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Maturity Models

A Tipping Point approach


There are many maturity models out there and many relate to the development of project management maturity. These include the PMI’s OPM3, Kerzner’s PMMM and PM Solutions, PMMM among many others. Each sets out defined steps towards ever improving maturity and provides measures of successful completion of each step.


Many companies set out on this journey with clear goals, defined change teams and management support. However many falter in the attempt as life intervenes and the world changes.


A recent paperback best seller ‘ The Tipping Point’ addresses the relationship between those ideas that survive and those that flounder and fail. Malcolm Gladwell (who also wrote ‘Blink’) provides a useful insight into the people involved. People that he calls Connectors, Maverns and Salesmen.


Connectors are people who have existing connections, both internal and external to the organization. Maverns are people who accumulate and specialize in knowledge just for the fun of it. Salesmen are the ones who do the convincing.


Now return to your maturity model initiative. Who are your connectors? How well connected are they, how available are they? How effective are they?

And who are your Maverns? Who is challenging, creating, updating, verifying and giving credibility to your message and methods.

And finally who are your salesmen? How are they selling? Who are they selling to? How do you measure their performance?


Gladwell’s book ranges from Hush Puppy shoes to Sesame Street and far beyond but the common theme makes sense as he evaluates the people and factors that seem to have been present in each tipping point growth in idea, product or event.


He also provides 3 useful ‘Rules of the Tipping Point’


1.0     The Law of the Few – change is generally achieved by the actions of a small group of talented individuals (Connectors, Maverns and Salesmen)

2.0  The Stickiness Factor – is marketing, a simple way to ‘package’ your information so that it is more likely to stick, be remembered, be used, and be adopted.

3.0  The Power of Context – is related to the environment and in particular to the idea of using small groups of up to 150 individuals to ‘tip’ and spread the word.


Now return to your maturity model initiative and ask the next few questions. Who are the few who will drive the change and are they well organized?. How is the message packaged to get and keep attention? And finally what is the context within which we are hoping for a change? Is it small groups feeding to larger groups or are we trying to do too much?


Maturity is often described as provision of support for a project manager within an organization. Hence objective measurement can be used to identify any ‘tipping point’. Examples include use of a particular template, feedback on a tool, or access to a particular process web page.


Good luck in finding your tipping point and achieving it.


2006 Frank Ryle www.pmpulse.com


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