6 Keys to Successful Project Management

Project Management

Mega-projects are increasingly common in healthcare IT as hospitals and health systems implement multi-million dollar and sometimes billion dollar EHRs and other enterprise solutions.

Successful projects are more common than failures, but when a large-scale initiative truly goes off the rails, there are considerable costs—human and financial—that can stagger an organization for years.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) says, on average, 64% of projects in corporations and government agencies are successful—completed on time and on budget and meeting defined goals— but high-performing organizations have a success rate of 80% or higher.

In a recent survey of 2,800 project leaders and practitioners across the globe, PMI found that the highest performing organizations utilize six key principles for project management success:

  • Fully understanding the value of project management
  • Actively engaging executive sponsors
  • Aligning projects to strategy
  • Developing and maintaining project management talent
  • Establishing a well-aligned and effective PMO
  • Using standardized project management practices throughout the organization

Active executive sponsors are critical to what PMI calls a “culture of project management.” Their survey found that 81% of high performers have active sponsors compared to 45% at low performers.

Agile Process and PM trends

The report also outlined trends in project management that are being adopted with greater frequency by high-performing organizations. These include:

  • Greater knowledge transfer effectiveness
  • More rigorous use of risk management practices
  • More frequent use of agile/incremental /iterative project management processes
  • Higher benefits realization maturity (e.g. outcomes measurement)

The importance of knowledge transfer— the act of capturing and sharing lessons learned between employees—is a critical competence. PMI’s research shows that having a formal knowledge transfer process significantly improves project outcomes: 75% of high-performing organizations have an established knowledge transfer system in place compared to just 35% of low performers.

Investment is required by organizations to build successful project management teams and processes, but the payoff can be significant. “The projects of high-performing organizations successfully meet goals two-and-a-half times more often, and these organizations waste 13 times less money than their low-performing counterparts,” according to PMI President Mark Langley.

Originally published May 2015; Updated May 2019