7 shocking statistics about project management and lessons we should learn

Project management is not an easy task. Project management is hard work. From securing budgets to meeting deadlines, it is not easy.
My experience is that project management can be viewed from the perspective statistics and studies. Although I am not a math wizard, numbers can help me see the bigger picture and help me find my place in the maelstrom that is management.
Here are some shocking and fascinating statistics about project management. There are many valuable lessons that we can learn.
Disclaimer: These statistics are based on publicly available studies. These statistics are representative of the IT industry, and they are not meant to be representative of all companies or project management methods.
1. Only 2.5% of companies complete 100% of their projects successfully.
(Study source)
This statistic is almost impossible to believe. Here’s what Gallup said about the study:
PricewaterhouseCoopers, which reviewed 10,640 projects from 200 companies in 30 countries and across various industries, found that only 2.5% of the companies successfully completed 100% of their projects.Whether the completion rate (not provided in the study) was 99% or 1% isn’t the issue. Companies simply don’t finish certain projects.
Lessons learned:
If you complete all of your projects successfully, you’ll automatically be among the top 3% most successful companies. It doesn’t take much to be a great project manager. Get those projects done!
Select the projects that you are most passionate about. These statistics speak as much about the project selected as they do about the management of the projects. It’s not surprising that businesses will fail to complete all their projects if they are trying to take on too much. Make sure you only choose worthwhile projects and keep working on them until the end.
2. All projects have a 27% average cost overrun.
(Study source)
This chilling list of budgets that have been blown out is what you can hear:
The average overrun was 27%, but that number masks a much more alarming problem. The graphs of projects’ budget overruns reveal a “fat tail”, a large number with huge overages. One in six of the projects that we examined had a black Swan, with an average cost overrun of 200% and a schedule underrun of almost 70%. This is the real problem with IT change initiatives. It’s not that they are prone to high costs overruns on an average, as academic studies and management consultants have suggested. It’s because a large number of them have to incur huge overages, which is why there are so many black swans. Managers and consultants tend to overlook the problem by focusing on the averages rather than the more dangerous outliers. Nobody likes to spend their budget. It is not something that the project manager likes. It doesn’t appeal to the PMO. It’s not liked by the company’s shareholders and executives. However, it appears that we are spending an average of a quarter less on our projects than we intended.
Lessons learned:
Be realistic about your budget. Projects will cost. They’ll cost you more than you think. This will help you to avoid being shocked or hurt by unexpected costs.
Budget-sensitive management is key. This is a double-edged sword. Sloppy management is not allowed. Budget is everything. We have to be careful with how we use it.
You can track project hours to help you keep costs under control and avoid potential budget overruns.
3. 57% of projects are canceled due to “breakdowns in communications”.
(Study source)
Spikes Cavell, a research company, conducted this survey in the late 1990s. They were asked to identify the causes of project failures in the UK finance sector. Interviews