May 18, 2015

Benchmark Study Shows Clearly That Organizations with Highly Skilled Project Managers Get Better Project Results

GLEN MILLS, Pa. (May 18, 2015) — What drives project success? Research has consistently shown that it’s having an effective project manager. Results from PM College’s latest research, “Project Manager Skills Benchmark 2015,” confirms this, showing that organizations with highly skilled project managers get significantly better project results. The survey also reveals which skills need the most improvement and how leaders and project managers differ on which skills they think need improving. The research was sponsored by PM College, the project management training division of PM Solutions.

In March, PM College surveyed 314 project management professionals from all size organizations in various industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, technical, finance, and government. The purpose of the study was to understand the current skill levels of project managers – what skills project managers have and how these skills impact project and organizational success.

The survey reveals that organizations with project managers at high skill levels outperform those with project managers at low skill levels – almost 50% better. The top skills exhibited by project managers in high-performing organizations are leadership skills, especially displaying integrity and honesty, building relationships, and building trust and respect. The skills cited as needing the most improvement include managing project risks, managing benefits realization, planning strategically, championing and managing change, and communicating/listening.

 “Companies continue to demand more of their project managers, who are responding with an increased focus on delivering value,” said Deborah Bigelow Crawford, PMP, President of PM College. “And organizations are helping project managers deliver value by implementing training programs that address basic project management competency as well as advanced training programs, especially in leadership and business alignment.”

The full report, now available on the PM Solutions’ Research site,, identifies five themes where organizations should focus their project manager improvement efforts to improve their project results.

Project managers in all organizations need to improve leadership, business, and project management skills. Their skills are good to excellent in 15% of organizations and inadequate to fair in 30%.
Project managers might be demonstrating respectable skills, on average, but they aren’t meeting expectations (the level of skill that the organization would like to see).
Leadership skills are rated as more important than all other skills, even core project management skills.
Leaders are far more likely than project managers to see benefits realization, project alignment with strategy, and poor communication as challenges.
The top five challenges for project managers, which are basically all organizational issues, are resource management issues, unrealistic deadlines, dealing with scope changes, lack of clarity in scope, and unclear roles/responsibilities.

“Project managers continue to rise in organizational importance,” notes Crawford. “The question leaders should be asking themselves now is: How do we continue to improve the competency of our project managers so they can deliver increasing value to the organization?”


About PM College

PM College provides corporate project management training and competency development programs for clients around the world. We partner with you to identify your organizational learning objectives, deliver relevant training content, and achieve measurable behavior changes that lead to improved performance. Course offerings cover all learning needs — from basic to advanced — including both technical project management skills and relationship-driven soft skills. PM College’s unparalleled customer service, top-rated instructors, modular course content, and robust learning management system (LMS) make us the provider of choice for many global companies in the finance and insurance, manufacturing, consumer goods, technology services, and government sectors.

As a division of a project management consultancy PM Solutions, PM College is recognized as a Charter Global Registered Education Provider (REP®) by the Project Management Institute (PMI).