Whatever Happened to Organizational PM Maturity



By David Pells

Managing Editor

Addison, Texas, USA



Organizational project management maturity seems like an important topic.  Can an organization successfully plan, implement and deliver a critical project? Can it do so for more than one project?  Can it do so consistently over time? If you are an owner, how mature are the contractors that you may hire for a project? Will any of them screw it up? Will they save you money or cost you more? How does each contractor compare with others in terms of capabilities, competence or past performance? How can you know? These questions would seem to be at the heart of maturity models and assessments. And especially important if a project is mission-critical?

Ten years ago, project management maturity models were a hot topic.  PMI had its Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3), PM Solutions in the USA had a robust PM maturity model based on J. Kent Crawford’s book[1] and an aggressive PM maturity assessment business, the UK had the P3M3© and PRINCE2 Maturity Model (P2MM), and a quite large consulting industry was growing worldwide around this whole subject.  According to projectmanagementacademy.net, there have been more than 20 PM maturity models developed and promoted.[2]

There seem to be many consulting companies still promoting PM maturity models and assessment, especially in technology industries.  While many articles, research papers and books about PM maturity were published between 2000 and 2015, the topic seems to have died.  PMI dropped its OPM3 standard and support in 2017. Since 2015, the interest in PM maturity models seems to me to have declined. Why might this be? Why did PMI back away from OPM3?  I suspect it is because it’s a hard sell, especially in IT and technology organizations.

How many executives of technology companies want to hear that they are immature, or may need to spend much time and money to increase their PM capabilities?  How many executives want to admit that they are not as smart, experienced or knowledgeable as they thought?  And if they did, how many would want that information to be made public or shared with customers, employees or other stakeholders?  The dichotomy here is that it takes either a naive or very mature (and confident) manager, executive or organization to tackle the whole maturity topic.  Maybe there are other factors leading to the decline of PM maturity models and assessments…


To read entire editorial, click here

How to cite this paper: Pells, D.L. (2020). Whatever Happened to Organizational Project Management Maturity; PM World Journal, Vol. IX, Issue X, October.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/pmwj98-Oct2020-Pells-whatever-happened-to-organizational-project-management-maturity3.pdf



About the Author

David L. Pells

Managing Editor, PMWJ
Managing Director, PMWL


David L. Pells is Managing Editor of the PM World Journal (www.pmworldjournal.net) and Managing Director of the PM World Library (www.pmworldlibrary.net). David is an internationally recognized leader in the field of professional project management with more than 35 years of experience on a variety of programs and projects, including engineering, construction, energy, defense, transit, technology and nuclear security, and project sizes ranging from thousands to billions of dollars. He occasionally acts as project management advisor for U.S. national laboratories and agencies, and currently serves as an independent advisor for a major U.S. national security program.

David Pells has been an active professional leader in the United States since the 1980s, serving on the board of directors of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) twice.  He was founder and chair of the Global Project Management Forum (1995-2000), an annual meeting of leaders of PM associations from around the world. David was awarded PMI’s Person of the Year award in 1998 and Fellow Award, PMI’s highest honor, in 1999. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Association for Project Management (APM) in the UK; Project Management Associates (PMA – India); the Instituto Italiano di Project Management (ISIPM), based in Rome; and the Russian Project Management Association (SOVNET).  He is an honorary member of the Project Management Association of Nepal.

Former managing editor of PM World Today, he is the creator, editor and publisher of the PM World Journal (ISSN:2330-4480).  David has a BA in Business Administration from the University of Washington and an MBA from Idaho State University in the USA.  He has published widely and spoken at events worldwide.  David lives near Dallas, Texas and can be contacted at editor@pmworldjournal.com.

To see other works by David Pells, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/david-l-pells/


[1] Crawford, J.K. “What is Project Management Maturiy?” IT Performance Improvement; undated at http://www.ittoday.info/ITPerformanceImprovement/Articles/2015-03Crawford.html

[2] See https://projectmanagementacademy.net/articles/project-management-maturity/; as this webpage is not dated and because it discusses PMI’s OPM3 maturity model, I can only guess that it is several years old.