Ask AXELOS - "How can we be sure if our programmes and projects are delivering successful results?"


"How can we be sure if our programmes and projects are delivering successful results? What's the best way of pinpointing our strengths and weaknesses?"

Mike Acaster, AXELOS PPM Portfolio ManagerMaturity is about recognizing the strengths and weaknesses in an organization’s existing portfolio, programmes and projects.

The maturity “model” has its origins in the work of US-based quality guru, Philip B. Crosby, whose work revealed that a high quality process will tend to lead to a higher quality product. And more recent reports by consulting firm PwC and PMI Pulse suggest that organizations with a higher level of maturity are more likely to deliver projects that meet business expectations.

But what is maturity? It’s a five-level model that encompasses:

  • Level 1: portfolio/programme/ project awareness in an organization
  • Level 2: each site doing different things regarding projects and programmes
  • Level 3: projects and programmes delivered consistently across the organization
  • Level 4: the organization can quantify success of process and delivery
  • Level 5: continuous learning and application of knowledge to change and improve ways of working

Alongside an understanding of the different maturity levels are a number of crucial questions:
Do you know how many of your projects are successful? What is success?
Where is your organization on the maturity scale?
What do you need to do to reach your preferred level on the maturity scale?

A maturity model approach will enable you to answer those questions and focus your efforts on improvement.

AXELOS’ P3M3® Model breaks down the approach into seven organizational perspectives: organizational governance, management control, benefits management, risk management, resource management, financial management and stakeholder management.

Each of these perspectives is about the organization looking at how effectively its essential processes are working. What you will learn is whether these perspectives and processes are something you’ve actually got or you merely think you’ve got.

This should be of particular interest to an organization’s chief financial officer, head of profession for projects and programmes or someone sitting in the centre of excellence.

And what they can expect from adopting the maturity model are cost savings and more timely delivery of portfolio, programme and project management. It might also mean borrowing less to cover risks that are better managed, controlling benefits through more successful delivery and improved use of existing assets.

The P3M3 review 2015

Having listened to feedback from P3M3 users, we’ve undertaken a review that will go live in 2015:

This follows the launch of a high-level, online self-assessment tool earlier in 2014 which, albeit welcomed by the community, does not give detailed diagnostic information on which to base improvements. The new model includes three questions per perspective with a particular focus on people, performance and processes. The self-assessment is a quick and simple means to understand where an organization is in the 5-level maturity model. It often forms the first step of using the more detailed diagnostic assessment which can then be used to form the basis of an improvement plan.

So, we have reviewed the main P3M3 model to address areas such as commercial activity, supply chain management, procurement as well as behavioural aspects and asset management.

The re-structured model will also help you to obtain greater detail on the root causes of problems across the seven perspectives, allowing you to drill down and get an enhanced understanding; for example, if benefits management is weak, where exactly is it weak? It will also allow you to identify systemic or subject matter-specific weakness so, for example, whether “planning” is a problem across all areas or only one.

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