Why the Most Common PM Practices are NOT the Best Practices

PSMJ Resources, Inc.
Posted on: 07/10/18
Written by: PSMJ Resources, Inc.

board room-2

PSMJ recently surveyed more than 100 architecture and engineering firms to find out how project managers perform in two key areas: (1) How well PMs keep to their project budget, and (2) How well PMs meet or exceed clients’ expectations. 

What PSMJ’s A/E Project Management StudyWhy the Most Common PM Practices are NOT the Best Practices finds is that, in many cases, the most commonly used project management practices aren’t always the most effective in terms of improving budget performance and client satisfaction. Consequently, this study also offers insight into best PM practices, including practical ways to train a best-in-class PM team.

Only 30% of firms put most or all of their PMs through formal training

In this study, we were particularly interested in how (or if) firms conduct project management training. As such, we asked a number of questions related to the format and delivery of training programs.

Interestingly, we found that about one-third each of all firms either 1) formally train most or all of their project managers, 2) train some of their project managers, or 3) have no formal project management training program at all. In other words, training project managers is not a top priority for a majority of architecture and engineering firms.

Formal PM training means better project budget performance and client satisfaction

In terms of project budget performance, we saw a sharp increase in the relationship of firms that have no formal PM training program to firms that put all their PMs through a formal training program. Training has a definite impact on budget satisfaction.

And then in terms of client satisfaction, we saw an even sharper increase from firms that have no formal project management training program to firms that put all their PMs through a formal training program. Training also has a definite impact on client satisfaction.

PM training appears to be more effective when conducted firm-wide

And when we took a look at the effectiveness of PM training, we found a distinct relationship between the number of project managers who go through formal training and the effectiveness of that training.

The curve on the effectiveness of PM training goes straight up from some to most to all PMs go through a formal training program. Consequently, one can include that PM training is more effective when conducted firm-wide.



In PSMJ's A/E Project Management Study:Why the Most Common PM Practices are NOT the Best Practices, we not only present the results of the survey, but we also wrap up the report with 13 specific recommendations based on how successful firms are able to keep projects under budget, while also keeping their clients happy. Our goal is to provide new insight into best practices for successful project management.

 Learn More Now



In an upcoming A/E/C Project Management Association webinar, PSMJ's David Burstein will present the key study findings as well as provide practical ways to train, recruit, and keep a best-in-class project management team. As a thank you, he will share this exclusive, 46-page report with attendees. 

A/E/C Project Management Association

Live Webinar: 
Project Management Trends 
Every PM Should Know

Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2018
Time: 1:30 PM- 2:30 PM  EST
Presenter: David Burstein, P.E., AECPM

Want to become a member? All webinars are free for members of the A/E/C Project Management Association. To learn more about all the perks of being a member click here.

                                                        REGISTER NOW




June 17, 2022

2022 A/E Compensation Survey Shows Significantly Different Increases for Staff and Management Positions

PSMJ’s A/E Compensation Benchmark Suite data reveals huge pay and bonus bumps for key architecture and engineering firm professionals, but it all depends on what you do and how..

Read More
June 16, 2022

How to Lead and Succeed with “SFA”: Success from Anywhere

“Work from home” became a necessity with COVID. Then evolved the idea of “work from anywhere” – whether that be home, a local café, or other workspace. Even as we work through..

Read More
May 26, 2022

Unlocking Profitability with the New Generation of Agile Project Management Tools

If your firm is like many in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) business, you’ve spent much of the past couple of years hunting for new strategies that lead to..

Read More