February 2011 PM Survey Results – Five Things You Do the First Week of the Project
My apologies for being so late with the results on this survey, but I’m finally now getting around to the results. The turnout was good and the responses were a bit diverse.
What I wanted to know was this: What are the five key things you do right out of the gate on the project? What do you do that first critical week of the project in order to get everything started off on the right foot? It’s a
After careful review and combining similar items into the same general term, here’s what we all came up with. I wasn’t able to really narrow it down to five things because there were so many good answers in so many critical categories. Here are the overall top answers from our readers – they fall into these seven categories:
Knowledge transfer from deal closer – the act of meeting with Sales or the account manager or whoever was critical in closing the project deal. This is primarily to get customer insight, get any report mockups and budget info, and a chance to ask key questions as you prepare to kickoff the project.
Draft/create the project schedule – Sales may have started this for you, but now it’s your turn to take what you have – or start from scratch – and create a useable project schedule with all the details that you can put together at this point in the project. More detail will of course be obvious as the planning portion of the project progresses.
Secure the project team – The earlier you can assemble the project team, the better, usually. Starting too early can cause a strain on the project budget, but it is nice to have at least a portion of the team assembled by the time you kick off the project with the customer.
Identify stakeholders – Figure out who the critical stakeholders are on each side of the project. Knowing who the main customer sponsor can be a huge plus as this first week may be a good time to engage that person in a one on one call prior to kick off.
Establish communication streams – Communication is critical on the project and understanding who is responsible and how and when the communication will happen is very important. This sets the right expectations and accountabilities right out of the gate.
Review statement of work – Knowing the project statement of work inside and out is important for two key reasons. It is critical input into the project schedule you are putting together and it is likely going to be the basis for most discussion that will occur at the project kickoff meeting with the customer.
Hold kickoff meeting – Finally, hold the kickoff meeting. I understand that this isn’t always going to be during the first week of the project landing in your hands, but it will likely be very close to that time frame. At any rate, most of what you do that first week is going to end up being preparation for that critical kickoff event.
October 2010 PM Survey - PM Frustrations
1. What is your #1 frustration as a project manager?
Lack of management support - 26% Poor communication in the organization - 21% Lack of PM authority and decision-making ability - 13% Lack of planning time allowed - 12% Lack of funding - 6% Lack of available tools/processes - 4% The customer - 2% Other - 17%
Answers included responses such as... - too many processes - 3rd party vendors - poor reliability among team members - bad Sales to PM hand-off
3. Do you routinely network with other PMs to share knowledge, lessons learned, and good/bad feedback? Sometimes, but no formal or regular process - 63% Yes - 29% No - 9%
4. Why do you think most projects fail? Bad or incomplete requirements - 38% Poor communication - 19% Poor planning by delivery team - 12% Lack of customer involvement - 10% Budget issues - 5% Funding goes away - 2% Other - 14%
5. Other? Answers included responses such as... - indecision - poor management - lack of stakeholder involvement
August 2010 Survey - Where are You Now?
1. What is your current employment status? W2 employed in PM-related position - 38% Working as a PM-related consultant - 31% W2 employed in non-PM role - 19% Unemployed - 13% Self-employed doing non-project work - 0%
2. If you're looking for work are you.... Not looking, content with your current situation? - 44% W2 employed and looking? - 25% Consulting and looking for W2 employment? - 19% Unemployed and looking? - 13%
3. If you're looking for work, additional opportunities or have searched for work in the last year, what is your primary source for searching? Dice - 38% Other - 30% Careerbuilder - 15% Craigslist - 11% Monster - 6%
4. If you're looking for new or more work for whatever reason, given the economy, what compensation are you expecting in relation to your current or last position? About the same - 52% More pay - 17% Less pay - 14% Not looking - 11% Unsure - 6%
5. What salary (or equalized hourly rate) are you at or were you at in your most recent position? $81-$100k - 32% $101-$120k - 27% Less than $60k - 12% $121-$140k - 9% $161+k - 8% $61-$80k - 7% $141-$160k - 5%
June 2010 PM Survey Results - Managing the Project 1. What is the primary tool that you or your company uses to manage project schedules? MS Project - 85% Primavera - 9% Excel - 2% Other - 4%
2. Do you allow individual team members update access to the project schedule? No - 74% Yes - 13% On some projects - 13%
3. Do you allow the customer update access to the project schedule? No - 87% On some projects - 9% Yes - 4%
4. Do you track costs/budget through the project scheduling tool or separately? Separately - 65% Depends on the project - 22% Through the scheduling tool - 13%
5. Do you fully use the resource scheduling portion of your scheduling tool to plan and schedule resources and spread efforts (including resource leveling) on tasks or do you just assign resources to tasks within the software tool and do resource planning elsewhere? Assign resources, but uses a separate tool for managing resource forecasts/actuals - 48% Fully use the tool for resource planning and scheduling - 35% Depends on the project - 17%
June 2010 Survey - Managing the Project
1. What do you consider to be the most important characteristic of a good Project Manager? Good communicator - 52% Experienced leader - 22% Wise decision-maker - 12% Organized professional - 11% High integrity - 3%
2. From your experience, what is the primary cause of project failure? Poor communication - 40% Poor requirements/planning - 26% Poor project leadership - 15% Lack of senior management support - 11% Untracked issues/risks - 6% Poor governance and/or role definition - 2%
3. How often do you conduct lessons learned sessions on your projects? Less than 10% of the time - 38% More than 50% of the time - 34% Never - 19% 11-25% of the time - 6% 26-50% of the time - 2%
4. In your organization or in your opinion, what is the key factor for determining project success? Customer satisfaction - 81% On time delivery - 19%
5. In your opinion, what percentage of the projects that you've led or been involved in have been successful? 51-75% successful - 35% 76% or more successful - 31% 26-50% successful - 19% 11-25% successful - 10% 0-10% successful - 5%
6. What percentage of your projects' revenue usually comes from change orders? 11-25% of revenue - 68% 26-50% of revenue - 15% 51% or more of revenue - 10% 0-10% of revenue - 7%
7. Which of the following are regularly performed on a weekly basis on the projects you lead or are a part of? (check all that apply). Weekly status reports - 81% Weekly customer status meetings - 76% Weekly distribution of revised project schedule - 67% Weekly internal team meeting - 57%
May 2010 Survey - Equipping the Project Manager
1. Does your organization provide project managers with a formal project life cycle or methodology to follow including processes and templates?
Yes - 53%No - 47%2. What, if any, software tool does your organization use?MS Project - 58%Other desktop software - 5%Web-based software - 11%No specific tool - 26%3. Does your organization issue smartphones to project managers for managing calendars, contacts, and email?Yes - 32%No - 68%4. Does your company issue laptops to project managers and project personnel ?Yes - 79%No - 21%5. How much travel do you do for projects?0-10% - 84%11-25% - 5%25-50% - 11%50+% - 0%
April 2010 Survey - PMO Effectiveness 1. If you had to choose, would you say that your PMO Director or leader was/is more of a Director or Project Manager? What was that person's primary function, in your opinion? Are they spending more time leading the PMO or are they spending more time as a Project Manager on projects? PMO Director – 57% Project Manager – 43% 2. Were/are consistent, repeatable processes, procedures, and templates in place to help you manage projects and effectively do your job? Yes – 34 % No – 13% Some structure, but still lacking – 53% 3. Concerning available training, please indicate which of the following is/was true: Good training in place both for onboarding and for ongoing development – 6% Good onboarding training available, but no ongoing training – 45% Good ongoing training available, but no training for onboarding new PMs – 8% There was no training available at all – 41% 4. (Please check all that apply) In terms of PMO visibility with your company's executive leadership (beyond the PMO director)... Leadership periodically attended customer meetings and/or project kickoff meetings with customers – 5%Leadership received dashboard reports of PMO projects – 43% Leadership periodically attended weekly project status meetings and/or PMO internal group meetings – 10%Leadership had basically no visible involvement in the PMO – 47% 5. In general, do you feel that your PMO was/is effective? Yes - 42% No – 58%
March 2010 Survey - Remote Project Management
1. Does your current organization support remote project management?
Yes - 76% No - 24%
2. Are you currently or have you at any time managed projects remotely?
Yes - 82% No - 18%
3. If yes to #2, what do you like the most about the experience?