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​Tech change challenged as two-thirds of Kiwi projects fail

Around two-thirds of tech projects undertaken in New Zealand are failing, with only 29 per cent delivered on budget.

Advances in technology are rapidly changing the way that companies do business, yet despite market dynamics shifting, the majority of Kiwi projects are failing.

According to recent KPMG findings, around two-thirds of projects undertaken in New Zealand are failing, with only 29 per cent of projects delivered on budget, 21 per cent of projects delivering on benefits and 33 per cent meeting original goals or business objectives.

As organisations find themselves having to respond faster and be more agile in the way projects are managed, the report paints a bleak picture for Kiwi businesses across the country.

Yet while the survey results may seem discouraging, KPMG New Zealand director, Gina Barlow, said they present local organisations with an opportunity to embrace new ways of working to increase their performance.

“The survey shows that current project management methods are struggling to provide efficient project delivery, so there is a need for project management to take a big step closer to business strategy and agile project management this year,” Barlow explained.

Specifically, the survey shows that the number and complexity of projects organisations are completing has risen, with 40 per cent of organisations completing more than 30 projects a year.

“We see that organisations have more projects, less time, and change is constant, so ensuring that change management activities are integrated with project management activities is important to achieve desired results and planned business outcomes,” Barlow added.

“Interestingly, despite project failure rates 61 per cent of organisations feel project success rates have improved over the last two years, showing a disconnect between how well organisations think they are managing their projects, and reality.”

Delving deeper, the survey also highlighted a skills shortage in the project management profession.

The survey found the skills project managers were most lacking in included: leading change in the organisation, managing conflict, political smarts, resolving grey issues and communications skills.

“A lack of skilled project managers, an ageing workforce (60 per cent of Project Management Institute members are over 40 years old), merging technologies, a lack of training of new talent and existing shortage of skills supply is a concern for organisations and is also contributing the failure results we’ve seen in the survey,” Barlow added.

“There is a need for organisations to take a strategic approach to talent management, providing for the future by creating suitable career paths and investing in developing talent to ensure project delivery capabilities do not impact the outcomes from strategic initiatives.

“It is no longer enough to focus on talent hiring and development for those who only have technical project management skills.”