocating enough resources so that they perform their roles reflectively, according to Go Remotely:
21. just 22% of organizations make use of project management software.
22. 77% of all high-performing projects use project management software.
The evidence definitely swings in favor of using digital tools to empower project managers to perform at their best.
So, why is the adoption of project management software slow?
23. 56% of organizations find the costs are too high. (Go Remotely)
Sure, any new software comes with an additional cost. However, when we look at the fact that many projects run over budget due to a lack of software assistance, it seems to us that project management software is well worth the investment.
24. 66% of companies using project management software complete projects within their original budget. (PMI, “The Future of Work”)
They are faring better compared to 47% of businesses that are operating without a project management tool.
Then there are the efficiency benefits to think about, such as saving time:
25. Project management software saves the average employee 498 hours per year. (PMI)
By optimizing workflows and automating manual tasks, your employees have more time on their hands to unleash their creative potential.
What Does the Future Look Like for Project Management?
So your head is probably brimming with numbers and facts right now, and you probably feel like a project management expert.
In our view, it’s a really exciting time to be in the project management industry. Companies are starting to realize the value of project management. To be fair, this career path is rewarding from a professional and financial sense.
At the same time, project management can be undoubtedly stressful. Unless you have the right tools for the job, you and your team will probably struggle. You need software with an intuitive interface, built-in automation, and a host of other cool features—like project profitability analysis—so you can be profitable, supercharge your team’s productivity, and manage your projects hands-on and with style.
Let’s face it, you wouldn’t ask a decorator to paint your house without a paintbrush and paint. Well, it’s the same for project managers. How can you be expected to run multiple projects at once without the right software?
You probably need support with time tracking, workflow management, invoicing, or team management—we know the best one-stop shop for all things project management.
First published on May 10, 2022.
Mauricio Prinzlau is the CEO of Cloudwards.net, a data and user feedback-driven comparison engine for cloud storage services. In addition, he also loves producing educational videos and reviews to help people get the best services for their needs.