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FIGURE 19-1. The five levels of maturity.

performed on a continuous basis. The company must decide whom to benchmark and what to benchmark.

• Level 5—Continuous Improvement: In this level, the organization evaluates the information obtained through benchmarking and must then decide whether or not this information will enhance the singular methodology.

When we talk about levels of maturity (and even life-cycle phases), there exists a common misbelief that all work must be accomplished sequentially (i.e., in series). This is not necessarily true. Certain levels can and do overlap. The magnitude of the overlap is based upon the amount of risk the organization is willing to tolerate. For example, a company can begin the development of project management checklists to support the methodology while it is still providing project management training for the workforce. A company can create a center for excellence in project management before benchmarking is undertaken.

Although overlapping does occur, the order in which the phases are completed cannot change. For example, even though Level 1 and Level 2 can overlap, Level 1 must still be completed before Level 2 can be completed. Overlapping of several of the levels can take place, as shown in Figure 19-2.

• Overlap of Level 1 and Level 2: This overlap will occur because the organization can begin the development of project management processes either while refinements are being made to the common language or during training.

FIGURE 19-2. Overlapping levels.

• Overlap of Level 3 and Level 4: This overlap occurs because, while the organization is developing a singular methodology, plans are being made as to the process for improving the methodology.

• Overlap of Level 4 and Level 5: As the organization becomes more and more committed to benchmarking and continuous improvement, the speed by which the organization wants changes to be made can cause these two levels to have significant overlap. The feedback from Level 5 back to Level 4 and Level 3, as shown in Figure 19-3, implies that these three levels form a continuous improvement cycle, and it may even be possible for all three of these levels to overlap.

Level 2 and Level 3 generally do not overlap. It may be possible to begin some of the Level 3 work before Level 2 is completed, but this is highly unlikely. Once a company is committed to a singular methodology, work on other methodologies generally terminates. Also, companies can create a Center for Excellence in project management early in the life-cycle process, but will not receive the full benefits until later on.

Risks can be assigned to each level of the PMMM. For simplicity's sake, the risks can be labeled as low, medium, and high. The level of risk is most frequently associated with the impact on the corporate culture. The following definitions can be assigned to these three risks:

The Project Management Maturity Model (PMMM)

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