Project Management

Time for a “Do-Over”? Assessing the Impact of the COVID Crisis on the Year Ahead

29 Apr 2021
Joe Cahill
COVID-19 had far-reaching effects on our 2020 plans—pushing many of them off into the new year. Now, new PMI research reveals just how extensive the delays were but also how changemakers are using their learnings to make reality in 2021.

2021 is shaping up to be the “do-over” year—with many of us playing catch up after having put off pursuing personal and professional goals in 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis. But that doesn’t mean the year was lost. Indeed, while 2020 forced many people to reassess and reset their priorities, there’s now a palpable sense of excitement and optimism as changemakers look to get their lives back on track.

Many are celebrating the ability to overcome barriers and embracing agility, and we are learning there are more parallels between global business leaders* and global respondents** than ever before by how they are using everything learned and felt in 2020 to “make reality” in 2021. This is the conclusion from a global survey PMI conducted among 7,000 respondents and 1,750 business leaders in seven countries—Australia, India, Singapore, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and the United Kingdom.

2020 left many global respondents wishing they had done more to “make reality,” but 82 percent said they handled the year as best they could. Despite barriers, more than four in five (83 percent) said 2020 prepared them for 2021, and 79 percent characterized 2021 as a do-over year.

Meanwhile, 93 percent of business leaders said they had put a 2020 project on hold, including business-critical initiatives like hiring new talentincreasing market sharedeveloping new products and services and investing in new technologies. Looking ahead, leaders feel optimistic about the future (87 percent) and recognize that 2020’s challenges left their teams stronger (86 percent). They’re ready to drive change (86 percent) and have ranked project management as one of five priority areas for their company in 2021.

See more detailed findings below and stay tuned for more on how to turn ideas into reality with PMI.



The Project Management Institute fielded two online global surveys among 8,750 total respondents between 6 November and 25 November 2020. A total number of 1,750 business leaders who influence or make decisions on behalf of their company (250 per country) and 7,000 general consumers (1,000 per country) were surveyed from the following countries: United States, United Kingdom, Australia, India, Singapore, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. Best efforts were made to balance the general consumer samples to reflect their respective national representation across gender, age, region, household income and race/ethnicity. The estimated margin of error (MOE) was 2.3 percent for the business thought leader survey and 1.7 percent for the general consumer survey at a 95 percent level of confidence.  

Note: Global business leaders* is as outlined in the methodology. Global respondents** refers to general consumers as outlined in the methodology.


Joe Cahill Joe Cahill

As Chief Customer Officer (CCO), Joe Cahill is responsible for all PMI’s Global Customer Group. He oversees the Global Customer Engagement Team, the Global Customer Experience Team and PMI’s eight geographic regions. Joe previously held the positions of COO, Interim CEO and SVP of Finance and Administration in his time with PMI.