Over half of project managers change their approach since lockdown

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project managers, project professionals

52% of project professionals say the methodology they use for their main project has changed since the start of the first UK lockdown in March 2020, with 51% of those adopting a more hybrid approach

Association for Project Management (APM) undertook the survey, which reveals the different approaches that project managers have embraced since lockdown, as well as the main benefits achieved.

The main benefits achieved by changing the approach include greater flexibility and adaptability, better understanding of what is being delivered and being easier to identify and resolve issues on the project.

APM’s survey, carried out by research company Censuswide, also reveals the industry sectors which have seen the highest number of project managers changing approach to their main project, with healthcare/pharmaceutical, manufacturing and construction seeing the largest shift.

The survey also reveals that the overall majority (85%) of respondents say they anticipate using this new approach on similar projects in the future, proving how valuable it can be to project teams to pivot to new approaches when circumstances change.

Of the 52% of project professionals who have changed methodology on their main project since March 2020:

  • 51% have shifted to a more hybrid approach – a pragmatic approach that combines a linear (or ‘waterfall’) life cycle for some phases with an iterative (or ‘agile’) life cycle for others) *
  • 28% have shifted to a more agile approach (a methodology where requirements and solutions are developed iteratively and incrementally throughout the project life cycle)
  • 20% have shifted to a more linear/waterfall approach (a life cycle where phases of the project are sequential)

In construction, 51% of project professionals say they have changed their approach. Of those that have changed approach:

  • 50% have shifted to hybrid
  • 26% have moved to waterfall/linear
  • 24% have shifted to agile

The main benefits achieved for changing to agile, waterfall and hybrid are also revealed by project professionals responding to the survey:

A hybrid approach, the main benefits are:

  • Greater flexibility/adaptability (34%)
  • Better understanding of what is being delivered (20%)
  • Easier to identify and resolve issues (17%)

Agile approach

  • Greater flexibility/adaptability (28%)
  • Easier to identify and resolve issues (21%)
  • Quicker progress made on the project (21%)

A waterfall/linear approach

  • Easier to identify and resolve issues (34%)
  • Quicker progress made on the project (23%)
  • A better understanding of what is being delivered (19%)

Mark Hepworth, acting CEO at APM, said: “The last 18 months have caused much disruption and uncertainly and so it is important that project managers are able to quickly adopt new methods when required to, for the successful delivery of projects.

“As our survey shows, many project managers have changed their approach during lockdown, with many choosing to take a more hybrid method for the benefit of their project, while agile has also been adopted by those recognising the need to adapt to change quickly.”

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