Project Management Role More Important Than Ever

July, 2013

IT organizations today are relying more on professional project managers than even a few years ago. The reasons for this growth are varied: new technology adoption, regulatory compliance issues, outsourcing, and the ever-present mandate to do more with less all contribute to the need for project management.

Figure 1 from the study, IT Project Management Staffing Ratios, shows that in 2013, project managers made up 5.0% of the IT staff on average, which is a significant jump from 4.3% in 2012. The rise coincides with renewed growth in IT capital spending.

PMStaff Fig1 - Project Management Role More Important Than Ever

However, the five-year trend also shows that even during the downturn, when many organizations were putting capital spending on hold, the project management function was holding its own as percentage of the IT staff. Over the longer term, the project management staffing level of 5.0% represents a new high for this function. Prior to the recession, our data indicates project management staffing levels ranged from 3% to 4% as opposed to the post-recession 4% to 5%.

In short, project management has become more prominent in recent years, despite the lack of growth in IT capital spending.

The data in Figure 1 is useful for assessing recent trends, but for benchmarking purposes we make adjustments to the data in the full study to account for outsourcing and report benchmarks as percentiles rather than averages. We present five benchmarks for assessing project management staffing levels: project managers as a percentage of the IT staff, users per project manager, application developers per project manager, applications per project manager, and capital budget per project manager. All of these ratios are presented by organization size. We conclude with recommendations on assessing the performance of the project management function.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, IT Project Management Staffing Ratios. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).

Do you also need staffing ratios for other IT job functions? Consider this collection of all of our staffing ratio reports, which bundles them all into a single report at a significant discount: IT Staffing Ratios–Special Report Bundle.