What is P3M3?

P3M3 is the Axelos Portfolio, Programme, Project (P3) Management Maturity Model (M3) and it is a way of measuring the capability of an organisation, or part of the organisation to deliver portfolios and/or programmes and/or projects in a repeatable way – the more mature the capability, the more likely it is to deliver consistent and predictable results.

The P3M3 approach is based on developments from the US Department of Defense and subsequent improvements by Carnegie Mellon University that have since been used to measure the maturity of different types of capability – software development, processes, people and of course P3 delivery management.

P3M3 was commissioned from industry exports by Axelos, previously the UK Government’s Cabinet Office, which is also known for its stewardship of PRINCE2, MSP, MoP, MoR, ITIL, and more.

How does P3M3 work?

How does P3M3 Work? Theory, Practice, Perception - ResultP3M3 can only be undertaken by an Axelos Consulting Partner like Wellingtone.

The process assesses across three lenses:

Theory helps the assessor to understand how ‘best practice’ has been translated into the operational reality.

Practice provides evidence of how much of the theory is utilised.

Perception enables a unique view from the users and customers of the process.

The result of an assessment is a maturity score from zero to five for the overall capability being assessed, but that score in itself is of less use than the individual scores and insights given for each of the different perspectives of the capability that has been assessed.

Understanding P3M3 Capability

Before looking at advantages, it is worth understanding what is meant by capability. It is all the components that go together to allow something to be done, achieved, built, or delivered.

A simple view of these components is given by the POTI model – processes, organisation, tools, and information.

So, to be able to deliver a project, for example, you need a set of defined processes for project delivery and its governance. Teams who are suitably qualified, and experienced people working together in a set of pre-defined roles, using the right IT tools for planning, collaboration, communications. We must also consider non-IT tools, and finally information. Utilising knowledge and lessons from previous projects, information on current project performance, and information predicting future performance.

P3M3 helps Assessors to investigate capability at this level of depth by breaking it down into seven perspectives and then further breaking down each of those into as many as 13 common threads.

P3M3 Pillars and Perspectives - Axelos

Pillars & Perspectives: Copyright of Axelos

How P3M3 can Benefit Your Organisation

An assessment by an independent third party of part or all of an organisation’s P3 capability will provide an objective and impartial insight into the specific strengths and weaknesses of their capability based on seven different perspectives and up to 13 common threads that exist in each of those.

At the highest level, P3M3 gives a single score, but the real value lies in the scores and accompanying analysis for each of the perspectives.

There is a high degree of rigour involved in performing a P3 assessment that ensures “no stone is left unturned”.

As such the sponsor of an assessment often receives for the very first time, an independent view of things they mostly knew already about their organisation, or at the very least suspected by was never quite able to prove or totally define.

The objective assessment and accompanying recommendations can be used by the organisation to plan strategic improvements in their capability based on a discussion, facilitated by the P3M3 assessor, on what the priorities should be.

The P3M3 report may then be used as evidence to secure funding (e.g. from board level) to continue with capability improvement.

Another benefit from a P3M3 assessment can be the ability to demonstrate to an organisation’s external stakeholders or clients that they have a P3 capability that can be trusted (i.e. because it has been independently inspected and scored by impartial assessors according to a standard approach).

More tangibly, the PMI Pulse of the Profession 2020 research provides an insight into the performance of projects versus organisational maturity, detailing that those with high maturity are 21% more likely to meet the goals and intent of their strategic initiatives.

PMI Pulse of the Profession 2020

Which supports the basis that investing in a maturity assessment will improve:

  • Project performance in the areas of cost, project schedule, resource, and product quality.
  • Intangible benefits, including better decision-making and communication, the culture of change, and greater organisational alignment.
  • Customer satisfaction linked to a greater realisation of business benefits.

Our Wellingtone Maturity series will continue to explore maturity, the different levels and their organisational characteristics, as well as how working with Wellingtone, can support you in achieving a step-change in your own PPM maturity.

Next Steps

Learn more about doing a P3M3 Assessment for your organisation: A full review of organisational capability certified by AXELOS providing recommendations, a roadmap with key milestones, and is used as the base to improve and/or promote capabilities. This assessment utilises AXELOS Intellectual Property and is only available through an Axelos Consulting Partner (ACP)

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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: 23 October 2020

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