Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar iconNot recorded
Adobe PDF icon

The Four Levels of Project Success

The Project Management Maturity Matrix

~ By Duncan Haughey

Jigsaw puzzle with four coloured pieces

Project-based organisations have become more familiar over the last two decades, meaning the work they do is split into programmes of projects designed to deliver their organisational strategy. Good management of these projects is essential to success.

Equally important to individual project success is ensuring they carry out the right projects. As project management author Bob Buttrick says in his book The Project Workout, Directing the individual project correctly will ensure it is done right. Directing all the projects successfully will ensure we are doing the right projects.

Organisations have varying levels of expertise in the project management function. Many of these organisations realise that to be successful, a better approach to project management is necessary. As a result, methodologies such as PRINCE2 have become favoured, but this is just the first step. World-class project management needs much more.

The Project Management Maturity Matrix can help organisations improve their project management function. It is similar to the Capability Maturity Matrix used in software development. It helps organisations improve the maturity of their project management function along an evolutionary path, from ad hoc and disorganised processes to a mature, disciplined approach.

What is the Project Management Maturity Matrix?

The matrix describes four levels of maturity in project management:

Level 1: Delivery of projects through the personal heroics and effort of the project manager and his or her team. Delivery occurs despite the organisation rather than because of it.

Level 2: Anybody can deliver, not just heroes. There is an agreed-upon methodology that helps repeat earlier successes on similar projects. Courses and training help at this level.

Level 3: This is not only about delivering projects, but also realising benefits. It involves knowing what the expected benefits are, and when achieved.

Level 4: This is about whether we are doing the right projects and how those projects can deliver the business strategy.

Project Management Maturity Matrix Diagram
Figure 1. Project Management Maturity Matrix Diagram

For organisations to understand the level they are performing at, it is useful to ask these questions:

Level 1: Project Management Success (cost, time and quality)
Did our project produce the desired output?

Level 2: Repeatable Success (predictable outcomes)
Do our projects consistently produce the desired outputs?

Level 3: Project Success (benefits realised)
Do the project outputs produce the desired outcomes?

Level 4: Corporate Success (strategies implemented, value added)
Do the outcomes produce or have the intended impact on the business strategy?

Moving from one level to another requires organisations to develop processes in several areas:

  • A methodology is needed to move from Level 1 to 2
  • Benefits management is needed to move from Level 2 to 3
  • Project portfolio management is needed to move from Level 3 to 4

The key process area at Level 2 involves introducing a project management methodology. It might be an in-house developed method or something from the public domain, such as PRINCE2. The important point is that all project managers have a framework within which to work, and the organisation has effective support structures. Once this is in place, there is less reliance on personal heroics and more emphasis on repeatable and measurable success.

The key process area at Level 3 focuses on benefits management. As surprising as it may seem, many organisations do not look at whether projects have delivered the benefits envisaged at the start. Success is only measured by whether projects have delivered against cost, time, scope and quality criteria. As benefits are not usually realised immediately at the end of projects, it is necessary to revisit projects after a short period to see whether the benefits have accrued. If not, the organisation should seek to identify why, and identify any actions necessary to realise the benefits.

The key process area at Level 4 covers managing portfolios of projects to ensure they collectively deliver the organisation's strategy. Project portfolio management is about carrying out the right projects. A balanced portfolio is created by addressing all areas of business development and making the best use of resources. Processes need to be in place for two reasons:

  1. All new project ideas get proposed, reviewed and approved
  2. Decisions get made about whether a project contributes to the overall strategy of the organisation

Each key process area contributes to an improvement in the organisation's project management capability, which in turn enables goal attainment.

Where is your organisation on the Project Management Maturity Matrix?


Advertisement


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
Enter the third word of this sentence.
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

Project Management Maturity Model

Five maturity levels concept

The concept of a project management maturity model has evolved considerably from the software industry. Where does your organisation sit on the maturity model?

Project Scheduling And Resource Levelling

Gantt chart and fountain pen

This article describes the must do steps, in the correct order, for scheduling projects and levelling finite resources.

10 Steps to Finding a Project Manager

Blond female job applicant handing over her CV to a smiling businessman

Hiring a good project manager means you can sit back and relax knowing that the project tasks are being taken care of in a professional, productive and profitable manner.

The Simplified Project Management Process

Flat design of project management with icons

A five-minute step by step explanation of what project management involves for people who are unfamiliar with the approach.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Ashwini Pendharkar commented on…
10 Golden Rules of Project Risk Management
- Tue 20 June 1:32pm

Tery commented on…
A Brief History of SMART Goals
- Mon 19 June 10:10pm

Tammy Marin commented on…
Better Coaching Using the GROW Model
- Thu 15 June 10:37pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Please Advise: Does PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam Scenerio Changes… https://t.co/OK90gkJzMN #projectsmart #pmot about 10 days ago

RT @rkelly976: “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody.”… about 12 days ago

General Project Management • Re: Do I need project management software? https://t.co/u4Tu1fnzuY #projectsmart #pmot about 12 days ago