23 October, 2017

Project Management Survey: A Guide to the Best Ones

If you are interested in Project Management, you’ll doubtless like to read what’s going on in our profession. That’s where a good Project Management Survey can help. So we have scoured the web for the best recent surveys, so you don’t have to.

A ‘Project Management Survey’ survey, if you like!

Why Conduct a Project Management Survey?

Pin - Project Management Survey - A Guide to the Best
Pin – Project Management Survey – A Guide to the Best

For project management industry bodies, surveys are a perfect way to demonstrate their eminence as a professional body, at the forefront of understanding, informing and representing their members’ interests. Their status allows them access to a large sample, which gives their surveys a high degree of credibility. This enhances their status.

Both the Project Management Institute (PMI) and Association for Project Management (APM) produce highly authoritative surveys.

Many commercial organizations also use a project management survey to demonstrate eminence. But for them, it is far more an overt piece of marketing. If they promote it well, it can gather good publicity. But its main use is to highlight their capability to clients and potential clients. The results are therefore varied. Often the sample sizes are low and the promoters frame the questions to elicit a biased response. We must assess their results with care.

That said, both APM and PMI are not above asking questions that elicit answers which endorse their own certifications. We must not forget that they are also under commercial pressure recruit members and solicit for accreditations.

A Large Choice of Reports

The result is a large choice, from which I have drawn a personal selection of recent (no earlier than 2015) project management surveys. Whilst I could easily offer a download link for most of these, to do so would be cheeky at best and an abuse at worst. If you want these surveys, you will almost always need to offer an email address in return for them. But other than that, these are all free. I’ve avoided surveys (like the well-known and vastly expensive Standish Group Chaos Report) that you must pay for- even where some naughty souls make them available free in breach of copyright.

So, with all that said, let’s get started.

The PMI’s Annual Project Management Survey:
The Pulse of the Profession

Our regular readers will know that, for the last two years, we have extracted the marrow from the bones of the PMI’s Pulse of the Profession survey. You can find these reviews at:

We intend to continue. This is in many ways the most interesting project management survey available. Whilst it misses the chance to track indices long term, it does so for a good reason. Each survey asks a new set of questions, which keep it current. The PMI’s eminence means its survey reach is wide and therefore the numbers of respondents are large. The document is well-produced and always has interesting insights. Whether a PMI member or not, you should be perusing this.

Alongside the main report, PMI produces a slew of in-depth reports and other interesting documents. It is all free to download from the PMI’s Pulse of the Profession page.

The APM’s Annual Project Management Survey:
Salary and Market Trends Survey

The APM is a UK professional body, primarily serving the profession in the UK. And its surveys therefore focus on the UK. But they are interesting, nonetheless. In an international marketplace, the trends and patterns are likely to have a wider value. There is a lot of data there, and if you are interested in salary expectations by industry or work-style (employed or contracting, for example), this will fascinate you.

You can download the last few years of the APM’s Salary and Market Trends Survey from the APM website.

The PMI’s Jobs and Salary Surveys

As you might expect, the PMI has a wider international view of jobs, careers, and salaries. In 2017, they have published three project management surveys that cover various aspects. All are available to download, with the links I have added:

  1. Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017–2027  target=”_blank”
  2. Project Management Salary Survey
  3. 2017 Jobs Report  (free download for PMI members only)

The Digital Project Manager Salary Guide 2018

The Digital Project Manager is a relatively new project management blog site, yet it already has a wealth of good quality articles and guides.

Among them is their Project Management Salary Guide. It is taken from a survey that they have run since 2016, and promise to update for 2019. Indeed, you can contribute to next year’s data set by clicking the link on the page. There are also some high-quality graphics, including a full infographic for those who like to Pin.

It focuses on the US, UK, and Canada and compares different project management roles.

What about the IAPM?

The International Association of Project Managers also produces some valuable resources but not, as far as I can find, a project management survey. in researching this article, I did, however, find myself impressed by:

  • The PM Guide 2.0
    This is a bit of a gem. If you are new to project management, and you want a free introductory guide to project management, this is rather lovely. Alongside our own free Decode the Jargon of Project Management, it will give you a really good introduction to the basics. And, for intermediate practitioners, there are one or two nuggets that will remind you of nice ideas you probably know well enough, but don’t practice as often as you should.
  • The White Paper Hybrid Project Management
    With all the fuss surrounding PMI’s recent PMBOK 6th Edition, and its accompanying Agile Practice Guide, it’s enlightening to note three things.

    • This was here first
    • It makes an excellent introduction to various Agile methodologies
    • It’s full of good advice for integrating traditional and Agile principles

In conclusion, if anyone at IAPM reads this, we’d welcome the chance to repot on any surveys you conduct!

P2 Consulting: The Great Project Management Survey

That’s their title, not mine! Peering through the hyperbole, the value in this survey is that it reflects some elements of a 10-year trend, comparing 2015 data with figures from 2005. The indicators seem to be moving in the right way. The results are somewhat superficial, but the sample size is decent (at 300). Curiously, the survey document is a direct download from their site, with no summary page, nor access gate. Just follow this link for the PDF.

KPMG 2017 Survey on Project and Programme Management:
Agile Project Delivery

This is a mammoth survey report that has lots in it for both practitioners and senior business people. As you’d expect from a top-tier global professional services firm, this is extremely well produced and full of insight. Of course it plugs their services, but with quality like this, the authors deserve a foot in the door. If the rise and rise of AGile interests you in any way, download this from the KPMG website.

KPMG New Zealand Project Management Survey 2017:
Driving Business Performance

Lest you think: ‘New Zealand – that’s a bit of a small place’ – let me say something. I like this survey a lot. And not because the presentation is stylish: the Formula 1 metaphor does not work for me. But the insights and analysis do. This survey takes a more strategic view than most, so will appeal to more senior project leaders focusing on the strategic and business management aspects of our profession.

Here’s another survey that doesn’t need a sign up – just get the PDF from this link.

Arras People Project Management Benchmark Report

Here’s another UK-based project management survey. It has a good size of sample, with over 2,000 practitioners taking part. What I like about this is its breadth of ambition, looking at topics like career breaks, contracting, accreditation, and gender. This is one report that clearly places quality of content above smart design – yup, it could do with a little more love in its presentation. Particularly if you work in the UK, this will be a fascinating read. But if you are a data-hound, there are over 70 tables to peruse. There are also half a dozen really well-designed infographics at the end of the report, that make up for the unlovely page layouts.

Update: February 2018.

Arras has just released its 2018 Benchmark Report – the 13th Edition. You can get it from the Arras People website.

Wellingtone’s The State of Project Management Survey 2017

And one more UK-based survey for your collection. This focuses on how well UK organizations (over 400) are doing in their project management, and the trends that emerge. If PM at an organizational level interests you, this will be valuable reading. It is the nearest UK equivalent to PMI’s Pulse of the Profession survey. You can download it from the Wellingtone website.

Honorable Mentions

Program Delivery

PwC is a vast business services firm, and their 2014 4th Global Portfolio and Programme Management Survey, ‘When will you think differently about programme delivery?’ is well worth a read, but technically too old to qualify for this article.

Namibian IT Project

Deloitte is another of the big 4 professional services firms (with KPMG, E&Y, and PwC). So it’s disappointing they have so little to offer us. Their Project Management Survey Report: ‘Aim to Succeed’ focuses on IT projects in Namibia. The insights are good, but this is clearly a local product.

Change Management

However, the Russian office of Deloitte has produced a very interesting report ‘Change Management in Project Work: Survey Results‘ which I recommend if you are interested in the intersection of project and change management.

Project Management as a Part of Work

Wrike produces team-oriented project management software… and some excellent blogs and articles. Their 2015 ‘Work Management Report’ is not strictly project management focused. But it has a lot to admire and some fascinating insights into the role of projects in the wider workplace.

Implementation Secrets

Strategic consultancy, McKinsey offers us their 2015 survey report, ‘Secrets to Implementation Success’. Despite a lot of ‘no s**t Sherlock’ findings, if you need data and a credible name to help you build a case for good practices, here you have over 2,200 respondents and the McKinsey name!

Portfolio Management

If Portfolio Management is your thing, then take a look at the Survey report from PMI and Boston Consulting Group, called ‘Winning through Project Portfolio Management’. It’s a dense read. But, it has some interesting conclusions for project managers who are keen to operate at a strategic level.

Over to You…

What good reports are you aware of, that our other readers may enjoy?

Please share them with us in the comments below.

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Mike Clayton

About the Author...

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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