Project Management

21 Shocking Project Management Statistics That Cost Business Owners Millions Each Year

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Project managers deal with a variety of moving parts and challenges during their work with a client. This is especially obvious when you take a look at some of the shocking statistics surrounding project management. This blog introduces 21 statistics that sum up the most common challenges associated with project management. 


At Mavenlink, we are honored to work with clients who already deliver great work. Mavenlink users deploy best practices to see that every project more than succeeds. They make every project thrive. To thrive, you have to reduce project failures. This post shares some shocking statistics as to why projects fail; and how to avoid failure and achieve high performance.

Stunning Project Management Statistics on Failure: 


1. 70 percent of projects fail. [source: 4 PM]

2. The failure of IT costs the U.S. economy about $50-$150 billion annually. [source: Harvard Business Review]

3. Just 40 percent of projects at IBM meet the company's three key goals (schedule, budget, and quality). [source: IBM]

4. Three-quartes of projects fail because senior management doesn’t get involved. [source: Capterra]

5. 17 percent of IT projects go so badly, they threaten the existence of the company. [source: McKinsey & Company in conjunction with the University of Oxford]

6. 80 percent of "high-performing" projects are led by a certified project manager. [source: Wrike]

7. Only 2.5 percent of companies successfully complete 100 percent of their projects. [source: Gallup]

8. 57 percent of projects fail due to breakdown in communications. [source: IT Cortex]

9. 77 percent of high performing companies understand the value of project management. 40 percent of low-performing companies understand the value of project management. [source: PMI]

10. The failure rate of projects with budgets over $1M is 50 percent higher than the failure rate of projects with budgets below $350,000. [source: Gartner]

11. 44 percent of project managers do not use project management software, even though Price Waterhouse Coopers concluded that using PM software increases performance. [source: Price Waterhouse Coopers)

12. 73 percent of respondents admit that their proejcts are either always or usually "doomed right from the start," including 27 percent who always feel this way. [source: Geneca]

13. Project success rates are rising. Organizations today are wasting an average of US$97 million for every US$1 billion invested. That's a significant 20 percent decline from last year's findings. [source: PMI]

14. 49 percent of organizations have a project management training program in place. [source: PM Solutions]

15. A majority (56 percent) of organizations have only used one project management system. [source: Capterra]

16. 17 percent of large IT projects go so badly that they can threaten the very existence of the company. [source: Calleam]

17. One estimate of IT failure rates is between 5 percent and 15 percent, which represents a loss of $50 billion to $150 billion per year in the United States. [source: Gallup]

18. Just 42 percent of organizations report having high alignment of projects to organizational strategy. This lack of alignment of projects most likely contributes to the surpriseing result that nearly one half of all strategic initiativrd (44 percent) are reported as unsuccessful. [source: PMI]

19. 75 percent of respondents lack confidence in project success. Fuzzy business objectives, out-of-sync stakeholders, and excessive rework are key culprits. [source: Geneca]

20. Only 26 percent of all projects succeed. [source: PMI]

21. The average overrun was 27 percent, but one in six projects had a cost overrun of 200% on average ad a schedule overrun of almost 70 percent. [source: Harvard Business Review]


Editors Note: The original version of this post was published in January, 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. 

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