You may be familiar with the standard 5 levels of project management maturity chart.
Level 1 is the lowest, where everything is ad-hoc and those tasked to run projects pretty much on their own.
The ultimate goal of level 5 might be rather too ambitious but goodness me, it’s all fabulous.
The majority of organisations should strive to achieve level 3, characterised by having consistent practical scalable PPM processes that are known, understood and importantly used. It’s no good having a rigorous PPM methodology, templates and guidelines if nobody uses them.
I always say to clients that yes we can create sophisticated processes, but a sophisticated process is probably complex and if its complex we’ll lose people on the journey. They’ll work around our shiny new ways of working leaning back on old habits and we haven’t achieved our ambitions.
So what does a mature PPM organisation look like and is everyone else ahead of you in this game? Well, according to The State of Project Management Report, 2017, the largest annual UK based survey of its kind published by Wellingtone, nearly 50% of the 400 organisations that took part score themselves as level 3 or higher.
I think this is optimistic given that only a ⅓ say they are somewhat or very satisfied with their current level of PPM maturity.
So given that ⅔ of people are not satisfied with their current PPM maturity, it’s worth looking at what ‘mature’ looks like in a little more detail.
It’s difficult to go to the right level of depth in a single article so what I thought might be more useful is to list typical, practical characteristics of ‘good’ project management.
Take a look through this list and see if you can tick these boxes:
- Defined project approval and oversight structure (governance)
- A defined project lifecycle & stage gates
- Consistent use of project management documents & tools
- Agreed and signed off scope of work
- Clarity of and focus on benefits
- Clarity of project roles and responsibilities
- A planning phase before work starts
- A progress cycle when works starts
- Consistent status reporting
- Honesty with RAG KPIs and help when needed
- Lessons learned fed back into future projects
- A PMO function to drive best practice
- Training for those given the challenge to run projects
Does your department or organisation align with these characteristics? It’s worth taking an honest look at how projects are selected, planned, managed and closed to see if you can make a step change in your PPM maturity.
Don’t go all sophisticated, just agree on a set of practical changes you can make in your PPM community. Ensure everyone is bought into and agrees with these changes.
Let’s not lose people along the journey to better project management, there is no point attempting to make this journey on your own.
If you would like to speak to us about project maturity and the steps you can take to increase it, please don’t hesitate to contact us.