Call us for more information:

3 Factors That Make Your Organization A Top Performer

In today’s competitive market, it’s even more important to make sure that your company has the tools it needs to succeed. But what are those tools? What difference would it make to your business if someone could tell you the 3 things that you should focus on to ensure your company becomes a high performer?

project management institute

Well, according to new research by PMI, those 3 things aren’t that far from your reach. Their 2013 Pulse of the Profession™ survey shows that businesses that concentrate on supporting people, standardizing project management practices, and aligning project work with strategy are the top performers in their sector. Let’s dive into the research and see how you can use these results to make your company highly successful.

A focus on talent management

The difference in business is people, so investing in your staff is critical if you want to ensure that your company stays ahead. The research shows that highly performing companies have more formal development processes and ongoing training available for employees. In fact, businesses classified as high performers offer training on project management tools and techniques in 73% of cases. Less successful firms only offer training less than 50% of the time.

The top organizations also have defined career paths for project managers, which leads to better project success rates. If your company offers structured career progression, you can expect to see projects hitting their specified goals over 70% of the time, and their budget and schedule targets over 60% of the time. That still might not seem like a lot (it would be great if it was 100%!), but if you compare it to firms that don’t have career paths in place you can see the difference. If you don’t have structured career progression, you can expect your projects to meet their goals and their budget targets a little over half the time, and only 47% of them will come in on schedule.

Make it work for you: Implement structured career paths for your project managers. Set up ongoing training programs, specifically around project tools, software and techniques. Get your project managers certified in project management standards and tools to complement their other skills and give them the confidence to do a great job.

Standardized PMP project management

Standardization may seem like a lot of work to set up, but it really does drive efficiencies. It

project management

gives you the opportunity to make better use of your resources. In turn, that frees up time to do other things, like deliver projects faster, work on strategy, or design new products to stay one step ahead of your competitors.

The PMI research shows that the top companies are almost 3 times more likely to have standardization in place – and they get better project outcomes as a result. The good news is that so many companies haven’t embraced standardization – less than a quarter – so if you can make this work in your business you’ll be way ahead of the curve.

One of the key components of a successful project team is the sponsor, and having an active, supportive sponsor is also a factor in project success. Standardized processes tend to be embedded in the business which means sponsorship is taken for granted, in the best possible way. With mature, standardized processes, you don’t end up with projects that do not have executive ownership and governance. In businesses where over 80% of projects have an active sponsor, 74% of projects hit their objectives. Compare this to only 45% of projects in businesses without active sponsors, and you’ll see what a difference project sponsorship can make.

Make it work for you: Standardize as much as you can in the form of processes and templates for project managers to use. Ensure all projects have a sponsor, and make sure that the individual in this role is able to participate actively in the project. Implement a PMO to help and to manage software tools if you don’t already have one.

Strong strategic alignment

The third factor that leads to being a highly performing organization is strategic alignment. This means that your projects consistently support corporate strategy. The way to achieve this is through mature project, program and portfolio management – the more mature and embedded your approach to projects, the higher the chance of project success and the less money you’ll put at risk through potential project failure.

What you are aiming for is for project, program and portfolio management to be ‘the way we do things around here’. The Pulse research shows that project results are better in organizations with benefits management processes, portfolio management practices and mature project and program management approaches.

On average, 62% of companies have mature approaches to portfolio management and benefits realization, but over 70% of the best performing companies have these in place. Compare that the lower performing companies, where just over half have mature practices, and you can see that it really does make a difference.


Make it work for you: Of course, you can’t get mature portfolio management practices overnight. But you can make a start now if you haven’t already. And if you have got a PMO and portfolio management in place, stick with it! Invest the time to develop its capabilities and ensure that it supports your strategic objectives.

If those 3 factors don’t spell out the benefits of taking the time to invest in project practices and project teams, then maybe this last figure from the Pulse research will convince you. For every US$1 billion spent on a project, companies that are considered low performers risk US$280 million if the project fails to hit its objectives. The risk is much, much lower for high performers – just US$20 million.

It certainly makes good business sense to focus on talent management, standardization and strategic alignment. Give us a call to find out how we can help you on your path to being one of the top performers in your sector.

Speak with a team member: (800) 931-1582