Throughout our Wellingtone maturity series of articles and events we have covered the ins and outs of the Axelos P3M3 Maturity Assessment, and also provided some key insights from those who undertake assessments. Understanding the five P3M3 Maturity levels can provide some insight into the characteristics of organisations at each level and some of the key activities that they can undertake to get from one level to the next.

Every organisation is different (even within the industry) so the first step is to understand the culture, the desire, and reason to increase in PPM maturity. As an example, consider a new start-up company against one an established corporate organisation.

Start-up Enterprise Established Corporate
Likely to be focused on initiation, development, and growth. As a result, this kind of enterprise does not require a complex suite of processes and procedures.

Instead, it needs the right amount of discipline to establish a PPM practice and support processes that will enable capability growth within teams.

As the enterprise grows it will be pertinent to consider adding more discipline to continue the PPM journey.

Focused on the innovation of services and shareholder buy-in. In this environment, it is likely that PPM practice is established already.

With the base processes and procedures in place, work is likely to be required across the supporting processes such as benefits and resource management.

Reputation is at stake with an established corporate, and therefore proposed changes will be considered for longer; taking a more risk-based approach on decision making.

Chasing maturity is a journey, and it can help to understand some of the typical characteristics of organisations at each level to help organisations identify where they are right now and where they aspire to be.

The following are examples and do not represent all the characteristics or activities necessary to move from one step to the other, but instead provide some contextual insights for readers.

What are the P3M3 Maturity Levels?

Level 1

Characteristics Road to Maturity
  • No processes designed or documented
  • No PPM roles established in the organisation
  • No PMO
  • No visibility of ongoing projects
  • Individual champions for PPM probably through experience in delivery
  • Develop some simple standards and processes to encourage PPM as a practice to deliver change activities in a more consistent way
  • Develop some training workshops to provide confidence to those working in projects with utilising the processes
  • Consider creating a project inception process as this will provide visibility of new activities even if they are not yet managed perfectly

Level 2

Characteristics Road to Maturity
  • Some processes and procedures designed
  • Individual-led use of PPM practice
  • Existing Project Manager role
  • No supportive roles in place
  • Little visibility of ongoing projects
  • May or not have a PMO in place
  • Core delivery processes detailed including simple audit activities to support delivery
  • Formal (accredited) PPM training for those delivering change activities
  • Reporting and visibility of projects, their progress, and pain points
  • Information centralisation for ease of access by delivery teams

Level 3

Characteristics Road to Maturity
  • PPM processes are established and utilised consistently
  • There is a PMO in place supporting delivery
  • Sponsor and other delivery roles are formalised
  • May or may not have access to real-time KPIs
  • May or may not have a PPM system centralising project data
  • Develop communication and engagement activities to allow the wider community to explore PPM as a discipline that can support less formal activities
  • Develop PPM processes to support the key pain points in the organisation
  • Collation and analysis of project data to identify trends and areas for improvement
  • Introduce real-time self-service KPIs through the use of a central system for project data
  • Establish intelligent audit and assurance process embedded into PPM practice

Level 4

Characteristics Road to Maturity
  • PPM processes are continually improved to gain efficiencies
  • There is a PMO in place supporting delivery
  • Sponsor and other delivery roles are formalised
  • May or may not have access to real-time KPIs
  • Centralised PPM system bringing together project data
  • PMO is respected as a centre of competence/excellence
  • Enabling processes fed into the continuous improvement space to ensure efficiency is reviewed
  • Support PPM delivery with community and development opportunities in complementary skills
  • Develop real-time KPIs for all levels to introduce self-sufficiency across delivery
  • Provide insights and analysis to Sr management to drive informed decision making
  • Enhance communication and engagement through a community space
  • Managed PPM career path for those interested in project management as a career

Level 5

Characteristics Road to Maturity
  • PPM processes are supported and championed at a strategic level
  • Insights are utilised to inform portfolio planning on an annual basis
  • PMO supports the balancing of the portfolio, prioritisation, and resource management
  • Continuous improvement practice supports trend analysis to gain efficiencies across the PPM spectrum
  • Consolidate community of practice across the organisation to bring new members into the wider team and encourage PPM practice
  • Evolution of processes, and technology in line with the perception of the value of customers
  • PMO evolution into a respected business partner at all levels of the business
  • Communication vehicles are continually evolved according to the technological and environmental landscape
  • Development and training is embedded in the wider career journey of an individual
  • Managed PPM career path established and embedded including PMO roles
  • External benchmarking and sharing of experiences occurs to transfer insight and perspective into the organisation

P3M3 Maturity Perspectives

P3M3 looks at each Project, Programme, and Portfolio models across 7 perspectives detailed in the following diagram. Chasing maturity should include a mixture of activities focused across the perspectives.

P3M3 Pillars and Perspectives - Axelos

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Monthly Newsletter

By: Emma Arnaz-Pemberton

Emma Arnaz-Pemberton
Consulting Director FAPM, MCMI, MPMI, MIoD PMO-CC, MoR, MSP, PRINCE2

Published: 1 December 2020

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