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Introduction to the new version of P3M3

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On June 2015 Axelos released the latest version of their Portfolio, Programme, and Project Management Maturity Model (P3M3). This provides a framework where organisations can assess their current performance and plan for improvement when managing and delivering change. Over the 11 years which the model has evolved Axelos have released three versions. The initial version was released in 2005 as a maturity model based on CMMI, but had little take up. The second release, the 2008 version had much more success, being adopted by the Australian and New Zealand governments as the method for measuring and managing performance of their department. Relatively all the UK government departments have now had an assessment done, along with many private sector organisations. The uses of P3M3 are becoming increasingly sophisticated, including being used to validate supply chains. Since 2008 a lot more data has been established regarding the model and the characteristics of organisations which has been embedded into version three’s new model. 

With the new model being established the APM utilised the opportunity to have Geof Leigh, Director of Assess for Aspire, to speak on behalf of the APM. Assess to Aspire is the leading P3M3 assessment organisation in the world. Geof elaborated on the new aspects of P3M3 version three and also gave an oversight on his consulting experience and how he is a contributor to writing the latest P3M3 model. 

The event was aimed at project professionals with an intermediate level of experience. The seminar was hosted at the Leeds Metropole hotel where Geof explained how the five levels of maturity are assessed by looking at the organisations use of control, benefit, financing, risk, stakeholders, governance and resources. The results correlate against the P3M3 cube, which is a 3D model containing five levels (how maturity is managed), seven perspectives (major process grouping) and a minimum of nine out of thirteen threads (assessment areas). The results are marked in three stages. Initially an 80 question survey is sent out for the PMO to complete and then followed by a desk review. At maturity level four and above all processes must be physically written and analysed. The second stage investigates how the organisations data is received and used. Then finally the third stage is marked around process and followed up with face to face interviews. Once the organisation has the results it can begin working on where its weakness’ are and how it can attain a higher maturity level and be a more effective PMO. 

To put into perspective on how an organisation which increases its levels of maturity can be financially beneficial Geof gave the example of how Transport for London saved a total of one billion pounds when increasing its maturity level from one to four. The five stages are broken down into awareness, repeatable, defined, managed and optimised. Geof further explained how it is not always justified for companies to attempt to receive the optimised maturity level and more that an organisation would normally look to increasing one level every 18 months and should aim for the most financial viable option.  

In conclusion the attendee’s of the event came away with a positive outlook on how the latest version of the P3M3 works, why an assessment of the P3M3 model is important and what its benefits include.


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