Earlier this month I looked at the P3O guidance, from the same people who produce PRINCE2, and discussed the 5 maturity levels that are applied to projects, programmes, and portfolios under that framework. Today I’m going to look at the 7 perspectives of maturity from the same guidance.

What’s a ‘perspective’? This is what P3O calls a theme. The 7 perspectives are just 7 themes to consider when making a judgment about organizational maturity. You’ll see what I mean as we look at them each in turn.

Perspective 1: Management Control

The Management Control perspective is simply a judgment about how good the project management processes are in the company. For example, if only some departments are using project management processes, that’s not very good. If all departments are using a standard process, approved methodologies and there is central, organizational control, then that is very good.

project management control

This perspective seeks to establish how widespread the adoption of project management is across the business, plus how well that adoption is working. It also looks at whether projects are aligned to business objectives, so there is a bit of assessment there about how good a job any central team is doing about assessing new requests for work.

Perspective 2: Benefits Management

This perspective attempts to define how good the company’s approach to managing benefits actually is. It considers whether or not there is a central approach for defining project benefits. It also looks at whether these are tracked post-implementation and who does it. Success measures also fall into this category. An average company will have success measures in place for all projects, so benefits can be defined.

management of benefits

All this is of little value if the benefits are not actually realized, so a good part of this perspective is about making sure that there are benefits reviews in place. These benefit reviews should focus not just on whether the benefits have been realized, but also on how the benefits can be turned into something more tangible or improved in any way, as well as how they can be measured.

Perspective 3: Financial Management

This looks at everything money-related from financial controls for managing to spend on projects to the production of business cases. This area also overlaps with risk, as one of the key criteria in this perspective is whether financial elements are taken into account during financial planning. If you want to score more highly in this perspective, you’ll need to make sure that projects are prioritized with money in mind, so that there is evidence that the company is spending money on the most appropriate initiatives.

Perspective 4: Stakeholder Management

This is a vague perspective, and it looks as if the measure has been thrown in because OGC felt that stakeholders needed a mention. It seems to cover process improvement, managing lessons learned and sharing good practice. I can’t see that this covers anything about standard approaches to managing stakeholder communication (at least at project level).

Perspective 5: Risk Management

As you would expect, this perspective looks at all things risk related. It assesses how robust the risk management practices are from whether risk management is done through to the involvement of business stakeholders in assessing the risks and carrying out relevant risk mitigation activities.

risk management

At the higher levels of maturity, there should be a demonstrable link between risk management work and how the project manager plans. In other words, risk mitigation activities should be included on the plan so that they can be seen by all stakeholders when viewed in Seavus Project Viewer or whatever tool you are using for sharing the project plan.

Perspective 6: Organizational Governance

This overlaps with the Management Control perspective, but it focuses more on roles and responsibilities, the presence (or otherwise) or terms of reference documentation for project workstreams and having clear governance structures applied equally to all projects. This perspective also covers a bit about stakeholder engagement in that it says it is important to make sure that the project governance structure sits within the corporate governance structure and that projects don’t operate outside the normal management processes.

Perspective 7: Resource Management

The final perspective looks at resource management. As you would expect, low-scoring companies will have no central way to manage project resources, and the allocation of team members to projects will be ad hoc. More mature organizations will have a method of selecting the most appropriate resources, knowing when they are available, and allocating them to the right projects. The best-performing companies in the maturity stakes will have this resource allocation done centrally.