Impact through professional behaviour

Summary of the complete study of Danish organisations' development capabilities and performance

January 2017


Implement Consulting Group has conducted a comprehensive study of Danish organisations’ development capabilities and performance in the area of project and portfolio management. The study for 2016 provides a clear picture of what is important in order to achieve success with projects, and how successful project organisations ensure effective governance of the total project portfolio.

High impact and results for private and public organisations in Denmark are increasingly achieved through project work. This challenges the managerial control and strategic approach to project and portfolio management as well as the organisations’ skills in project management. Implement Consulting Group’s study highlights the common trends in project behaviour and concrete practices of high-performing project organisations as inspiration for how Danish organisations can succeed in achieving the desired outcomes for their projects and portfolios going forward.

Achieving success with projects and portfolios is fundamentally about effectively realising the strategy with the right projects done in the right way. It sounds simple, but the method is far from simple. Achieving success requires first and foremost that the organisation is geared to handle project work and to develop the parameters that affect whether projects achieve the desired value and impact. This study focuses on the key parameters that characterise highperforming project organisations. 

We have improved our development capability with more focus on our project management model, supported with guidelines for how to do business cases and realise benefits.

Respondent in the study

We hope that this study provides you with inspiration for how your organisation can succeed in achieving the desired outcomes for your projects and portfolios going forward.

Trends and practices for successful project organisations

Since Implement Consulting Group’s first study of Danish organisations’ development capabilities and performance within the area of project and portfolio management in 2011, there has been a steady development in maturity within the participating organisations’ project organisation. We can detect a general trend for project work to be included in the overall organisational structures, and this is helping to increase management attention, strategic decisions and overall governance of projects.

Project performance study as a benchmark

Since 2011, Implement Consulting Group has, in co-operation with major international companies and public organisations, carried out maturity analyses of organisations’ project structure and practices, after which the results of their project practice are benchmarked against the results from the study of the project practice of high performers. This has given the organisations the opportunity to explore the exact parameters that will ensure greater impact for their projects and portfolio.

Fact about the study

- 199 respondents
- 25% answered by public organisations
- 75% answered by private companies

Target group: The respondents are mainly executives, portfolio managers, project managers and directors of portfolio/programme/ project management office (PMO)

Respondents were asked about their strategy and development initiatives’ performance, practices, frameworks and selection factors

The study generally detected the following trends

A clear link between strategy and project portfolio

Organisations that are particularly adept at achieving the desired value and impact for the project’s customers or users have a clear strategic direction and a clear link between the strategy and the project portfolio. They succeed in translating their overall strategic objectives to project objectives, and they follow up on their projects’ impact. High-performing project organisations have an executive management that sets priorities in the project portfolio, thus ensuring its strategic focus.

Projects on time, on budget and with great satisfaction

High-performing project organisations are first and foremost characterised by succeeding in achieving the desired impact of their projects. Also, they succeed in achieving their deliverables on time, within the agreed budget and with the agreed quality, satisfying their customers and project participants as a result. Successful projects require a determined focus on all four performance parameters.

Resource allocation must be aligned with the strategic priorities

High performers focus on their criteria for selection and prioritisation of projects, and they utilise financial, business/strategic and regulatory criteria in selecting projects. They meet regularly in resource allocation committees, and they make sure that the resources are allocated in the right projects in relation to the strategic priorities.

Clear mandate for the project manager and timely steering committee decisions

An important feature of high performers’ formula for successful and professional project execution is the delegation of a specific mandate for the project manager and support for timely steering committee decisions.

Application of project management models produces results

Organisations should have classic project management virtues in place, such as a common project management model and standardised project tools, but it is especially the application of these models and tools that is essential for effective project execution. Capability development time should primarily be used to create a common language and apply project skills in real practice.

Common standards and monitoring of results are more important than certification standards

Xtra high-performing organisations have equally as few certified project managers as the low-performing respondents. However, xtra high-performing organisations are more likely to use internally established standards for the implementation of their projects and to monitor the projects’ impact with high frequency.

The overall project maturity has increased

All of the participating organisations in the study have matured their execution of projects since the previous study in 2013. In particular, the low-performing organisations developed in a positive direction, indicating that project work has become a larger and more central component of the organisations’ way of working. Low performers have greatly improved their ability to close projects that do not contribute to the overall strategy of the organisation. They have a clearer division of roles and responsibilities in relation to the organisation of projects, and they have established a common language for project work. These are all key parameters for developing a high-performing project organisation.