10 Nov 2020

The Outlook for Project Delivery in 2020 and Beyond

The Outlook for Project Delivery in 2020 and Beyond

For the past three years KPMG and the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) have conducted a joint survey, with over 550 Australian project management professionals, to identify the issues and trends in project management in Australia.

While 2020 has been a year like no other and has seen project delivery face unprecedented challenges, the 2020 Annual AIPM/KPMG Project Management Survey provides a more positive outlook than we may have originally thought, with an ever increasing demand for project management skills.
 


Download the 2020 Annual AIPM/KPMG Project Management Survey here


 

POSITIVE TAKEAWAYS

  • More projects were delivered successfully in 2020: 25% of projects were delivered successfully this year, which is a rise from 19% in the 2019 global study and 23% in the 2018 Australian study.
  • We saw strengths in finance, schedule, and resource management: 48% of respondents felt their organisation manages projects and programs effectively or very effectively.
  • There are generally sound governance activities applied in organisations: Only 12% of respondents indicated a low (slightly or not at all) rating to their organisation’s project governance activities and 61% of projects have actively engaged sponsors.
  • Confidence has improved when it comes to the value of the Project Management Office (PMO): If we compare the results with the 2018 Survey (which was focused in Australia), we can see an increase in the use of centralised PMOs, lifting from 49% to 57%, as well as confidence lifting from 33% to 37%.

As the report states:

“The overall picture is positive, and we have observed areas of improvement over the three years in which this survey has been undertaken.”

 

THE IMPACT OF COVID-19

As expected, the pandemic has had an impact on project delivery in 2020, with 58% of respondents stating that they have been moderately or significantly impacted by the delay to projects and programs of work.

One of the biggest shifts we have seen due to COVID-19 is the uptake of collaboration tools to facilitate project delivery with 69% of respondents indicating that their organisation uses collaboration tools, up from 51% last year. The most popular software used among those using collaboration tools is MS Teams, followed by SharePoint.

 
KEY AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT

While the study did show that project delivery has tracked well over 2020, there were several areas for improvement highlighted.

1. The need for continued investment in adopting new technologies. When it comes to project management methodologies adopted, the trend has continued on from 2019 with the Agile delivery method still widely used. Excluding Infrastructure projects, Agile adoption sits at 73%, with organisations reporting either full Agile adoption or a mix of Agile and Waterfall. However, the study showed room for improvement when it comes to the successful application of Agile, as only 28.5% of respondents believed its use improved project success rates.

2. Ensuring the next generation of project managers have the skills needed for increasingly complex projects. The study showed 67% of respondents felt the complexity of projects and programs has increased over the past decade. 53% of respondents also felt their organisation does not do enough to improve project and program management skills and capability. This highlights a need to ensure that newer professionals to the project management profession have the skills required to manage these increasingly complex projects. When it comes to skills, soft skills rather than hard skills (such as formal project management training) were indicated as areas of development for project managers.

3. Project change management should be integrated into the project management lifecycle. Project change management was also noted as an area for improvement, with only about two thirds of respondents indicating their organisation uses formal change management activities as part of the project management lifecycle. Adding to this, only about one third of this group suggested those activities were very or extremely effective.

Overall, the results of this year’s survey reveals that project delivery in Australia remains strong in the face of challenging and unprecedented times. These are just some of the takeaways from the 2020 Annual AIPM/KPMG Project Management Survey. Download our report for the full rundown on how project delivery has performed in Australia over 2020.