Why Taming Project Complexity Is The Biggest Challenge For Professional Services Firms

Posted by Claire Hodgson on April 25, 2018

Project Complexity

As a professional services business you are probably very familiar with the fact that the industry is going through some interesting changes.

We recently interviewed 700 decision makers from architecture, engineering and consultancy firms to gain more understanding about industry changes and trends and business opportunities and risks. As a result we identified exactly what’s keeping your peers up at night and what they are doing to keep their firms at the forefront of their industry.

Topping the list of many decision-makers concerns is the increasing complexity of projects that they are expected to deliver. Over half (52%) of the people we interviewed think that the increasing complexity of projects will be the number-one challenge for project management in 5 years’ time.


 

Industry Report


Professional Services Trend Report 2018


Download

 

Taming Project Complexity – Key Stats


  • 52% of decision-makers think the increasing complexity of projects will be the number-one challenge for project management in five years’ time
  • 71% of firms globally do not get paid for all change requests
  • 39% identified getting a well-defined scope as their top project management goal over the next 12 months with 35% focusing on getting a clear view of which projects/clients are profitable.

How Is Increased Project Complexity Impacting Professional Services Firms?



Managing complex projects

Scope Creep


The most prevalent issue that decision-makers raised when it comes to taming project complexity was that of “scope creep” – the continuous and uncontrolled growth of a project’s scope after it begins. In fact, 39% of the decision-makers we interviewed listed getting a well-defined scope as their top project management goal over the next 12 months.

Scope creep can cause a number of issues for professional services firms, from an inability to deliver against client expectations and a struggle to allocate resources, to missing deadlines and leaving money on the table through not billing for extra work. Our survey highlighted that 71% of firms globally do not get paid for all change requests.



Erosion of profit margins


Erosion of profit margins has always been a risk for project-centric businesses. With scope creep and increasing client expectations to deliver more complex projects, better, faster and cheaper than before, professional services firms need to ensure that they maintain their profitability. With 35% of the decision-makers we interviewed listing one of their top 5 project management goals as getting a clear view of which projects and clients are profitable, this is a key focus for the industry.



Ineffective Project Management Procedures


It goes without saying that an increase in project complexity and client expectations can test even the most robust of project management processes. The fact that 32% of the 700 decision-makers we talked to have identified introducing improved project management procedures as one of their top 5 goals over the next 12 months suggests that firms see optimising the way that they manage their projects as the key to taming project complexity and meeting client expectations.


 TwitterTweet it: '52% of decision-makers in the professional services industry think that complexity of projects will be the number-one challenge for project management in 5 years'' 


What Can Firms Do To Tame Project Complexity?



Complex project management

There are a number of steps that professional services firms can take to respond to the increasing need to manage more complex projects. It all comes down to having the right processes and systems in place to ensure that each and every project has a well-defined scope and that project management procedures are documented and adhered to. Focusing on these goals and having a clear understanding of which projects and clients are the most profitable, and where the business is potentially leaving money on the table because of scope creep or not billing for work completed, will stand the business in good stead to effectively deliver and profit from more complex projects.

In our latest research report, ‘Insight to Action – The future of professional services’ we look at the industry’s challenges in more detail and set out clear action points for firms and business leaders in the professional services industry looking to stand up to the future.

 

2018 Industry Report

Professional Services Trend Report

Download Your Copy