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STS Research Report 2014: Project Managers Common Pitfalls

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The report highlights the domains where project managers have more difficulties and lack of professional skills. The results of project simulations carried out by more than 8000 project managers and students of business schools around Europe show areas of common pitfalls. The same analysis is made for 500 PMP examination preparation sessions. Business simulation provides an opportunity for data mining and analysis because participants meet similar situations. The methodology is based on study the knowledge areas, process groups and competences, where the difference between the participants and experts opinions is the greatest. The analysis highlights the major shortcomings of project delivery, decision making, and risk reaction and lists the common mistakes made by managers. Further, it demonstrates that managers’ proactive behaviour and risk prevention attitudes as well as investing into communication and team development result in better project performance.

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STS Research Report 2014: Project Managers Common Pitfalls

  1. 1. PROJECT MANAGER’S COMMON PITFALLS STS RESEARCH REPORT 2014 Igor Kokcharov, PhD, PMP
  2. 2. About this report The purpose of the report is to highlight the domains where project managers have more difficulties and lack of professional skills. The difficulty of scientific analysis in project management is linked to the diversity that exists in the project management profession. Most defining characteristics of complexity in projects are multiple stakeholders (57%), ambiguity of project features (48%), significant authority influence (35%), unknown project features (33%) and others [1]. Data mining tools Effective analysis can be done through data mining of project simulations. The advantage of a simulation is the possibility to repeat critical situations quickly and without incurring financial losses and develop skills via collaboration. Modern project simulations Albasim, Cayenne, Cesim, Fissure, PM Simulation, Prendo, Sharkworld, Simventure, Simultrain®, SMG, Topsim and others [2] are widely used for corporate professional training. Project manager’s decisions are analysed by studying the chosen options and project performance in the business game SimulTrain® [3]. The result is based on the analysis of 2054 simulations (8000+ attendees); 75% from Germany, France, and Switzerland; 50% are corporate training and 50% are business school classes; on average 483 interactions per simulation (1 interaction per minute). Results of PMP® Simulation tests are analysed by studying the percentage of wrong answers. The tests were made by 500 project managers in Europe in 2013 and first half of 2014 [4]. Project Managers Common Pitfalls The results of project simulations show the differences between participants’ choices and experts’ opinions. The analysis highlights the major shortcomings of project delivery, decision making, and risk reaction and lists the common mistakes made by managers [6]. Furthermore, it demonstrates that the managers’ proactive behaviour and risk prevention attitudes, as well as investing into communication and team development result in better project performance. Number of decisions, its frequency does not affect the overall project performance index; however it is an important factor for risk management performance. SEVEN MISSING MANAGERIAL SKILLS • Proactive use of communication; • Adapting to different stakeholder requests; • Honestly informing the team about project; • Spending money to prevent risks; • Involving the team in decision making; • Investing into team development; • Avoiding micro-management. RISK MANAGEMENT PITFALLS LACK OF • Regular project plan updates; • Involvement of external expertise; • Planning/preparation of alternative technical solutions; • Team development to avoid missing qualifications.
  3. 3. THE MOST DIFFICULT PMP® EXAM QUESTIONS ARE Knowledge areas: • Quality Management • Integration Management • Time Management Process group: • Planning PMP® Examination common mistakes Results of PMP® Simulation tests are analysed by studying the percentage of wrong answers. The tests were made by 500 project managers in Europe in 2013 and first half of 2014 [4]. The participants used exam simulator X-AM [4] that includes 1035 questions similar to PMP examination questions [5]. There are more visits for Stakeholder Management questions compared to other topics. The analysis highlights the weak areas of exam preparation: Quality Management, Integration Management, Time Management, and Planning process group [4]. For example, people respond wrong on 17% of Quality Management questions, even after several attempts. Overall Performance, % index vs. Number of decisions Risk Management Index, % vs Number of decisions 020406080100120140160180200050100150200250Risk Management Index vs. Decisions 020406080100120020040060080010001200Average Score vs. Decisions The percentage of Knowledge Areas (A) and Process Groups (B) questions among 100 questions with the lowest success rate. 0%10%20%30%40%50% PlanningMonitoring & ControlExecutingClosingInitiating A) 0%5%10%15%20% Time ManagementIntegration ManagementQuality ManagementProcurement ManagementHuman Resources ManagementCummunication ManagementScope ManagementFrameworkCost ManagementRisk ManagementStakeholder Management B)
  4. 4. Literature 1. PMI’s Pulse of the Profession in-Depth Report: Navigating Complexity. September 2013. 2. List of Project Management Simulations http://pmgames.tuxfamily.org 3. SimulTrain® http://www.simultrain.com 4. A. Gontran, G. Zumbrunnen, I. Kokcharov, STS Internal Report, July 2014. 5. PMP® exam simulator X-AM http://www.sts.ch/en/products/certification/x-am-pmp-capm 6. I. Kokcharov Using Business Simulation to Analyze Project Management Decision Making. Proceeding of 45th International Simulation and Game Association Conference, Dornbirn, Austria, 2014, p.313-318. ISBN: 978-3-7639-5420-9 COPYRIGHT STS 2014 PMI AND PMP ARE REGISTERED MARKS OF THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE, INC. STS SAUTER TRAINING & SIMULATION SA Avenue de la Gare 10 1003 Lausanne Switzerland Phone: +41 21 510 11 50 Fax: +41 21 351 86 83 Email: office@sts.ch Website: www.sts.ch

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