Expert panel – Project Management May 2019

What needs to change in the UK in order for projects to run more effectively?

Gemma Shaylor

Project product marketing manager




 We all do! There’s a new genera­tion of project management that reaches far beyond old-school individual projects hidden away in the IT department. The distinction be­tween project management in the traditional sense and portfolio management as it’s emerging is an important one, and, although it’s a phenomenon that isn’t new, digital transformation represents a recurring and crucial conversation in the business landscape.

While we can hire more people and adopt new tools to manage our projects, if the whole organisation isn’t willing to embrace change, those projects will continue to miss deadlines, be over budget and never actually achieve the intended goal. After all, people, not organisations, drive change, which means everyone needs to be involved when it comes to improving and im­plementing more effective project and portfolio management (PPM). That’s why we recommend all our customers adopting Microsoft Project Online to engage with one of our PPM partners to support their digital transformation journey.

You can read more online.

Debbie Dore

Chief executive
Association for Project Management



 Millions of projects are already running effectively in the UK delivering change and benefit to society – in fact, our new study with PwC, The Golden Thread, indicates that projects contribute £156 billion to the UK economy, with project management employing almost one in 12 UK workers.

That said, there is definitely room for improvement. We need to recognise that raising the standards of project management, through, for example, chartership, will help. But equally critical to success is the environment in which projects, programmes and portfolios operate. Many projects are started without clear goals and out­comes in place, with inadequate funding, or funds that have been agreed before the true nature of the project is completely understood, and led by sponsors without a full understanding of what is required. If we could make improvements in these areas, as well as ensuring project professionals have the right skills, then project outcomes would immediately improve, delivering a greater benefit to society.


Allan Thomson

PPM product ambassador



Leadership and communication skills need more emphasis and can support the delivery of project manage­ment methods in organisations. Agility cannot just be a buzzword – there needs to be specific support and processes in place across the or­ganisation to embed agile ways of working, including sponsorship guidance.

The use of project end-reviews is low. Lack of resources and time have been cited as the main reason, but other factors include senior manage­ment being more concerned with delivery, a general lack of interest in project reviews and small or simple projects not always being seen to re­quire them. Project reviews need to happen, though, so teams can avoid the pitfalls that have occurred in the past. This will increase their chances of success.

The PPM function should be lob­bying the organisation to ensure they have representation at the most senior level. However, beyond mere repre­sentation, senior managers need to appreciate the work project managers do and understand the challenges that they face.

Cindy W Anderson

Vice president, brand management
Project Management Institute



To increase project effectiveness, the UK needs to ensure that its workforce is equipped with the right digital skillsets. Although the UK is recognised as having a technologically capable and intellectually agile labour force, there are certain skillsets that will be increasingly important in the coming years. Our recent Project Manager of the Future report found that the top digital-age skills include data science, security and privacy knowledge, legal and regulatory compliance, and the ability to make data-driven decisions.

Only 29 per cent of UK organisations already prioritise the development of these digital skills, which is comparable with the global average of 33 per cent, but offers incredible opportunity for UK organisations to gain competitive advantage. We call these leading or­ganisations project management technology quotient (PMTQ) innova­tors, which are defined by always-on technical curiosity, all-inclusive leader­ship and a future-proof talent pool.

When the number of innovator organisations grows, more projects run more effectively and drive more value and business outcomes.

Boaz Chalamish




 Business agility is even more crucial in the UK, as Brexit may bring economic uncertainty, digital disruption and other challenging situ­ations that force change. Increasingly, organisations can expect to see major shifts in business conditions, the competitive landscape and their customers’ expectations. Enabling agility and improving working practices are absolutely crucial to achieving strategic goals and busi­ness objectives. This is only possible with better collaboration, visibility and engagement – from the C-suite to the frontlines of the business. Enter­prises need to establish their vision and ensure teams have the impetus and flexibility to execute it by keeping initiatives and projects on track and aligned with the business.

Companies need to address why a third to half of all UK projects fail. Management teams must strive to refine ways of working by gathering insights from the planning phase of any project or initiative. It is vital that they establish a feedback loop to avoid repeating past mistakes and avoid pitfalls and behaviours that stand in the way of potential success.

© Business Reporter 2021

Top Articles

Reforming upskilling strategies for the changing work landscape

Leaders across industries must upskill the workforce to deliver new business models in the post-pandemic era

Green or greenwashing?

Procurement must stamp out greenwashing from supply chains, to ensure that organisations’ products and goals are not just a “green…

American View: Why Do Cultural Taboos Frustrate New Technology Implementation?

Businesspeople seldom evaluate new technologies on capabilities alone; why do peoples irrational beliefs impede attempts to discuss worthwhile innovations?

Related Articles

Register for our newsletter

[ajax_load_more loading_style="infinite classic" single_post="true" single_post_order="previous" post_type="post" elementor="true"]