There are a number of interesting studies with statistics on project success rates:
- Standish Group’s famous Chaos report garnered attention starting in the mid 90s, in particular based on very high reported project failure rates ( ~ 90% are not successful). More recent data from their 2013 report shows improvement, but still only 39% of projects are successful, with 61% either ‘failed’ or ‘challenged’. http://versionone.com/assets/img/files/ChaosManifesto2013.pdf.
- A recent study by Gartner showed greater failure rates for larger projects, and that 28% of large projects fail. http://thisiswhatgoodlookslike.com/2012/06/10/gartner-survey-shows-why-projects-fail/
- A PMI survey from 2012, showed, perhaps not surprisingly, that success rates are correlated with maturity.
- Only 39% are on time in low maturity organizations, 44% are on-budget, and 53% meet business goals.
- But even in high maturity organizations only two thirds are on-budget and on-time.
So, increasing knowledge of project management, and organization process maturity has resulted in improved success, but there is clearly plenty of room for improvement. Recent research from PS Village shows that organizations adopting enterprise solutions such as Professional Services Automation software are characterized by higher maturity, and thus higher project success rates. This is not surprising as adoption of enterprise software requires standardization of process, as well as enabling metrics and reporting which help drive process improvements.