An Assessment of Project Management Maturity in Kazakhstan



By Timur Narbaev, PhD, PMP®, Aff.M.ASCE

Almaty, Kazakhstan




For more than sixty years organizations have been using methods and tools of Project Management (PM) which, in the past two decades, has become a diverse field of management application with its own knowledge domain. The success of such PM mapping into an organizational strategy and competency is measured by PM Maturity (PMM). The PMM models often aim at providing a framework for improving an organization’s business result by assessing the organization’s strengths and weaknesses in PM. The past ten years has shown an increase in PMM research and practice in various developed and developing countries. Given such a comparatively established background of global PMM studies and applications, this study aims at exploring its status in emerging economies. From this perspective this research focuses on Kazakhstan.

With the purpose of investigating a current PMM status in Kazakhstan and filling a local maturity research gap, this work provides an empirical study on assessing PMM in the country. To achieve this aim, the paper first reviews some prominent maturity models and selects one for this study. Then, a questionnaire survey is conducted involving 22 local project managers from different industries in the country which represent a sample for the study. Third, after statistical analysis of the data, the research results are provided split into three streams on: revealing respondents’ profile, discussing demand for project managers, and determining a PMM level in the country.

Overall, with the mean maturity level of 2.42 out of 5, the results show that PM tools and methods have not yet been used effectively in Kazakhstan. The results also suggest that PMM in Kazakhstani organizations is gradually moving from Level 2 to Level 3. This shows that the organizations ensure that each project is run with its own processes and procedures to a minimum specified management standard set in the organizations. However, it also implies that there is limited consistency or coordination between different projects. Finally, the study finds that, as PMM moves to Level 3, the organizations strive for having their own centrally controlled PM processes where all their individual projects would flex. All in all, the findings of the study add value to the existing PM body of knowledge in Kazakhstan and serve as a background asset to be used in facilitating the projectification of organizations in Kazakhstan.

Keywords: Emerging countries; Kazakhstan; Maturity models; Project management maturity; P3M3®.


For more than sixty years organizations have been using methods and tools of Project Management (PM) which, in the past two decades, has become a diverse field of management application with its own knowledge domain. As a methodology to manage programs, portfolios, and projects, PM is recognized throughout the world and is used in government, commercial and not-for-profit sectors. To achieve such a success PM research, knowledge, and applications have evolved from a variety of older fields (e.g., management science, construction engineering): from those exclusively focusing on PM to allied disciplines whose application focus was related to the issue of how projects are managed in general (Bredillet, 2008; Narbaev and De Marco, 2011).

Currently, about a quarter of the world’s economic activity is delivered through programs and projects in the form of gross capital formation and this number tends to be higher in emerging and transition economies than in developed ones (World Bank, 2014). Overall, this figure is expected to grow given the fact that many organizations are transforming from a traditional functional form of management to project-based.


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About the Author


Timur Narbaev, PhD

Almaty, Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan - small flag2


(PhD, PMP®, Aff.M.ASCE) is an Associate Professor with the International School of Economics (an affiliate center of the London School of Economics, UK) and Business School at Kazakh-British Technical University (KBTU), Almaty, Kazakhstan. He is a director of KBTU MS program in Supply chain and Project management.

He lectures on Project management related courses, Research methods, and Statistics. His research interests are in the area of Project management (Earned value management, PM maturity, Risk management, Public-private partnerships) and Decision science tools (AHP/ANP, system dynamics, growth models) applied to various social, economic, managerial and engineering systems. In 2014, he was nominated as the IPMA 2014 Young Researcher Award Finalist. He also provides consultancy services in market forecasting and risk management for oil&gas and construction industries and is the British Council trainer. He reviews for Engineering, Construction, and Architectural Management, International Journal of Project Management, and Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering.

Prior to joining KBTU, Timur worked as a research fellow at the Politecnico di Torino (Italy), project manager for the EU Tempus programme and a construction manager for building industry. He received his BSc and MSc in Construction Management from the Tashkent Institute of Architecture and Construction (Uzbekistan) and PhD in Production Systems (with focus on Project management) from the Politecnico di Torino (Italy). Timur can be contacted at [email protected] with his webpage at http://kbtu-bs.kz/timur-narbaev/