need-to-know project management statistics for 2018

With opening day of baseball season right around the corner, it’s a great time of year for obsessing over stats.

After all, the difference between a journeyman (a .250 hitter) and a Hall of Famer (a .300 hitter) is only about one hit per week over the course of a career.

But stats aren’t just for sports.

Stats can mean the difference between a successful project and project failure, with multiple jobs and millions of dollars on the line.

As a project manager, you need to interpret the numbers—budgets, timelines, KPIs—to determine when things are headed in the right direction and when changes need to be made. For example, when is it time to upgrade from free project management software to paid software?

I crawled the internet for up-to-date project management research, and found ten stats to help guide your 2018 strategy.

10 project management statistics for 2018

1. A lack of clear goals is the most common factor (37%) behind project failure, according to executive leaders.
(Source: PMI Pulse of the Profession 2017)

The takeaway: Avoid project failure by having a project kick-off meeting before doing anything else.

2. Only 37% of teams in the U.K. reported completing projects on time more often than not.
(Source: Wellingtone)

The takeaway: Delays are inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you should accept that every project will be behind schedule. Use Gantt charts to stay on schedule as much as possible.

3. 73% of U.S. workers think that technology can never replace the human mind.
(Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers)

The takeaway: Artificial intelligence is already changing project management, but that doesn’t mean that PM jobs will be replaced by robots. In the 21st century, soft skills—like communication and leadership—will be even more important than hard skills, like using spreadsheets and presentation software.

4. As of March 15, 2018, the average project manager salary nationwide is $80,854.
(Source: Glassdoor)

Project management statistics for 2018: Average project manager salary

The takeaway: Project management can be a lucrative career choice.

5. Between 2015 and 2016, the percentage of organizations using a spreadsheet to manage their Agile projects decreased from 74% to 67%.
(Source: VersionOne)

The takeaway: A spreadsheet can be great for managing your personal finances or playing Tetris, but it’s not designed for managing Agile projects. There are apps for that.

6. 85% of firms have a PMO (project management office), up 5% from 2014. Almost half (45%) of PMO staffers have earned their PMP (Project Management Professional) certification.
(Source: The State of the Project Management Office (PMO) 2016)

The takeaway: A project management office has become a necessity rather than a luxury at high performing organizations. A PMP certificate, on the other hand, is nice to have, but not required.

7. 90% of companies said that open source software increased efficiency, interoperability, and innovation. Use of open source software increased at 65% of companies in 2016.
(Source: Black Duck Software)

The takeaway: You don’t have to pay for project management software. You do need to be aware of the risks, though. Free software often has less features than paid software, and open source solutions can require an experienced IT team to run them.

8. Managing project costs (49.5%) was the biggest problem faced by manufacturing project managers in 2017. Hitting deadlines (45.8%) and sharing information across teams (43.9%) weren’t far behind.
(Source: Liquid Planner)

The takeaway: Time management, budget management, and communication continue to form the foundation of good project management. Get those things right, and success will follow.

9. More than half (56.6%) of manufacturers use a combination of project management methodologies.
(Source: Liquid Planner)

The takeaway: There’s no magic bullet when it comes to project management methodologies. Rather than rigidly subscribing to Agile or Waterfall, the best project managers continue to study and learn, and use the techniques that work best for their teams, regardless of which school of thought those techniques come from.

10. 59% of U.S. workers say communication is their team’s biggest obstacle to success, followed by accountability (29%).
(Source: Atlassian)

The takeaway: More than half of all projects fail because of a breakdown in communications. Whether your teams are all in the same location or on separate continents, as the project manager it’s your responsibility to foster communication. Collaboration and web conferencing tools can make this job easier.