Project Management

Guide Your PMO’s Evolution with this First-of-its-Kind PMO Maturity Index

1 Jun 2022
Joe Cahill
In guiding your PMO’s evolution, how do you determine the most constructive path forward? With no clear vision, it’s an inexact science at best. Until now. Joe Cahill reviews the findings of three research studies, conducted by PMI and PwC, that led to the development of the first-of-its-kind “Global PMO Maturity Index.”

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Project management offices (PMOs) are constantly evolving. They have to—to stay on top of shifting business conditions, new strategic requirements and changes in organizational culture. 

But how can you ensure your PMO is evolving in a constructive way. Is there a map to guide its evolution?     

At PMI, we decided to find out. Working with professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), we set out to measure the maturity of PMOs around the world. Over the course of three research studies, involving more than 4,000 respondents, we identified the attributes and strategies deployed by the most advanced PMOs worldwide. This first-of-its-kind “Global PMO Maturity Index” is a valuable resource to improve a PMO’s performance and guide its ongoing evolution.  

As part of the research, PMI and PwC were able to define the attributes that characterize the top 10 percent of PMOs. This “Top 10 Percent” comprises some 230 PMOs that excel in attracting and retaining talent, using technology to enhance measurement, achieving outcomes more aligned with business strategy and exerting greater influence within their organizations, particularly among executive leaders.  

Each of the three research studies examines a different aspect of PMO performance: 

Narrowing the Talent Gap 

Our Narrowing the Talent Gap report identifies the five capabilities that are crucial in successful project delivery: relationship building, collaborative leadership, strategic thinking, creative problem solving and commercial awareness. The Top 10 Percent are more effective in attracting and retaining talent exhibiting these characteristics. They are also more aligned with organizational strategy and are seen by executive leaders as strategic partners. 

These findings suggest that PMOs need to be more creative and data-driven in assessing their capabilities and recruiting diverse talent. They also point to the importance of encouraging lifelong learning by prioritizing learning and development (L&D) and engaging with senior leaders—both to align on the organization’s broader strategic aims and to foster a more positive image of project management.  

Measuring What Matters 

The Measuring What Matters report looks at how organizations assess PMO performance. The Top 10 Percent go beyond the “iron triangle,” i.e., scope, schedule and cost, to emphasize more compelling, outcome-based metrics such as operational efficiency or customer satisfaction. These broad-gauged measures reinforce the value of projects, raise their visibility (and that of the project team) and strengthen the business case for future projects. 

The research also indicates that the Top 10 Percent outperformed other organizations in 2020 revenue, customer satisfaction and acquisition of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) indicators. It suggests that PMOs should consider:  

  • Increasing the number of measures used and the frequency of measurement. 
  • Elevating the effectiveness of measures by aligning key performance indicators (KPIs) with wider organizational strategy and business outcomes. 
  • Involving the right stakeholders, including senior leaders, in setting metrics. 
  • Increasing the use of technology to measure the impact of projects, including the use of strategy execution management technology. 

PMO Maturity 

The final study, PMO Maturity, introduces the Global PMO Maturity Index and defines 23 elements of PMO maturity across five key dimensions: governance, integration and alignment, processes, technology and data and people. Successful execution against these principles allows the Top 10 Percent to have greater influence and impact and to deliver more successful project outcomes.  

According to the report, the average PMO maturity today is 61.4 out of a maximum of 100. The Top 10 Percent, however, are at 94.9—indicating that they perform well against all five dimensions: 

  • They have strong governance framework to effectively manage risk, ensure project visibility and measure performance. 
  • They enlist C-suite support and have KPIs aligned with the organization’s strategic and change goals. 
  • They provide consistency across the organization, ensuring that methodologies and tools are aligned with best practices but are also deployed flexibly in line with organizational needs.  
  • They lead in adopting technologies that enhance collaboration, visibility and knowledge sharing. 
  • They make talent a priority, investing in a wide range of skills to turn project professionals into effective leaders and relationship builders.  

PMOs play a vital but evolving role in driving business success and, ultimately, economic growth. By identifying the factors that contribute to PMO maturity, we, and our partners at PwC, hope to guide PMOs on their evolutionary path—helping them expand their scope beyond standard governance measures to embrace areas of broader business value, including talent development, technology adoption and strategic influence. Now that we can measure PMO maturity, let’s use this information to take our profession to the next level.   

See here to view all three reports.

Joe Cahill Joe Cahill

As Chief Customer Officer (CCO), Joe Cahill is responsible for all PMI’s Global Customer Group. He oversees the Global Customer Engagement Team, the Global Customer Experience Team and PMI’s eight geographic regions. Joe previously held the positions of COO, Interim CEO and SVP of Finance and Administration in his time with PMI.