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Introduction to the new version of P3M3 - 18th November 2015

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Aimed at project professionals with an intermediate level of experience, a packed audience attended a presentation at BAWA in Bristol on the evening of 18 November to listen to Rod Sowden, from Aspire Europe Ltd, provide an excellent and informative introduction and overview of the new version of the Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model (P3M3®). Rod explained that Version 3 of the P3M3 model was released earlier this summer by AXELOS and that it builds on the successes of the 2008 version which has been utilised across private and public sectors globally. Since 2008 many lessons have been learned about the utility and application of the model as well as, very importantly, the characteristics and behaviours of organisations across a wide range of markets. All of this data has now been embedded into the new, 2015, model. 

Rod explained that P3M3 was first released in 2005 as a maturity model based on CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) but this had little traction in industry. The 2008 version had much more success, being adopted by Australian and New Zealand governments as the method for measuring and managing performance of their departments. Virtually all UK government departments have now had an assessment completed along with many private sector organisations. The uses of P3M3 are becoming increasingly sophisticated, including being used to validate supply chains, commercial arrangements, behaviours, systems integration and improved diagnostics. 

The cost of low maturity can be severe in terms of slow or random decision-making, poor knowledge management, hidden operational costs or excessive reporting and documentation. Rod explained the concepts behind the new, easier to use, maturity model approach and how they have been successfully adopted by the P3M industry and that the model is very much aligned to professional bodies of knowledge including PMI, ISO and APM. The backdrop to organisational change management of course is that nothing remains the same and that change is a constant. Rod went on to describe the interactions of the model in terms of threads, perspectives and levels and how these are interpreted and measured using the range of maturity levels defined in the model i.e. level 1 (awareness), level 2 (repeatable), level 3 (defined), level 4 (managed) and level 5 (optimised). It was interesting to note that few organisations ever reach and sustain level 3. Rod also described the key components around organisational performance measurement and improvement which looked at the range of specific key features of control, benefits, finance, risk, stakeholders, governance and resources as particularly important for delivery and change success. It was also interesting to note that not all organisations need to be as mature as they possibly can be as this was seen as a function of the market that they operated in, the specific business drivers and the nature of the business. However, there are clear incentives for introducing a maturity model in to the business including finance or cost. Rod gave a range of examples including where NDA (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority), Sellafield and TfL (Transport for London) were able to reduce operational and project costs by some significant margins.

Rod also introduced new books that he has written which are about to be launched by the The Stationary Office (TSO) to support programme management roles in a series called the MSP Survival Guides, there are specific publications for each of the key roles, namely the BCM (Business Change Manager) Survival Guide, the SRO (Senior Responsible Owner) Survival Guide and the PgM (Programme Manager) Survival Guide; all interesting sources of views, ideas and approaches for us as project managers. Fundamentally, effective and efficient organisational performance is all about doing the right things in the right ways for the right reasons.  He has also authored a book called the Easy Guide to Project Planning, which is also due out in the New Year, this came about directly as a result of the systemic weakness he had been observing in P3M3 assessments.

Rod was the P3M3 lead author for the 2008 version and joint lead author of the 2015 version. He has been one of the most influential figures in the P3M assurance industry over the last few years. He was the lead author for MSP 2007 and 2011; the de-facto guide on programme management. He has made a major contribution to understanding and improving organisational performance from his design and development of the P3M3 maturity model which has been adopted globally. He is also the founder of Aspire Europe Ltd, which is the leading P3M organisation, offering accredited assessments, training and consultancy.



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