The Importance of Organizational PMO Maturity

It is widely accepted that a well-designed topology (networked) of PMOs within an organization through their interactions and services they provide, creates a long-lasting impact on an organization’s achievement and sustainment of its strategic objectives.

The growth of an organization through its ability to realize projects in a practicable way is directly linked to the strategically aligned PMO services, offered and delivered across one or more collaborative PMOs with optimized capabilities and capacities to deliver those services.

AIPMO’s PMO Principle based Maturity (Capability) Model

The Association of International Project Officers (AIPMO) developed its PMO Maturity Model based around the Strategic PMO Lifecycle framework. This enables maturity assessments to be made and provides development activities as an input to a roadmap towards achieving an external benchmarkable certification based on a concept of ‘maximum potential benefits’ and secondly an internal organizational benchmark based on a concept of ‘maximum potential value’ for one or more PMOs.

Using a number of academically ground models with industry proven concepts AIPMO’s PMO Maturity Model assesses the maturity of one or more PMOs within an organization.

The AIPMO’s PMO maturity model effectively is built around the usage of nine critical checkpoints. These eight key assessment points determine your current maturity levels and deliver detailed recommendations to enable the generation of sustained value from your existing PMO investments going forwards.
The following 3 critical questions are answered:

  1. Does the organization derive maximum strategic value from their PMOs?
  2. Do(es) the PMOs operate effectively and efficiently?
  3. Do(es) the PMOs have the right levels of capabilities and capacity for the provision of their services?

Nine Checkpoints

Traditional maturity models equate consistency with maturity and therefore focus typically on the procedural aspects of a PMO. The term maturity is not the best term to be associated with PMOs as PMOs need to constantly adapt and therefore ensure they have the capability to offer at any time the services needed within and across organization(s) in an optimized way.

AIPMO’s Maturity model includes nine checkpoints developed to go beyond those limitations of traditional assessment by using explicit and near tacit knowledge such as using PMO Principles, governance paradigm, decision model, culture model, leadership model and answering the much harder questions around capabilities to discover both current maturity level and provide recommendations to make the PMO provide sustainable value. The checkpoints below use a combination of techniques such as interviews, online surveys, document reviews, organizational design and PMO topology and PMO Services designs to determine the internal (max potential value) benchmark and the external (maximum potential benefits). The checkpoints are for one or more PMOs but described in the single tense.



1. Strategic Purpose


Through the assessment of the PMO’s vision and mission, its strategy and the capabilities around adaptive alignment and continuous improvement, the “strategic purpose” factor of the PMO is measured.
2. Principles and Governance The PMO Principles and Governance checkpoint evaluates how well organizational l governance is reflected in the way the PMO has been established and operates. If PMO principles are defined and applied within the PMO and the services it offers.

3. Benefits


This checkpoint assesses the currently derived benefits through the services activities of the PMO. Those benefits will be compared to the ‘requested benefits’ defined by key stakeholders and the expected ‘maximum potential benefits’ which comprises of three parts (PMOs direct area of influence, PMO indirect area of influence and other PMOs influence on this PMO.
4. Value This checkpoint is a partly objective and partly subjective therefore looks at the perception of value from the clients of the PMO. A series of techniques as used to determine this.
5. PMO Set-up, Run, Monitor and Control The PMO Set-up and Control checkpoints assesses the organizational structure, the team cohesion, the inherent cultural and other components of the internal management of the PMO.
6. PMO Capabilities and Competencies This checkpoint looks at the strategic management, business management, program and project management capabilities that AIPMO research shows are prevalent in high performing PMO, plus more generic competencies the PMO Director and his team should possess.
7. Service Management The Service Management checkpoint evaluates the capabilities around service strategy, service design, service transition, service operation and service retirement.
8. Service Capability and Capacity This checkpoint specifically addresses the question of whether the service capabilities required are present and managed within the organization and whether the capacity to fulfill the service are actively managed to ensure they meet service demands.
9.  PMO topology and PMO Services Design This checkpoint is used to understand if the PMO or PMOs under assessment are in the optimal organizational structure (PMO topology) including the services they are offering (PMO Services topology). This checkpoint is used  as a reference point to determine the degrees of misalignment which will impact the external maturity benchmark


Assessment Approach

The AIPMO Maturity (Capability) assessment approach focuses on PMO maturity based on the knowledge that PMOs act as a supply chain for projects and programs. PMOs add value by delivering the services (from a potential suite of over 200 services identified in IPMO’s Guide to the PMO Body of Knowledge) that are required to ensure the highest probability of achieving business objectives. Mature PMO deliver a balanced suite of services that improve the expected sustainable value from project-based activity.

To run effective maturity assessments, IPMO has built the assessment of one or more PMOs on 3 main pillars:

  • Pillar 1: The assessment is based on the AIPMO PMO lifecycle.
  • Pillar 2: The assessment team is using the PMO Maturity (Capability) Model.
  • Pillar 3: The assessment will be performed by ACE professionals (selected and certified by AIPMO); each has proven competencies for both Advisory and Consulting and is an Expert (ACE) in the field of projects, programs, portfolios (PPP) and PMOs.