Ranking Portfolio Management Maturity


by Susan Hostetter and Sherri Norris

U.S. Census Bureau

Washington, DC, USA


Executive Summary

This paper continues the work of developing a maturity model for portfolio management we first presented at the 2016 UMD Project Management Symposium. In this paper, we will present:

  • Discussion of how we created the scorecard and evaluated the maturity model
  • Feedback from professionals involved with portfolio management processes across the U.S Census Bureau
  • Our Implementation Scorecard, a tool designed to measure and rate the maturity of portfolio management programs against the model
  • An updated maturity model

Important topics that emerged from the development of this scorecard and review of different portfolio management programs are:

  • A maturity model should not understate the process development phase.
  • Portfolio management programs come in a variety of structures and usually manage more than one type of investment.
  • Successful movement across the maturity levels is dependent on several universal factors outside the maturity model.
  • Ongoing portfolio management programs will experience positive and negative changes in maturity over time.


We introduced a maturity model in the paper, Evaluating and Building Portfolio Management Maturity that we created to be a tool for assessing portfolio management programs in an “apples to apples” format. In this paper, we discuss the scorecard we created for use by portfolio management professionals to assess the performance of their programs against the model and our evaluation of the maturity model and scorecard against a variety of portfolio management programs.

Scorecard Development and Evaluation Participants

In the first paper, we included a list of questions for each portfolio management characteristic section. These questions did a good job framing the scope of each characteristic but proved to function poorly as questions on a scorecard. We found that answering the mostly yes/no questions to be burdensome and did not provide results that allowed us to place a response into a single maturity level. Our solution was to convert the questions into a list of conditional statements, organize them by characteristic and add an instruction for the respondent to select all statements that applied to their portfolio management governance program.

Our next step was to find portfolio management professionals to complete our scorecard and evaluate the maturity model. Since 2012, the Census Bureau has made portfolio management a strategic priority across the enterprise with a few program areas ahead of the enterprise push. This meant that programs have been functioning with varied success for at least 4 years with a few running over 6 years. We interviewed 13 people from eight different governance programs with experience varying from 2 months to over 6 years. We were fortunate to interview people who have seen their programs evolve and change with leadership turnover as well as people who have participated in more than one governance program. Most of our participants managed portfolio management processes from a program management office but some were program managers whom had driven the development of a board or were participating as a board member during its development. We also had broad representation of differing portfolio types and functions and were involved in the following areas:

  • The enterprise level governing board and development efforts.
  • Directorate level programs over hundreds of investments.
  • Division level boards over smaller focused portfolios.
  • A program-level board over large, multiyear, multi-billion dollar investments.

They represented differing governance structures and control over funds and their governing responsibilities included IT projects, operations work, reimbursable work, research projects, large enterprise initiatives, and contracts.

Evaluation of Maturity Model and Scorecard

We selected participants for our evaluation with the intent of getting knowledgeable portfolio management professionals from a variety of areas to fill out the scorecard and provide feedback on the maturity model. We planned a debriefing interview of the participants for after they completed the scorecard to help us evaluate our materials and maturity model. We developed participant instructions, materials, and a script to standardize the debriefing interview. For each scorecard section, we asked if they found the statement relevant, if they could see themselves in the statement and if anything was missing. For the model, we asked for feedback on the maturity levels and the characteristics we included in the model.


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Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.
This paper was originally presented at the 4th Annual University of Maryland PM Symposium in May 2017. It is republished here with the permission of the authors and conference organizers.

About the Authors

Susan Hostetter

Washington, DC, USA



Susan Hostetter
, PMP, is a project management professional with over twenty years’ experience with Federal Statistical programs. Ms. Hostetter has been instrumental in standing up and managing risk management, project management, portfolio management, strategic planning, and performance management processes for large survey and Census programs. She has a Master’s Degree in Management with a Project Management emphasis from the University of Maryland’s University College, a Master’s Certificate in Program Management from George Washington University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Mary Baldwin University. Susan can be reached at [email protected]


Sherri Norris

Washington, DC, USA



Sherri Norris
is a project management and statistical professional with over twenty years of public policy, project management and operations experience. Ms. Norris has coordinated and implemented schedule, requirements, performance management, and governance processes for survey and Census Programs. She has a Public Policy Master’s Degree in Justice: Law and Society from American University, a Master’s Certificate in Program Management from George Washington University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from University of Delaware. Sherri can be reached at [email protected]