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Category: The Happy Project Manager

PMI Montgomery County Maryland Tested the Happy Project Manager

Nelson Hart and Happiness Works collaborated with the Montgomery County Maryland PMI Chapter to conduct a beta of this PM profession survey in October.  Kudos to the chapter for being a willing first adopter!  Results were reported to the chapter’s annual member education program attendees.

Preliminary results were quite interesting. Nearly 400 people were in attendance.  Survey response rate was 56%.  Approximately 50 chapter members took the survey after hearing the presentation on the results.

  1. 38% of respondents reported that they felt they had good jobs
  2. overall levels of happiness were the same across sectors
  3. motivation levels were lower for the not-for-profit sector compared to motivation reported by the for-profit or the public sectors
  4. personal resources for the not-for-profit sector were considerably higher than in the other two sectors
  5. several industries reported deficits in motivation and organizational systems with significantly below average results
  6. education reported the highest scores overall and for each of the four key domains;  personal resources, organizational system, motivation and experience of work
  7. professionals with 6 to 10 years of work experience reported the lowest happiness at work
  8. task managers reported happiness at work at 3.5 (of 10 possible) likely reflecting lack of autonomy and heavy work hours
  9. individuals in organizations using the ad hoc project management process reported lower happiness at work than those with more mature project management processes

Key strengths of the profession supporting happiness at work which reported in this initial test survey included:

  1. interesting and challenging work
  2. strong personal resources: self confidence, vitality, personal health, and supportive personal relationships

Important opportunities for improvement in PM happiness at work included:

  1. achievability of job
  2. stress levels
  3. lack of cooperation between/among teams
  4. good friends at work (a leading indicator of employee engagement and discretionary effort0
  5. constructive feedback
  6. job security
  7. well managed organizations

We’ll be reporting in greater depth on these preliminary results.

Happy PM Survey Launched

Nelson Hart, Happiness Works and IIL are pleased to announce that they have launched the first global survey of the PM profession which will measure happiness at work in the profession in conjunction with IIL’s International Project Management Day (IPM Day).  IIL’s IPM Day is a free, day-long webinar offering 12 PDU’s to PM’s around the world.

The Happy Project Manager

We know from our work in applied positive psychology across industries and sectors that happiness at work is a creative edge strategy. Happiness at work enables individuals and their organizations to do good work and to enjoy it.

We teach graduate project management students at the Project Management Center for Excellence at the Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park and have presented papers, talks, and workshops to project management audiences worldwide.

Academic research (University of Michigan, Stanford, Harvard, NYU Stern School of Business) demonstrates that if you increase the happiness (subjective well-being) of your employees, you will increase favorable key performance indicators (profit, productivity, sales, retention, customer loyalty, etc.) while decreasing unfavorable key performance indicators (theft, safety incidents, absenteeism, healthcare costs, etc.). And, it’s reasonable to assume that this science applies to project managers specifically since it applies to employees generally.

But, we were curious. And, when we are curious, we get motivated. And, when we get motivated, we take action.

Our action will be featured on these pages over the next two months as we collaborate with HappinessWorks and Nic Marks to launch a dedicated, global survey to find out just how happy project managers are and how their happiness influences project outcomes.

We will report our findings — both what worked well and what might do with some improvement. And, since we are experts in happiness at work applications, we’ll offer some practical, actionable steps you might take to improve your own happiness at work.

Stay tuned.



Happiness at Work

Happiness works!

That’s it in a nutshell.  Happiness, known in academic circles as subjective well-being (SWB), is the key to sustainable competitive advantage across all three sectors and all industries.

Happiness (SWB) is so important that the U.K. has adopted a national measure of subjective well-being to supplement its standard measure of economic progress, gross domestic product.  The U.S. is currently in the process of undertaking a similar initiative.

Nelson Hart is pleased to share a free self-assessment with you if you’d like to find out just how happy you are, or aren’t at work.

Over the next several months, we’ll be reporting here on what is working for people at work — capitalizing on what’s going well and sharing insights and best practices so you can do more of that, too.  And, we’ll be examining what’s not working so well and offering practical, actionable steps you, your team or your whole organization could take right now to increase happiness at work.

Increasing happiness at work will do two important things.  It will increase your positive experience of work and increase your effectiveness at work…a win/win for you and your organization.

If you’d like to know more right away, here are two immediate sources from our recent presentation at the UMD PM Symposium held in early June.


Stay tuned.







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