New market research has concluded that budget and timescales rated low on project managers list of priorities.

A survey over 200 IT project managers by IT and business services providers, Parity Group found that meeting client’s objectives is overwhelmingly the top priority for project managers (70%). But only a third of the respondents considered completing within budget was very important by comparison, demonstrating a disconnect between the business and project’s measure of success.

Nearly 90% of respondents have been involved in an IT project during the last three years, while 88% are permanently employed while 12% are contractors.

Alwyn Welch, Parity Group chief executive said: “The overwhelming conclusion is that poor leadership is jeopardising project success. From a lack of commercial awareness to poor fostering of team skills, too many organisations are failing to provide senior leadership throughout a project. It is perhaps not surprising that only 0.5% of respondents admitted to having worked on a failed project, but with so many catastrophic projects making the headlines in the national and trade press it is very important to understand how failure is being measured.”

However, over the past decade organisations have recognised the value of proven project methodologies. According to the research, almost two thirds (65%) use Prince2 and 35% use other methodologies.

The research also highlights the need for the people working on projects to receive direction and vision. According to the research, the most important individual competence was planning; 59% of respondent project managers considered that the ability to plan, prioritise and prepare in advance was crucial.

The second most important was conveying information clearly and accurately, scored at 57%. Parity said having clarity from top down and right across the project, through to suppliers and other cross functional activities, is imperative to success and was attributed by respondents as a key reason for failure when this goes wrong.