Most Project & Portfolio Management (PPM) professionals are aware of the existence of maturity assessment models, but few have taken part in one, and even less understand the real benefit or need of taking the time to do this kind of benchmarking work. 

According to Wellingtone’s annual research, The State of Project Management 52% of respondents are somewhat or very dissatisfied with their current level of PPM maturityThe trend over the last years has seen this figure rise as organisations and teams understand the need for and benefits of effective PPM practice. 

PPM maturity can play a big part in alleviating this dissatisfaction and providing a roadmap for the future, demonstrating that the organisation takes PPM practice seriously as a strategic discipline. 

Which PPM Maturity model?

PPM maturity models exist across the industry from several sources 

NB: this is not an exhaustive list, just the most discussed. 

Wellingtone PPM Maturity Model is independently designed to provide more of a PMO maturity perspective than is available with the majority of other models 

P3M3 (project, programme, portfolio management maturity model) is the most widely used maturity model is provided by Axelos through Certified P3M3 Assessors and Partners 

OPM3 (organisational project, programme, portfolio management maturity model) was developed by the Project Management Institute  

CMMI (capability maturity model integration) is recommended by the by the CMMI Institute for software development and service providers 

Organisations such as Gartner have their own models developed independently for Clients 

What PPM Maturity level?

There is no final answer to what level of maturity is correct. Like people PPM DNA is different across organisations and what works for one may not work for another. 

Having said that, almost all the maturity models incorporate five (5) levels of maturity that align (thereabouts) with the following: 

  1. Initial – there is an awareness of the need for more structure around PPM but little is embedded outside of a few key individuals 
  1. Defined – processes are documented and repeatable, but the application is largely down to delivery teams to apply  
  1. Standardised  all processes are utilised consistently in the practice of PPM at an organisational level 
  1. Managed  data is collated and analysed for trends relating to the PPM practice to drive performance improvement 
  1. Optimised – the PPM practice is in a state of continuous improvement and informs organisational decision making 

The key to targeting the ‘right’ level is understanding the context of the organisation, and people being assessed. Most organisation do not attempt to reach level 5; they would be quite happy with PPM discipline just being applied consistently across all projects! 

The barrier to PPM maturity 

The biggest barrier to a step-change in maturity is not necessarily to do with the mechanics of how organisations deliver projects, it is more about the mindset of its people. 

Many organisations feel that they are unique. And they are when we look at the way they operate, their culture, and their PPM DNA.  

However, what many fail to see or do is look externally for inspiration. They are so blinded by their uniqueness that they believe they are at a particular level of maturity (because that’s what they have told themselves), and do not look to the industry to see what else is going on or to validate this belief. 

I personally have met many companies, very advanced in WHAT they deliver, who are very draconian in HOW they deliver it. Not because how they deliver is so unique, but because they believe that the way they do things is the only way to do them. 


All people develop beliefs over their time on this earth. Often these beliefs are incorrect and keep people trapped in their comfort zones which prevent them from taking risks. 

Limiting belief example: I have to accept my lot in life” 

Questioning these limiting beliefs is hard to dobut the only way that people evolve over time without becoming victims of their circumstances. 

Organisations also develop limiting beliefs. Beliefs that can stop innovation, efficiency, and progress, and which can damage the business in times of ambiguity. 

Limiting belief example: “We are unique and don’t need any outside influence” 

Independent organisational maturity assessment can help organisations (and teams) to identify and remove these limiting beliefs, and barriers to growth.  

PPM maturity benefits

Organisational maturity assessments usually take place on a bi-annual basis (with a lighter assessment in between). This approach provides a deep understanding of the maturity journey and allows for a ‘dip-check’ on progress partway through the two-year roadmap to allow for any course corrections. 

Some of the benefits of assessing organisational maturity can be measured through the three (3) Wellingtone lenses: 

From a Strategic Perspective From a delivery perspective From a capability perspective
Organisations often see a more prominent return on investment which in turn leads to more lucrative contracts with organisations who require specific levels of maturity as part of their procurement processes Delivery teams see efficiencies in internal processes which brings better knowledge management and reduced waste in the form of duplicated or unnecessary work The strategic decision to focus on project management as a discipline helps organisations attract and retain a quality workforce who have confidence in the journey

Why assess PPM Maturity now?

Following the Covid-19 pandemic and shift to virtual working, many organisations have had to quickly change their operating models which has had a significant impact on the PPM community such as projects stopped or held, PMOs disbanded or de-scoped, and growing requests for project intelligence 

Bearing this in mind, now is a great time to take a step back and look at what organisations are doing, consider what the future may look like, how that differs to the incumbent roadmaps, and define a new way forward that makes organisations strong and capable for what is yet to come. 

Why not talk to Wellingtone now to understand more about the different types of assessments and what would work best for you?  

On This Page

Monthly Newsletter

By: Emma Arnaz-Pemberton

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

Published: 26 August 2020

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