Assessing Organisational Project Management Maturity

In the same way that project management practitioners can be described as beginner, intermediate or advanced, organizations can also be described as having low, medium, or high levels of project management. These levels of project management reflect the level of organizational project management maturity (OPMM).

Measuring organizational project management maturity means looking at how the organisation requires staff to become and keep developing as project managers. It means looking at the project management methodology, processes, tools and templates the organisation uses or does not use. It involves examining the organization’s commitment to continuous improvement. There are many ways to assess an organization’s level of project management maturity and just as many tools.

However, before you go assuming that all organizations must be at the top level of maturity, it’s important to consider that the level of OPMM that is desirable for any organisation is directly related to the size, cost, length, complexity and industry of the projects being undertaken. Organizations undertaking highly complex, long term, expensive projects should aim to have a higher level of project management maturity, while organizations and small businesses routinely undertaking short, low cost, low complexity projects may be perfectly suited to a lesser level of project management maturity.

There many sophisticated tools for measuring organisation project management maturity. Some of the more sophisticated ones take many hours to complete and the results can be a little unwieldy. I have reduced the essence of these tools into a practically perfect assessment tool.  Below  you’ll find a simple set of questions to enable you to assess the level at which your organisation currently sits in relation to its project management maturity. While answering it, you may get some ideas on how you can improve your organization’s level of project management maturity.

Just tick the box for each of the following questions if you or your organization does what the questions asks, add up the ticks and see where you are at in terms of your own project management maturity.

Organisational Project Management Maturity Worksheet

Does your organisation expect project managers to hold a certification or credential in project management?

Does your organisation expect project managers to undergo regular professional development through such things as ongoing training?                                                                                                                                                                            

Are project managers in your organisation expected to only do project management work and not also carry out technical work?             

Does your organisation appoint a project sponsor for each project?                                                      

Does your organisation have its own, or a proprietary, project management methodology in place and does it require this methodology to be followed in all projects?                                                                                                                                   

Does your organisation have a standard set of templates to use on each project and require them to be used?

Does your organisation have a defined process to follow for starting each project and require it to be used?

Does your organisation have a checklist for closing a project and require it to be used?                    

Does your organisation have system in place for reporting progress on each project and require it to be used?

Does your organisation have a documented and appropriate change control process and require it to be used?

Does your organisation measure and evaluate the competing demands on people, time and money between projects?               

Does your organisation regularly review its approach to project management and seek to improve it?             

Does your organisation have a Project Management Office (PMO)?                                                      

If so, what is its function?                                                                                                                               

  1. a.     Common reporting of all projects
  2. b.     A place where all project managers work
  3. Developing and improving the methodology 

Now add up all the ticks and determine which level of organizational project management maturity (OPMM) your organisation is at – your score will be between 0 and 16.

Number of Ticks

0-4                          Level 1    Very low level of OPMM

5-8                          Level 2    Low level of OPMM

9-12                        Level 3    Medium level of OPMM

13-16                     Level 4    High Level of OPMM

Now that you know where your organisation currently is, think about where you think it needs to be, keeping in mind the size, cost and complexity of your projects, and mark that on the spectrum as well. The difference, if any, between these two marks is your goal once you are on the path to practically perfect project management.

Here are some questions to get you thinking about the practically perfect project management tools, techniques and processes to help you get to the level of organizational project management maturity you need to be at. Given that this is only chapter two of the book, you may not be able to answer these questions until you have read more of the book.

1. What do you think the top priorities are for your organisation to enable it to improve its approach to project management?

2. What actions can you personally take to contribute to your organization’s project management maturity?