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Monday, November 06, 2006

Project Management Maturity and You

The subject of Project Management Maturity has been given a lot of press lately. At this year's PMI Global Conference there were lots of vendors selling all kinds of products to help organizations and project managers increase their project management maturity level. As project managers, we need training and tools to help us perform to at our best. Over the years I have evaluated several products to help me manage my projects more effectively. I like two products in particular because they are reasonably priced, and have free templates and processes available on their websites that you can put to use right away.

The products I'm speaking of are:
TenStep's Project Management Process and
PMOStep - Project Management Office process also available from TenStep

I also use a great collection of templates and forms called the Project Management Kit from Method123.

As I said, I own, use, and highly recommend products from both of these vendors. They are the only sites I advertise on this blog because I use them both and can say that they are a great deal for the money.

Now, lets talk about Project Management Maturity.

It is widely agreed that there are five levels of Project Management Maturity.

They are (my definition):

LEVEL 1 - INITIAL- No consistency in the organization's approach to project management

LEVEL 2 - REPEATABLE - There are some project management processes being utilized. There are some procedures developed for managing projects. There are some measures in place to help measure project management performance.

LEVEL 3 - DEFINED - Formal integrated processes are in place and they are agreed upon. There are project management coaches in the organization, and project management training is emphasized and provided to all project managers. Project management procedures are integrated around project scope, quality, time, cost, etc.

LEVEL 4 - MANAGED - Project reviews and benchmarking are formal. Project results are and procedures are benchmarked and used as a basis for improvement.

LEVEL 5 - OPTIMIZED - Continuous improvement is the driver behind project management excellence. Data is used to make decisions. Errors and anomalies are analyzed and patched to support continuous improvement. Project management success is visible to all. Project management skills and a project centric culture is embedded in the organization. Performance and innovation drive the organization towards excellence.

We exist as project managers to help our organization improve project performance. In order to help ourselves and our organization's projects succeed, we need to:

Continuously improve our project management processes and procedures

Conduct post project reviews

Benchmark our project results internally and externally

Be continuous learners

Use tools that are relevant to our jobs

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