Too many organizations are not meeting their project goals due to a lack of emphasis on project management (PM) talent, according to a new report from the Project Management Institute (PMI).

The newly released 2013 Pulse of the Profession, a global survey of 800 leaders in the field, found fewer than two-thirds of business projects met their stated goals in 2012. In 2008, for example, 72 percent of projects met their stated goals. The latest survey showed that number had sunk to 62 percent in 2012. One major problem is the lack of talent in the PM field – a problem which many business schools are addressing with new degrees in PM.

Proper project management—the ability to plan and execute special projects—is essential for companies, says Mark A. Langley, President and CEO of the PMI. “Organizations that prioritize project, program and portfolio management risk 14 times less money on their projects,” he said in the report.

The report notes that more businesses have been failing to meet their goals in recent years, with successful completion on the decline since 2008. A full 17 percent of business projects are complete failures. That leads to huge financial losses, according to the PMI’s reckoning: For every $1 billion spent on a failed project, $135 million is lost.

The Pulse of the Profession report indicates the demand to hire project managers who have graduated with degrees in project management is growing.

Several schools have online business programs that focus on practical PM skills. Ashford University, for example, has an online Bachelor of Arts degree in Project Management that prepares students to be project leaders, project analysts and quality-assurance specialists. Training in these core PM skills will give job candidates a compelling edge as businesses struggle to meet their stated project goals because of the lack of talent.

Training and development of talent in the area of PM is one of the most important factors in the completion of successful projects. Since 2010, fewer organizations are training their people in proper techniques and fewer have any kind of process to develop competency. Fewer than half of project managers say their organizations have a defined career path for them. This means these professionals are likely to look elsewhere for career advancement.

PMI indicates that the number-one step to minimize risk in project management is to focus on talent development. As organizations strive to eliminate waste on costly projects, they will be looking to hire professionals who have graduated with business degrees that relate directly to these issues.

Colorado Technical University’s Bachelor of Science in Business Administration allows students to choose a concentration in project management. This concentration teaches students how to establish organization goals, manage projects and lead different organizational teams toward common business goals.


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