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Not applying learnings from projects impacting bottom line for businesses, APM survey finds

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Despite the increasing adoption of project-based ways of working among senior business leaders, many are still failing to identify and apply learnings from ongoing and completed projects, Association for Project Management (APM) has found.

APM and research company Censuswide surveyed 1,000 UK-based project professionals. A large proportion of business owners (65%) and senior managers (82%) who responded say they’ve increased their use of project-based methods on everyday tasks, such as introducing measures to identify and manage risk. Despite this, only a third (33%) of business owners who say their organisation has increased project working methods also have processes that allow them to monitor projects as they’re ongoing, while only 18% actively perform post-task analysis to identify areas for improvement.

These statistics highlight a glaring oversight at the top of organisations, meaning productivity is hindered and the business’s bottom line is impacted by the same mistakes being made repeatedly over time. Among survey respondents in senior management roles, only 27% look back at projects to see what could have been done better.

The past two years have seen the UK’s productivity plummet to new lows, as businesses continue to suffer from the long-term ramifications of COVID-19, as well as post-Brexit restrictions and supply chain issues. The current global energy crisis has tightly squeezed output-based industries like Manufacturing, which the survey indicates is being disproportionately affected by rising energy prices. Indeed, 42% of survey participants working in the manufacturing sector anticipate further increases in project costs due to the crisis.

The survey found that only 29% of participants in the manufacturing industry were working in organisations which regularly introduced post-task wash-ups to analyse performance and identify improvement opportunities. Similarly, only a quarter (25%) of survey participants working in manufacturing reported that their organisation required pre-project planning which would vastly improve productivity. Only a quarter said that they completed statements of work, case studies and reviews.

Professor Adam Boddison, chief executive of APM, said: “The UK has been dealt a number of significant blows in the past two years, and we anticipate more difficulties to come as the long-term effects of the pandemic and Brexit are exacerbated by the looming energy crisis. At APM, we understand how project management methods can be invaluable to organisations delivering complex projects on time, on budget and to a high standard. Being adequately prepared to embrace uncertainty while at the same time looking for new ways of approaching workplace processes will be crucial for future major projects around the UK.”


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