“Project Managers manage projects and Program Managers manage a portfolio of projects.”- a simplistic distinction according to John Spacey. (Click To Tweet)

Project Management Statistics

Nevertheless, this distinction is good enough as a bare bones explanation of the differences between a program manager and project manager. In essence, changes in project management affect program managers, and determines their ability to plan the multiple projects that they’re in charge of.

Here’s a list of statistics about program management that might come as a surprise to even veterans in the industry, which emphasize why program manager jobs have developed in the past year.

  1. The importance of project management is not understood by nearly 46% of organizations according to a research paper by the Project Management Institute.

Without program management, organizations are unable to analyze their processes and identify where they’re failing. This leads to ineffectiveness and losses that are all the more damning because they are avoidable.

  1. An average of 3 out of 5 projects undertaken by organizations are not relevant to their business strategy, which is alarming, because it implies a lack of forethought leading to an enormous wastage of resources.
  2. In the US, for every $1 billion spent on projects, organizations lose about $109 million, which is beyond acceptable limits. (Click To Tweet)
  3. According to the PMI’s Pulse of the Profession In-Depth Report: The Competitive Advantage of Effective Talent Management, high performing organizations have a number of training programs.

As the table shows, most of these training programs are geared towards better project management and so that their employees can perform program manager jobs, which contributes to the efficiency of these organizations.

  1. Only 23% organizations are in agreement within themselves about when a project is done. When team members and the client do not clearly understand what constitutes a completed project, it leads to dissatisfaction all around.

Program management ensures that everyone understands what makes for a successful project so that “when the project is completed [all] parties walk away satisfied.”, as Kevin White says.

  1. According to PwC, among organizations that don’t use a management methodology, only 21% stay on schedule. (Click To Tweet)
  2. About 30.7% of organizations do not have succession plans in place for project resources, which would not have been the case if these organizations had a program manager.
  3. Large IT projects pose a significant risk if mismanaged. According to Mckinsey & Company, 17% of these projects fail in ways that threaten the organization itself.
  4. Nearly 45% of IT projects with budgets over $15 million experience cost and schedule overruns.

Reasons for overruns on large IT projects


These overruns are due to reasons like a lack of focus and team issues that could have been mitigated by an effective program manager.

  1. Without a program manager to supervise and streamline the work, reworks on projects remain an unfortunate reality. Nearly 80% of the professionals surveyed by Geneca admitted that they spent up to half their time on rework.
  2. Underestimating the complexity of projects results in a failure rate of nearly 35% according to IBM. (Click To Tweet)
  3. With project portfolio management, nearly 16% organizations have seen an ROI of 50% or more, according to PM Solutions.
  4. 60% of companies don’t measure their ROI on projects, which means that these organizations have no idea about the gains or losses on a project and are therefore unable to raise their performance.
  5. The national average salary for program managers is about $82,574, and this can go up by about 30% in cities like San Jose, where program manager jobs are easily available.
  6. Only 64% of projects undertaken by companies meet their goals, which makes the entire exercise of taking on a project utterly pointless.
  7. High performing project management offices in organizations result in upto $101,000 cost savings per project.
  8. According to the research paper ‘The State of the Project Management Office’, organizations with a functioning PMO reported a 31% increase in customer satisfaction.
  9. The percentage of organizations that use project portfolio management processes has increased slowly from 64% to 71% between 2003-2013, according to PM Solutions, as reported by Emily Bonnie.

As these statistics demonstrate, a career in program management is one that lets you add considerable value to any organization.

So brush up on your skills, to make sure that you’re as qualified as you can be to meet the demands of the changing project management landscape, before you start applying.


  • http://www.pmi.org/~/media/PDF/Business-Solutions/PMI_Pulse_2014.ashx
  • http://www.pmi.org/~/media/PDF/learning/pulse-of-the-profession-2015.ashx
  • http://www.geneca.com/75-business-executives-anticipate-software-projects-fail/
  • http://www.pmi.org/~/media/pdf/rcp/pwc_pppm_trends_2012.ashx
  • http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/business_technology/delivering_large-scale_it_projects_on_time_on_budget_and_on_value
  • http://www.geneca.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Doomed-from-the-Start.pdf
  • http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/bus/pdf/gbe03100-usen-03-making-change-work.pdf
  • http://www.pmsolutions.com/reports/State_of_the_PMO_2014_Research_Report_FINAL.pdf
  • http://www.aditistaffing.com/job-search/?query=program+manager&loc=san+jose
  • http://www.aditistaffing.com/8-tips-to-improve-your-project-management-skills/
  • http://www.aditistaffing.com/job-search/?query=program+manager&loc=
  • http://www.aditistaffing.com/top-10-it-skills-for-2015/
  • http://blog.capterra.com/surprising-project-management-statistics/

Image References:

  • http://www.pmi.org/~/media/PDF/Business-Solutions/PMI_Pulse_2014.ashx
  • http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/business_technology/%27/~/media/McKinsey/dotcom/Insights/Business%20Technology/Delivering%20large-scale%20IT%20projects%20on%20time%20on%20budget%20and%20on%20value/svgz_Web_MoBT_ITProjects_ex2.ashx%27