June 01, 2011, 10:26 AM — Project managers seeking training funds have new evidence that training improves project success rates, thanks to a survey that links the two.
The survey, conducted online and over the phone in April by project management training and consulting firm Project Management Solutions, asked respondents to share how much money they spend on project management training, the types of training methods they use, the effectiveness of those methods, and the outcomes they've achieved as a result of training.
Survey respondents reported that their project management training initiatives improved eight aspects of business and project performance by an average of 26%.
Stakeholder satisfaction benefitted the most from training, improving 29%, followed by
* scheduling (27% improvement)
* decrease in project failures (26% improvement)
* keeping projects on budget (25% improvement)
* gathering requirements (25% improvement)
* quality (25% improvement)
* productivity (25% improvement)
* time to market (24% improvement)
The study corroborates research that IDC (a sister company to CIO.com) published in 2006. IDC concluded that training was a key factor in project success and noted that projects that devoted between six and 10% of their budgets to training were twice as successful as projects that devoted four percent or less of their budget to training.
Deborah Crawford, EVP of Project Management Solutions and president of its training division, says that survey respondents' assessments of the performance improvements their organizations derived from training were largely qualitative; that is, they were based on a combination of respondents' gut feelings, experiences and observations. Crawford adds that the respondents at organizations with mature project management offices (PMOs) had metrics that directly linked project management improvements with training. One such metric is erosionthe number of project hours not billed for. One company noted that erosion decreased after project management training.
Survey respondents spend on average $2,211 per person per year on project management training. Small and midsize companies allocate an average of seven days of project management training per person per year, while large companies devote five days of training per person per year.
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