THE FOUNDATION FOR EXCELLENCE - Strategic Planning for Project Management

The foundation for achieving excellence in project management can best be described as the project management maturity model (PMMM), which is comprised of five levels, as shown in Figure below. Each of the five levels represents a different degree of maturity in project management. Each level is discussed in detail in the remaining chapters. The levels are:

  • Level 1—Common language:
  • In this level, the organization recognizes the importance of project management and the need for a good understanding of the basic knowledge on project management and the accompanying language/terminology.
  • Level 2—Common processes:
  • In this level, the organization recognizes that common processes need to be defined and developed such that successes on one project can be repeated on other projects. Also included in this level is the recognition of the application and support of the project management principles to other methodologies employed by the company.

    The five levels of project management maturity:

    five levels of project management maturity

  • Level 3—Singular methodology:
  • In this level, the organization recognizes the synergistic effect of combining all corporate methodologies into a singular methodology, the center of which is project management. The synergistic effects also make process control easier with a single methodology than with multiple methodologies.
  • Level 4—Benchmarking:
  • This level contains the recognition that process improvement is necessary to maintain a competitive advantage. Benchmarking must be performed on a continuous basis. The company must decide whom to benchmark and what to benchmark.
  • Level 5—Continuous improvement:
  • In this level, the organization evaluates the information obtained through benchmarking and must then decide whether or not this information will enhance the singular methodology.

When we talk about levels of maturity (and even life cycle phases), there exists a common misbelief that all work must be accomplished sequentially (i.e., in series). This is not necessarily true. Certain levels can and do overlap. The magnitude of the overlap is based upon the amount of risk the organization is willing to tolerate. For example, a company can begin the development of project management checklists to support the methodology while it is still providing project management training for the workforce. A company can create a center of excellence (COE) in project management before benchmarking is undertaken.

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