Components of Project Management Maturity Impacting Project, Program, Portfolio, and Organizational Success

Components of Project Management Maturity Impacting Project, Program, Portfolio, and Organizational Success

Robert Chee Choong Gan (ROGAN Strategic Advisory, Malaysia) and Christina May May Chin (University of Nottingham – Malaysia, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3197-5.ch007
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Due to alarmingly high failure rates attributed to either a lack of project implementation or if implemented, poor results in organizations, many PM consulting organizations have begun developing their own PM maturity models (PM3) to assess organization maturity level, to identify their clients' PM maturity gap, and to provide a pathway by which their clients could move up the maturity scale and performance. Despite the many claims of PM3 assessment capabilities, the lack of success in market adoption of PM3 models suggests the need for more studies to identify if these are due to the many definition of project success, the lack of consensus of what the components of PM3 should be, or the increasing expectations of the PM community. Thus, this chapter aims to identify the reasons behind differing organizations' views on the dimension of project success, components of PM3's direct impact on organizational performance, and how PM maturity can be measured and correlated to the various level of organizational success with a new approach known as DPM3.
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In the last decade, Thomas and Mullaly (2009) and Papke-shields et. al. (2009) had shown that organisational success can be attributable to higher Project Management (PM) maturity. To capitalize on these findings, many PM consulting organisations has developed their own PM maturity models (PM3) to assess their organisations’ maturity level, PM maturity gap, and as a pathway by which these organisations could move up their maturity scale. All these were designed with the implicit view that with higher PM maturity levels, it will lead to higher organisational performance.

However, Candido and Santos’ (2015) study, comprising of 300+ research papers spanning the last 35 years, continued to show alarming high failure rates in organisations attributed to either a lack of project implementation or if implemented, are with numerous poor results. So, why has PM3 not produced the improved project performance that has been anticipated?

If tremendous value could be derived from having good PM3s to help organisations move up their PM maturity scale, why do high project failure rate continues to surge? (Wendler, 2012 and Candido and Santos, 2015). What are the underlying reasons for the incongruence observed by researchers?

Wendler’s (2012) mapped a total of 237 articles about PM3, yet still found there is no precise definition of PM3 which has impeded comparative studies, and prevented a common point of reference and meaningful discussions on the subject. The gaps in the evaluation and validation of developed PM3 by Wendler (2012) has further cast doubts upon the research data collected and trends revealed.

Additionally, there was also a lack of consensus about the components that PM3 should consist of (Candido and Santos, 2015). Thus, without a common ground to develop the PM3 models, all parties (e.g. organisations) are likely to move in the directions closer to their commercial agenda, capitalising on their perceived width and depth of knowledge and experience. Such result will thus render PM3 statistics of performance and failures incomparable.

Projects of significant value and or scale often go through many stages of development from Idea development/Strategy formulation, Feasibility study, to Design for purpose, using business management approaches before it is being implemented or constructed using PM methodology. However, in Candido and Santos (2015) research statistics, they did not seem to differentiate the stages at which projects failed nor show which failure were attributable to failed PM performance. This differentiation is critical for a proper understanding of who is accountable for which project stage and using what skill sets as projects fail for various reasons at work. For example, failures could be due to inadequate business management in terms of inappropriate identification of project problem, project design not fulfilling purpose, not achieving the return on investment, change in strategic imperatives, inability to turn around the business, client premature project termination due to insufficient funds or client abandoning the project. Such distinctions are needed before root causes can be isolated for solutions and for meaningful comparison of project failures statistics.

Since 2013, PMBok 5th edition has extended the criteria for project success from scope, schedule and cost (known as the triple constraints) to also include management of risk exposure, effective management of project resources and meeting stakeholder expectations (known as the hexagonal constraints). Unless the project performances from 2013 had been adjusted to account for these differences, Candido and Santos’ research data after 2013 would have been invalid through a lack of common measure of project success or failure.

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