Project management maturity: a critical analysis of existing and emergent factors

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Journal Article
International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 2012, 5 (1), pp. 146 - 157
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© 2012, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report on the findings of a doctoral thesis examining the limitations of project management maturity and associated models. It examines the management of undefined projects where the definition, repeatability and predictability of processes cannot be reasonably expected. The challenge to project management maturity theorists is to recognize the possibility of project management maturity in an environment characterized by undefined project elements and the requirement for greater flexibility in their management. Design/methodology/approach – This inquiry was supported by a multimethod (MXM) research design with two stages: a content/textual analysis of two different collections of maturity models, and an exploratory case study of two university sites. The analysis (supported by grounded theory techniques) contributed to the development of a 4-node conceptual framework that was used as the primary data collection instrument at two Canadian university sites. Findings – Results indicate that multiple non-process factors can contribute to a mature project management capability. These can include context-specific values, specialized bodies of knowledge (instructional design), customer involvement, third-party influence, and tacit “human factors” such as trust and creativity. The demands of this inquiry also demonstrated the need for a new data collection sequence in multimethod research design theory. Practical implications – Practitioners are encouraged to consider customer involvement, organizational dynamics and adaptable variables such as leadership (among other non-process factors) in their assessment of the maturity of their project management capability, and designers of future models could explore a multi-dimensional approach that includes context-specific factors to assessing and defining project management maturity. Originality/value – This research expands the conceptual view and practical assessment of project management maturity; offers new analysis of the current generation of project management maturity models; documents e-Learning project management; and defines a new data collection sequencing model.
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