Strategies to Improve Project Management Maturity

Strategies to Improve Project Management Maturity

Walter H. Sargent (Walden University, USA) and Gail A. Ferreira (Walden University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3197-5.ch014


Information technology organizations lose significant competitive value when business leaders fail to use project management maturity (PMM) processes that enhance market delivery, reduce costs, and increase profitability. Using a multiple-case study, the researcher explored strategies that project leaders have used to improve PMM. Thematic analysis and cross-case analysis revealed six major strategies to improve PMM processes: project leader development, customer focus, standard methodology development, interactive communication, establishing a project office organizational structure, and practicing continuous process improvement. The results are important because they reveal an opportunity to extend constrained resources and organizational buying power for deliverables required by the recipient.
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Project management maturity (PMM) is a measure of the development and evolution of the company’s methods, tools, and techniques related to PM; the PMM level indicates improvements in areas such as on-time project delivery, cost reductions, organizational efficiency, and profitability (Spalek, 2014). The application of the PMM model as a tool has continuously evolved and has been applied in more than 30 separate research approaches (Brookes, Butler, Dey, & Clark, 2014). The PMM model, developed between 1983 and 1993, evolved from the capability maturity model (Paulk, Weber, Curtis, & Chrissis, 1993) and later developed into the capability maturity model integration introduced by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI). The concept of PMM levels emerged in the 1990s (Kerzner, 2013). As the level of maturity in the project management office (PMO) increases, the level of investment also rises (Spalek, 2014); ROI is also a factor in achieving equilibrium and establishing an ideal PMM level. The significance of this study is the benefit of sharing PMM processes with the stakeholders of PMOs, such as church organizations, NFPOs, and small businesses by increasing understanding of the value of the PMO’s PMM level (Spalek, 2014). PMM is significant as organizational leadership emerges to realize an increase in PM performance (Lappe & Spang, 2014). Members of organizational leadership, project managers, PM team members—as well as academics—may benefit from the findings of this research through creation of strategic value for the organization and through a demonstrated understanding of the potential increase in profitability and realized beneficial value (Coombs, 2015; Serra & Kunc, 2015). True PM successes lead to operational effectiveness and cost efficiencies that result in higher profitability and secure a competitive advantage in the industry for a company, a small business, or an NFPO (Lappe & Spang, 2014).

Increasing the PMM level of the PMO affects future project costs and positively affects employee training, new tool development, and improved staff skills (Spalek, 2014). Improving the work environment in the PMO leads to greater job satisfaction and job security, both of which have a lasting impact on the triple constraint of PM (performance, time, and scope) in the IT industry (Hamid, Ghafoor, & Shah, 2012). Applying the PMM model to improve business practices throughout the organization is a proven method of generating performance changes through the factors of (a) cultural intelligence, (b) EI, (c) knowledge management, and (d) continuous process improvement (CPI) (Brookes et al., 2014).

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