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Association for Project Management

Interviews exploring data usage in project management

The brief

The Association for Project Management (APM) wanted to explore how project professionals currently use data in their roles.

APM commissioned Shift Membership to research this emergent topic – the use of data in project management – with the intention of adding insights about it into the next edition of their Body of Knowledge.

This research aimed to provide some underpinning evidence for the development of the new edition, helping APM to ensure their focus is on the areas their members are most interested in.

The approach

  • Shift conducted 20 in-depth qualitative interviews with project professionals.
  • Participants had various levels of experience using data within their roles, ranging from those who use data as a minor part of their role to data specialists.
  • During the interviews, we carried out an interactive activity with the participants. The activity involved using an online whiteboard, Mural, to help participants map out data inputs used and outputs produced at different stages of the project life cycle.

The value

Through this research, APM were able to gain valuable insight into many aspects of data use in project management, including how project professionals define data, what sources they use to collect/gain data and how they use it across different stages of the project life cycle. The interviews also uncovered what the participants felt were the major barriers to using data effectively, and how they would like to improve the ways in which they use data in the future. The key findings of the research were presented in a report, accompanied by a presentation that Shift delivered to members of the APM team.​