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PMO Maturity Models

Many PMOs continue to struggle with the measurement process of PMO value. Implementing and improving PMOs are also projects. Much of the confusion is caused from the lack of well-defined value model.

We will focus on measuring the PMO value and how to measure that value in a measurable and easy to apply method through a PMO maturity model.

The PMO maturity model supports for profit and not-for-profit entities alike. Each stage of maturity indicates more value, more alignment between functional areas, more executive awareness and support and greater synchronization between projects, project managers and project teams.

The PMO model comprises of 8 levels of maturity and is measured across 9 knowledge areas of PMBOK® defined by PMI.

Overview of PMO maturity model:

Level 1 – PMO defining value

Level 2 – PMO organized

Level 3 – Searching for delivery value

Level 4 – Portfolio management

Level 5 – Community buy-in

Level 6 – Project teams delivering on schedule

Level 7 – Project teams calibrated w/portfolio

Level 8 – Organization delivering

Level 1 – PMO defining value: In this stage, the PMO is identifying what the current situation is as it begins to develop.

Some of the common characteristics are:

  1. Poor definition of in-scope or out-of-scope items
  2. Resources are allowed to work at their own pace
  3. Project costs are not estimated or tracked
  4. No standard project definition, terminology, scheduling or methodology
  5. Standard reporting processes for project delivery status are not implemented
  6. Projects start late and most finish late because of late start
  7. Resources are sought as tasks begin instead of pre-planned

Level 2 – PMO organized: Focuses on identifying the “As Is” of project delivery.

Some of the common characteristics are:

  1. A scope statement developed by supply-side PM often with IT emphasis
  2. Business partner participation is very limited and weak
  3. Functional requirements are poor and not aligned in value to the business
  4. Projects are managed on milestone reporting and predecessor / successor dependencies are not well known
  5. PMO mentors are available to help project managers determine customer needs and are assigned to the most important strategic projects as  a project management subject matter expert

Level 3 – Searching for delivery value: Brings awareness for the potential for project delivery speed improvements

Some of the common characteristics are:

  1. Functional requirements are better defined and easier translated for development purposes
  2. Regular PM community status meetings raise delivery visibility within the group
  3. Project  financials (plan vs actual) are tracked  monthly at the project level by the project team
  4. Overall fiscal health of  the project portfolio is known to date
  5. Project team members are focused on meeting customer needs that affect organization goals
  6. Project managers are using the PMO as an information source to learn and develop their own project level strategy for project delivery

Level 4 – Portfolio management: Brings more focus on working on right projects, reducing the number of active projects in the system and having greater senior management involvement in the process.

Some of the common characteristics are:

  1. Scope interdepencies between projects are understood among project managers
  2. All important projects are being tracked within project portfolio
  3. Procedures are developed to manage inter-project changes particularly in force ranking, track performance against plan and report on all projects affected assets and strategic objective compliance within the portfolio

Level 5 – Community buy-in: A change in work force attitude has emerged within the  culture. Project teams have an air about them that is fostering positive events.

Some of the common characteristics are:

  1. Executive buy-in and project management community buy-in exits for combined scope of all projects for the planned fiscal year
  2. A Project Management Information System (PMIS) is used throughout the project life cycle
  3. Project management metrics are established which supports quality goals

Level 6 – Project teams delivering on schedule: Brings about improved version in project delivery predictability.

Some of the common characteristics are:

  1. Projects are completing within scope most of the time
  2. Planning process always balances, scope, schedule and resources without overloading the system
  3. All project managers and teams have information in time to take preventive action on project threats and to take advantages of acceleration opportunities
  4. Quality issues preventing on time delivery and documented and addressed

Level 7 – Project teams calibrated with portfolio: In this level, the organization begins to see quantifiable payback in terms of unexpected budget money left over from projects completed earlier than expected.

Some of the common characteristics are:

  1. Project teams are using their delivery knowledge of scope interdepencies between projects to meet or optimize scope requirements
  2. Team based performance process has been implemented
  3. Bad multitasking is visibly reduced
  4. Metrics, procedures and training are used to raise visibility of delivery acceleration opportunities and to decrease delivery threats
  5. The steering committee demands and supports project management methodology from all functional areas

Level 8 – Organization delivering: Nirvana for PMO. By this time, there is no question about the PMO value to the business and to each individual in the workforce.

Some of the common characteristics are:

  1. All the strategic objectives of the organization are achieved in the fiscal year
  2. Over 95% of projects are completing on time worst-cases
  3. Approx 10% of projects are completing early
  4. The organization is delivering more projects without needing to add resources
  5. A process of ongoing improvement is in place, with statistical controls and identification of biggest leverage points for improved quality

PMO maturity is integrated with all other processes and is continually reviewed for  improvements and is enabling more than a 10% ROI, making it even better than plan.


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