Our April community event consisted of two topics that are closely linked; PPM Maturity and how it supports delivering on Strategic Objectives

During our Wellingtone APM & IPMA Accredited PMO Practitioner course, we discuss that we can’t know where we are going until we know where we have been and where we are. When translating this into PMO maturity we identify that value is subjective and so PMO Maturity is all about how well you do the functions that are valued by your internal Customers.

When looking wider, we understand that PPM (project, programme, portfolio management) maturity is the ability for organisation to manage projects, programmes, and portfolios effectively at varying levels of proficiency.

Understanding PPM and PMO performance

By understanding where our current PPM and PMO performance is through maturity, we are able to benefit from: 

Higher Levels of Proactivity 

Knowledge of where we are helps teams to identify deficits and opportunities, and ultimately move from a reactive culture, into a proactive way of thinking about the next steps needed for the PPM maturity journey. 

Increases Success 

Rates of success increase as teams become more proficient at delivering, understanding the challenges they are likely to encounter, and where to get help and support when needed. Organisations typically report a greater return on investment from their projects and programmes, delivering a better experience all around after they have taken the time to understand their maturity. 

Customer Experience 

Both for internal and external Customers, the focus and commitment on long term quality of delivery enhances confidence and trust for current and future collaborations. The focus on maturity is also important when considering procurement processes, and how alignment between supplier and Customer will create a more balanced and lucrative relationship. 

Enhances Discipline 

Providing a clear line of sight to the next milestone, and the next step in maturity enables all involved in change to increase their level of discipline and focus through consistent and enhanced ways of working. 

Levels of Maturity and Achieving them 

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 Axelos P3M3 Maturity Model detailed below: 

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

As those who attended our networking event were all PMO Professionals, we asked and they told us what level of maturity resounds with them. We found a healthy balanced audience with PMOs in each level of maturity except for Level 5. 

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! 

This is where looking towards strategy helps… 

Strategy and Maturity Work Better Together 

Having a long-term plan that lays out the route to the goals and visions in the form of a roadmap is a well-known and discussed topic in Business.  

However, we found that Organisational Strategies are a tricky thing. In fact, our audience told us that priorities and strategies are changing all the time, which often leads to a lack of clarity, albeit those with lower levels of maturity have clear and understood strategies in place. 

Wellingtone Community Networking Event: Linking Maturity & Strategy

If we consider the value of having such a plan in place, actually linked with the maturity growth from a PPM perspective, it is clear to see the value of investing the time and effort to do an analysis. 

Those who attended the networking event highlighted where understanding the PPM maturity would support delivering their wider organisational strategies.  

ATTACHMENT DETAILS Wellingtone-Community-Networking-Event-Linking-Maturity-Strategy

To close the conversation the group discussed prioritisation and how the need to move projects and programmes according to most urgent/most important requirements causes a degree of chaos, and manifests itself in projects taking longer than anticipated, and in some cases, the wrong projects continuing for far too long. 

Lessons From the Network 

  • Don’t do an analysis of your maturity by yourself, instead bring someone in like Wellingtone who can give an independent viewpoint and shine a Best Practice light over the theory and reality of how your PPM practice is performing. 
  • Get in the room when the strategic planning is taking shape to ensure that PPM practice is on the agenda. 
  • Consider your strategic context before deciding to achieve level 5 maturity, many organisations are looking simply for some consistency and discipline so pick your level wisely.  
  • Make sure that your analysis doesn’t focus only on the mechanics of project management, ensure that testing includes more #HumanFirst topics such as career path, development, and team management. 
  • For an additional maturity boost look to get a PPM solution in place such as MS Project for the Web that will enable a simple but clear guide for those involved in projects to use. 
  • Publish the results and your roadmap to the organisation to manage the expectations and support a more positive conversation when discussing the merits of PPM. 
  • Share the plan with your Customers and review your procurement processes to ensure that your maturity as well as your supplier maturity levels can work well together, collaborate, and speak the same language. 

On This Page

Monthly Newsletter

By: Emma Arnaz-Pemberton

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

Published: 26 April 2023

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