Maturity in Project Management Series: The Importance of Knowing Your Project, Program, and Portfolio Management Maturity: PPPMM


By Russell D. Archibald

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico


Darci Prado

Minas Gerais, Brazil

The world today depends on projects: almost a third of the world economy is generated through projects [1]. For many organizations, projects ensure their future and allow them to survive and grow. Projects can be seen in the construction of a new factory to launch a new product, the restructuring of a recently acquired company, the development and implementation of a computerized application, and achievement of many other strategic objectives. A thorough analysis of the world scene shows that failures to plan and execute projects properly have serious negative impacts on business results. For example, a study by the Standish Group [2], which has analyzed the efficiency of management of software projects in the U.S. since 1994, shows that the project success rate today in this area is still very low: 37%.


“In every kind of organization – governmental, institutional and industrial – there is a growing recognition that, although there are many projects within the organization, they are often poorly understood and  inadequately managed” – Archibald [3]


The world is becoming globalized and we are living in an era of great change, and the execution of complex and large projects has become common. For a growing number of organizations, the challenge is how to manage their projects and programs successfully. But ultimately, what is success? Certainly, the concept of project success is naturally understood in each department of organizations where the subject is practiced. However, conceptualizing success in project management, in a generic form that can be widely accepted, is not easy because this science has been applied in various human activities and traits that create significant differences. The following statement is not intended to be theoretically accurate in every respect and with comprehensive application without question, but is suitable for the purposes of this introductory text:


A successful project is one that hits the target.
This usually means it was completed and produced the expected results and benefits, and key stakeholders were fully satisfied.
Moreover, it is expected that the project has been completed within the requirements for schedule, cost, scope and quality (small differences can be accepted, depending on the type of project).


Project/Program/Portfolio Management Maturity

The concept of maturity is quite intuitive and has applications in many aspects of our day-to-day lives. In the case of project management, maturity is linked to how well an organization is able to manage their projects. The issue came into vogue rather recently, but it already occupies a prominent place: numerous articles have appeared in journals, lectures are given covering the subject, and graduate students choose the theme for their completion of course work or master’s thesis. After all, why so much interest in the topic? Of course it is inherent in the fact that organizations and processes evolve and mature, and that there is an intuitive relationship between maturity and success. In the case of Project Management (PM), several research studies [5,6,7,8] made in recent years have shown that maturity and success really go together. Figure 1 shows the results of these studies [3] for projects in the category New Product Development.


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Editor’s note: The Project Management Maturity series of articles by Russell Archibald & Prof Darci Prado is based on their extensive research on this topic in Brazil, the United States and other countries.  Russ is one of the pioneers in the project management field and the originator of the Archibald Project Categorization Model.  Darci is the developer of the Prado Project Management Maturity Model which has been successfully implemented by many organizations in Brazil.  More about this model and related research can be found at http://www.maturityresearch.com/. 

About the Authors 

flag-usa-mexicorussell d archibaldRussell D. Archibald

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 

Russell D. Archibald: PhD (Hon) ESC-Lille (Fr), MSc (U of Texas) & BS (U of Missouri) Mechanical Engineering, PMP, Fellow PMI and Honorary Fellow APM/IPMA (member of the Board of IPMA/INTERNET 1974-83), held engineering and executive positions in aerospace, petroleum, telecommunications, and automotive industries in the USA, France, Mexico and Venezuela (1948-1982). Russ also had 9 years of active duty as a pilot officer with the U.S. Army Air Corps (1943-46) and as a Senior Pilot and Project Engineer with the U. S. Air Force (1951-58.) Since 1982 he has consulted to companies, agencies and development banks in 16 countries on 4 continents, and has taught project management principles and practices to thousands of managers and specialists around the world. He is co-author (with Shane Archibald) of Leading and Managing Innovation: What Every Executive Team Must Know About Project, Program, and Portfolio Management (2013); author of Managing High-Technology Programs and Projects (3rd Edition 2003), also published in Russian, Italian, and Chinese; other books (in English, Italian, Japanese, and Hungarian); and many papers on project management. Web-site: http://russarchibald.com  E-mail: [email protected]

pmwj18-jan2014-archibald-PHOTO PRADOflag-brazilDarci Prado, PhD 

Minas Gerais, Brazil 

Darci Prado is a consultant and partner of INDG in Brazil. He is an engineer, with graduate studies in Economical Engineering at UCMG and PhD in Project Management from UNICAMP, Brazil. He has worked for IBM for 25 years and with UFMG Engineering School for 32 years. He holds the IPMA Level B Certification. He was one of the founders of Minas Gerais State and Parana State PMI chapters, and he was member of Board Directors of Minas Gerais State PMI chapter during 1998-2002 and member of the Consulting Board during 2003-2009. He was also the president of IPMA Minas Gerais State chapter during 2006-2008. He is conducting a Project Management maturity research in Brazil, Italy, Spain and Portugal together with Russell Archibald. He is author of nine books on project management and is also author of a methodology, a software application, and a maturity model for project management.  Darci can be contacted at [email protected].