Avraham Mordoch presented his thoughts on an organizational maturity model for project management environments, and specifically related to Critical Chain Project Management. It was very interesting to listen to in relation to my recent experiences with project management work.
He made a big disclaimer that while he uses the term maturity model, it wasn't a modification of the other familiar models, such as CMMI or OPM3. A list of models is available on wikipedia. The presentation was about 90 minutes, and he could have used at least another ninety minutes to discuss the full model. As it was, he focused on the first several elements of his model.
The model describes six levels of maturity: Chaos, Ad-Hoc, Planned, Organized, Integrative, and Optimal. In his talk, Mordoch described some of the characteristics of each stage and the transition between stages. Of particular note, he suggested that it makes no sense to try to implement a higher-level capability when operating under chaos. In his discussion, he said that CCPM could only be implemented once an organization was at least in the "Ad-Hoc" stage.
What is the chaos stage? How do you know it exists? In a multi-project environment (where resources are shared), Chaos is defined by lack of a plan for any one of the projects; or lack of updates on any one project; or lack of a common management methodology for the projects. Note that this doesn't say a lack of plans for ALL projects, it is a lack for any one project that will create chaos in the system. The inevitable effects will be things like
- unpredictability: difficult to impossible to predict the output or response to a change.
- sensitivity to initial conditions: two similar projects will have vastly different results.
- time irreversibility: changes cannot be undone without creating a greater impact than the loss of time. This was a curious wording of the effect that is tied to the unpredictability and sensitivity above.
The next stage is Planned, and here the discussion here seemed to blend thoughts about implementing CCPM with the overall description of the maturity levels, so it is harder to describe the specifics. The conditions changing from merely having plans to having challenging plans (with a buffer) AND having a good execution methodology (buffer management).
As an organization moves through the Planned stage, they move from being able to manage multiple projects independently to being able to manage the interdependency within projects. The PMO also grows from the basic capabilities described for Ad-Hoc into an organization that supports management in the execution of their strategy. Among other things, this implies that the PMO must report to the highest level of the organization. The PMO is responsible for monitoring the project system, identifying problems, proposing solutions to management, and implementing decisions.
It seems that the model isn't fully complete, yet, at least in the form presented today. And I am not intimately familiar with the other types of maturity model. I look forward to thinking about how this relates to CCPM projects. And I look forward to seeing this fleshed out some more.