Project Management Institute

Project management maturity of Croatian companies

is there any?

Krunoslav Štriga, MSc, PMP

Vipnet usluge d.o.o., Zagreb, Croatia


This research was conducted in order to provide insight into the project management usage in Croatian companies. It was also done in an attempt to discover the current level of organizational project management maturity and to compare that with the global trends. The research is conducted by using Kerzner's Project Management Maturity Model (PMMM) on a sample of 79 Croatian companies that base at least part of their operations on projects. The results show that the overall maturity of Croatian companies is at level 2, and that there is a difference in the maturity levels depending on company industry, size, and market. According to the results, the most mature organization would be in the ICT industry, having more than 500 employees and operating in both Croatian and foreign markets. Also, results showed high correlation between project, program, and portfolio management maturity.

As there is a very little evidence and research regarding project management practice in Croatia, this research provides a valuable contribution to the future development of project management practices in the country. It also brings the topic of project management to the attention of the academic community. As a venue for future research, further investigation into the factors that influence project management maturity in different organizations could be proposed together with further detailed analysis of program and portfolio management practices. Furthermore, very interesting research question opens with measuring the influence of the European Union accession process to the field of project management in Croatia.

Keywords: project management maturity models; Croatian organizations; ICT industry; program management; portfolio management


Over the past 20 years, we have often been faced with an upward trend of accepting and applying the principles of project management in organizations aiming to obtain and maintain their competitive advantage on the market. Project management has grown mature in all types of organizations, and it has been increasingly recognized as a field that can increase shareholder value. At the same time, project management maturity models have been developed that claim to provide a way for organizations to understand organizational project management and that can be applied as a tool in assisting corporations while performing strategic planning for project management as well as achieving maturity and excellence in a reasonable period of time.

Project management is becoming an increasing topic of interest in Croatia, as well. Project management practices are applied in Croatian companies, and even government has started to recognize project management as an important discipline, especially in the construction industry.

Croatia is still characterized by its transformation from a socialistic market to an open market, similarly to the postcommunist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Companies are trying to stay competitive on the local market while they attempt to extend their business on even more competitive foreign markets. In the future, as Croatia is in the process of accession to the EU, it is expected that the majority of companies will extend their business to the European market.

The Global Competitiveness Report (World Economic Forum, 2008) is produced every year by the World Economic Forum. The report is based on the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) measuring national competitiveness on both microeconomic and macroeconomic levels. Competitiveness is defined as “the set of institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country” (World Economic Forum, 2008, p.3). As a very complex and comprehensive index, GCI is an interesting tool to show the position of the Republic of Croatia in today's economy and to try to draw some conclusions from the examples from more developed economies.

By using GCI, it can be shown how Croatia has been developing over the past period. Croatian GCI in 2004 was 3.94, which ranked Croatia in 61st place among worldwide economies (World Economic Forum, 2004). In 2008, the GCI was increased to 4.22, with a ranking of 61st place (World Economic Forum, 2008). It is interesting to look at the Business Competitiveness Index, which is more related to the business environments where the projects are managed, note that Croatia has achieved progress from the 72nd to 50th ranking in the period of 2004 to 2008.

Therefore, it is worthwhile investigating whether this progress has been reflected in the area of project management, or are the companies still on the low level of project management maturity.

Literature Review

Maturity models are used in project management mainly in the organizational context and are related to the extent to which a particular company applies project management methods and techniques (Andersen & Jessen, 2003; Cooke-Davies, 2007; Project Management Institute, 2008; Supić, 2005).

Because of this definition, project management maturity models are used as a help in finding weaknesses within an organization as well as for comparison between organizations (Cooke-Davies, 2007; Hartman & Skulmoski, 1998; Jugdev & Thomas, 2002).

Maturity model, which describes characteristics of the effective process, was first introduced as Capability Maturity Model (CMM) by Humphrey (1989) at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI). Based on the work of Crosby, Deming, and Juran (Humphrey, 1989; Software Engineering Institute, 2002), Humphrey has defined software process as a collection of tools, methods, and practices that are used to produce software product. According to Humphrey, every task could be observed as a process that can be controlled, measured, and improved, while process maturity within an organization has five levels (Figure 1):

  1. Initial – Until process is no longer under statistical control, further improvement is not possible, and the first step is about achieving basic estimations of time and cost.
  2. Repeatable – Stable process with a repeatable level of statistical control and start of solid control of commitments, cost, time, and changes.
  3. Defined – Defined process used as a basis for consistent application and better understanding, and in which advanced technology could be used.
  4. Managed – Basic measures and process analysis have started; this is the level at which the most important quality improvement starts.
  5. Optimizing – A basis for continuing improvement and process optimization exists.

The main goal of approaching process maturity based on these five levels is achieving a controlled and measurable process as the basis for further improvements. This approach is aimed at benchmarking of methodology and the management system.

SEI process maturity levels

Figure 1: SEI process maturity levels.

Note. From Managing the Software Process, by W. S. Humphrey, 1989, Boston: Addison – Wesley. Copyright 1989 by Addison – Wesley. Reprinted with permission.

Based on the proposed model SEI has developed Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) for several different areas including project management. Even though some authors stress the shortcomings of this model (Sommerville, 2001), they nevertheless also reference it in their works.

Since the beginning of the usage of the project management maturity models, more than 30 models have appeared on the market, the majority of which are based on the SEI maturity model and are comprised of five distinct levels (Bredillet, Cooke-Davies, & Schlichter, 2001; Cooke-Davies, 2002, 2005, 2007; Crawford, 2002; Grant & Pennypacker, 2006; Hartman & Skulmoski, 1998; Jugdev & Thomas, 2002; Office of Government Commerce, 2006; Supić, 2005). All of them offer a structured way to assess the current situation within an organization by using project management body of knowledge (Jugdev & Thomas, 2002; Supić, 2005).

Organizational maturity level is most often determined by a questionnaire or series of interviews as well as by collecting material evidences of usage of project management methods and techniques, all of which are compared to a defined standard (Cooke-Davies & Arzymanow, 2003; Crawford, 2002; Jugdev & Thomas, 2002). The real value of determining the maturity level of an organization is in defining the steps needed to increase the maturity level—namely, to increase the efficiency and quality of applied project management methods and techniques, and in comparison with other organizations (Cooke-Davies, 2005, 2007; Crawford, 2002; Gareis & Fussinger, 2007; Jugdev & Thomas, 2002; Supić, 2005). An increase in maturity levels very often requires major changes within an organization, which usually can happen only gradually, and therefore an increase in maturity levels happens gradually as well (Crawford, 2002; Jugdev & Thomas, 2002). It is important to mention that it takes more and more effort to reach every following maturity level, so it is important to accurately estimate benefits connected with maturity level increase (Crawford, 2002; Grant & Pennypacker, 2006). This is also the reason why the maximum maturity level is not feasible for almost all organizations and why it is likely that no organization will ever reach the highest project management maturity level (Andersen & Jessen, 2003; Crawford, 2002).

There are certain critiques and shortcomings related to the usage of the maturity models concept. It is often stressed that models are not flexible enough for change management, that they identify problems but do not offer any solutions, that five levels do not offer enough possibilities to track progress through time, that they ignore human factor in the whole process, that there is missing standardization between different models, and that assessment is often subjectively biased (Andersen & Jessen, 2003; Cooke-Davies, 2005; Crawford, 2002; Jugdev & Thomas, 2002; Supić, 2005). However, maybe the most serious critique of the maturity model is still the lack of empirical evidence related to the organizational benefits and success associated with achieving a specific maturity level (Cooke-Davies, 2007; Grant & Pennypacker, 2006; Jugdev & Thomas, 2002; Supić, 2005). Furthermore, it is also often pointed out that maturity models lack theoretical background, almost as often as the field of project management as a whole (Cooke-Davies, 2005, 2007; Hartman & Skulmoski, 1998; Jugdev & Thomas, 2002).

Based on Bourne and Tuffley (2007) comparison of project management maturity models, different maturity models could be compared extensively. This comparison is offered for CMMI (Software Engineering Institute, 2002), Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model (P3M3) (Office of Government Commerce, 2008), Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3®) (Project Management Institute [PMI], 2008), PRINCE2 Maturity Model (P2MM) (Office of Government Commerce, 2006), Kerzner's Project Management Maturity Model (PMMM) (Kerzner, 2001), and PM Solutions Project Management Maturity Model (PMM) (Crawford, 2002).

All of the observed maturity models, with the exception of the OPM3, stem from the CMM and are level-based, and of them, all except P2MM have five levels. So, OPM3 is significantly different from the other project management maturity models, mainly because there is very weak relation to CMM.

Furthermore, even according to other maturity and functional criteria, OPM3 stands out as the most complete project management maturity model. On the other hand, CMMI, P2MM, PMMM, and PMM all have narrow focus only on project management, without taking into consideration other organizational aspects such as program or portfolio management. Assessment is publicly fully available for the OPM3 and PMMM, while CMMI and PMM offer only partial assessment guidelines.

Existing research in the area of organizational project management maturity has shown that the majority of organizations are generally at the second level, with almost all of the remaining organizations are at first or third level, while an almost insignificant number of organizations have reached fourth or fifth level (Grant & Pennypacker, 2006). Furthermore, even though the maturity model is primarily related to IT projects (Crawford, 2002), and although there are significant differences between projects in different industries, the difference between organizational project management maturity is mainly insignificant (Grant & Pennypacker, 2006). On the other hand, some research has offered totally opposite results and conclusions (Andersen & Jessen, 2003; Cooke-Davies, 2005; Cooke-Davies & Arzymanow, 2003). This could be due to the fact that projects within single organization can also differ significantly (Andersen & Jessen, 2003; Cooke-Davies, 2007).

Pennypacker and Grant (2003) and Grant and Pennypacker (2006) have conducted research on 126 members of the Center for Business Practices Consortium, among others, to find out the project management maturity level among companies, compared with industry and company size. Proprietary PM Solutions Project Management Maturity Model was used, which combines SEI Capability Maturity Model with nine Knowledge Areas of the PMBOK® Guide, resulting in a five-level maturity model. Overall, the majority of the companies (53%) achieved relatively low level 2 (structured process and standards), while 19% and 14% achieved level 3 and level 1 accordingly. The rest of respondents placed their companies on level 4 or level 5. Furthermore, they stated that median project management maturity level was 2 in the 36 of the 42 components developed from the Knowledge Areas of the PMBOK® Guide. Cross-industry comparison between most represented industries (professional, scientific & technical services; information; manufacturing; finance & insurance) showed statistically significant difference in only three components: schedule development, resource planning, and cost control. Therefore, the general conclusion is that project management maturity is relatively low in all industries observed, and research generally did not find significant differences when comparing across different industries or by different company size.

By researching the variations between different industries, Cooke-Davies and Arzymanow (2003) have found that most developed project management models are in the petrochemical and defense industries, while other industries such as construction, telecommunications, and finance showed differences between different Knowledge Areas, but did not show such highly developed models. They assumed development of project management maturity model as project management maturity, and drew the conclusion that engineering-based industries score higher than industries that have adopted project management more recently, such as finance or pharmaceutical.

Similar research by Supić (2005) focused on Croatian organizations in order to assess the average project management maturity level and to correlate these findings with basic characteristics of the organizations, such as industry and size among others. The survey designed for this purpose was not based on any of the maturity models in use, but included basic elements of the Knowledge Areas of the PMBOK® Guide to assess project management process and organization maturity. Seventy-eight respondents took part in the survey. The basic finding was that the overall maturity level was relatively low (1.75 out of 5), and that the most mature organizations were in the IT industry or professional services industry, followed by companies in manufacturing industry. If company size was taken into consideration, the most mature organizations were found in small companies operating not only in the Croatian market; this finding is in contrast to the initial survey findings of Pennypacker and Grant (2003).

Andersen and Jessen (2003) have widened the concept of project management maturity by taking into consideration wider organizational consideration, so they included program and portfolio management into their research. Their concept of the ladder of maturity included three steps: project, program, and portfolio management, and they assume that as maturity develops through time, the company likewise develops up the ladder. They tested the questionnaire on 59 middle managers and project managers attending the Master of Management programme at the BI Norwegian School of Management. The results showed, among other things, a very high correlation between all three ladder steps, and that the average maturity level is lower on a higher ladder steps (program and portfolio management).

Research Method

The purpose of this research was to investigate project management usage in Croatian companies, to find out the current level of organizational project management maturity, and to compare that with the global trends. The research was conducted to achieve three objectives. The first objective was to assess the project management maturity level according to different industries in Croatia. The second objective was to analyze and compare the average level of project management maturity depending on the industry, the size of the organization and market in which the organizations operate, and the third objective was to compare findings against the theory in the field of organization project management maturity.

The working hypotheses were created based on the literature review and on previous research conducted on similar topics. Therefore, it was assumed that organizations in the Republic of Croatia are generally at a low maturity level of project management and that there are differences in the maturity levels of different organizations depending on the industry, the size of the organization, and the market in which the organizations operate. It was assumed that organizations in engineering-based industries would show the highest maturity level of project management.

Program and portfolio management maturity levels are expected to be dependant to project management maturity level.

This research was based on the Kerzner's Project Management Maturity Model (Kerzner, 2001) and the associated assessment questionnaire. The Kerzner's PMMM questionnaire was additionally adapted in the way that the overall number of questions was reduced and that additional questions were introduced related to the other two domains of the organizational project management maturity: program management and portfolio management. The rationale for these adaptations to Kerzner's PMMM and questionnaire was that the overall maturity level is developed through three domains of organizational project management: project management, program management, and portfolio management. As a result, the questionnaire has several sections, including: general information about the company, a section on determining the overall project management maturity level, and a section on determining the program and portfolio management maturity level.

Kerzner's PMMM (Kerzner, 2001) was developed to be used by corporations in performing strategic planning for project management and achieving maturity and excellence within a reasonable period of time. The PMMM comprises five levels, with each of the levels representing a different degree of maturity in project management, as follows:

  1. Level 1 – Common language: the organization recognizes the importance of project management and the need for a good understanding of the basic knowledge on project management and the accompanying language/terminology.
  2. Level 2 - Common processes: the organization recognizes that common processes need to be defined and developed such that successes on one project can be repeated on other projects.
  3. Level 3 - Singular methodology: the organization recognizes the synergistic effect of combining all corporate methodologies into a singular methodology, the center of which is project management.
  4. Level 4 - Benchmarking: contains the recognition that process improvement is necessary to maintain a competitive advantage. Benchmarking must be performed on a continuous basis.
  5. Level 5 - Continuous improvement: the organization evaluates the information obtained through benchmarking and must then decides whether or not this information will enhance the singular methodology.

The research was conducted on the company level data, so questionnaires were collected from 79 participating companies throughout Croatia. The research target group has been defined based on the criteria that each company is already applying project management principles for business purposes, suggesting again that their employees are members of project management associations in Croatia. Because the main goal was to collect as much as possible relevant data, the questionnaire was completed by different participants, from company directors and board members to project managers. It was only important that people who participated in the survey were project management practitioners who were managing projects or were leading and directing project tasks in projects that they were part of, and/or that they were familiar with the project management practice in their respective organizations. To achieve this goal, participation in the survey was controlled to allow only one entry per company. The survey has been conducted using a web-based questionnaire that was available for a 4-month period (September 2008 – January 2009).

One could easily conclude that by allowing only one entry per company, results may reflect a personal bias and be unrepresentative of the organization, being based on the opinion of a single employee of the company. However, we believe that the benefit of this approach outweighs the risk of such potential personal bias, as this approach avoids a bias in favor the big companies (i.e., because they have a great number of project managers/respondents to the questionnaire) versus smaller companies with fewer project managers. To achieve full benefits, then, the challenge was to find appropriate participant from the each company.

Results and Discussion

Analysis Method

As the main goals of the research were to investigate the overall maturity level of the Croatian companies, and to investigate any differences in maturity levels based on the industry, organization size, and the market in which the organizations operate, analysis method was selected to support achieving this goal.

Descriptive statistics was used to describe all questionnaire responses, mainly with frequencies. To investigate possible differences between industries, company size, and market according to maturity levels, Kruskal-Wallis test is used (Weinberg & Abramowitz, 2008). Kruskal-Wallis test is a nonparametric test used in a situation with nominal (categorical) independent variables with two or more categories and an ordinal dependent variable. It tests “the null hypothesis (that all population distributions are identical) against the nondirectional alternative that at least one of the population distributions is different from at least one of the others” (Weinberg & Abramowitz, 2008, p.512). So, the rejection of the null hypothesis indicates that there is statistically significant difference for at least one category of the ones that are observed. The level of significance used in the analysis was α=0.05.

For the analysis between project, program, and portfolio management maturity levels, we used Spearman Rank Correlation Coefficient, which measures the linear relationship between two ordinal variables not assumed to be normally distributed (Weinberg & Abramowitz, 2008). It also tests the null hypothesis that variables are independent, and the level of significance is again α=0.05.

Comparison between different categories which are directly related to research questions was performed only for categories with sufficient frequency.

Survey Results

The majority of the participating companies (45%) were from the ICT industry (Figure 2). Furthermore, 18% of the companies were from the finance and insurance industry, 15% from the construction industry, 8% from the trading industry, and 5% from manufacturing. Other participating companies were from the publishing, distribution, education, chemical and oil, and pharmaceutical industries (altogether less than 9%).

Distribution of companies by industry

Figure 2: Distribution of companies by industry.

The size of the company was determined based on the number of employees. The majority of companies had more than 1,000 employees (33%) (Figure 3). Somewhat fewer companies (32%) had fewer than 50 employees. Sixteen percent of the companies had between 101 and 500 employees, and 16% of the companies had between 51 and 100 employees. Nine percent of companies had between 501 and 1,000 employees.

Distribution of companies by size

Figure 3: Distribution of companies by size.

The analysis of the companies' structure based on the number of employees shows that there was relatively high percentage of companies with more than 1,000 employees (33%) and almost the same amount of the companies with less than 50 employees (32%).

Regarding the market in which companies were operating, the majority of companies that participated in survey (58%) were regional companies that are oriented not only in the Croatian market but also in markets outside Croatia. The rest of the companies (42%) were operating only in the Croatian market.

Respondents who participated in the research held different job functions within their respective organizations (Figure 4). The majority of respondents (48%) were project managers. A notable portion of respondents were line managers (37%), while 4% of respondents were project management practitioners who were working in project offices on project management supporting tasks. The remaining respondents (11%) had some other job functions, but they were familiar with the project management practice in their respective organizations (experts, consultants etc.).

Distribution of companies by respondents' job function

Figure 4: Distribution of companies by respondents' job function.

Maturity Level of Companies in Croatia

The results show that the median level of the maturity level of the whole population of the 79 participating companies was 2 (Table 1). The mean of the maturity level was very close, 2.13. The distribution of the companies based on the project management maturity levels achieved is shown in the Figure 5.

Distribution of companies by achieved project management maturity level

Figure 5: Distribution of companies by achieved project management maturity level.

The majority of the companies (47%) included in survey were assessed to operate at level 1 (Common language). Twenty percent of the companies had reached level 2. Level 3 (singular methodology) has been achieved by 14% of the companies. Eleven percent of companies were operating at level 4. The most mature level, level 5, has been achieved by 8% of companies, and those companies are performing evaluation of information obtained through benchmarking and improvement of the singular methodology (Figure 5).

The maturity level is discrete in its basis, so the use of median is more appropriate. But, as some of the research (Supić, 2005) use continuous representation, the maturity level is expressed as a mean value as well to ensure possible comparability of the results.

Our first hypothesis that the overall maturity level is generally low is confirmed by this result. To further analyze why this is the case, the maturity levels need to be analyzed by more variables—first of all, the industry, company size, and the market in which the organizations operate.

Table 1: Basic characteristic of the distribution of maturity level.

  Median Mean Min Max SD Variance Skewness Kurtosis N
Maturity level 2 2.13 1 5 1.32 1.75 0.87 2.48 79
Finance & Insurance 2 2.23 1 5 1.30 1.69 0.74 2.56 13
Construction 1 1.27 1 3 0.65 0.42 2.08 5.81 11
ICT 2 2.56 1 5 1.42 2.03 0.34 1.75 36
Manufacturing 2 2.67 1 5 2.08 4.33 0.53 1.50 3
Trading 1 1.80 1 4 1.30 1.70 1.15 2.67 5
Others 1 1.45 1 3 0.69 0.47 1.14 3.09 11
Company size
< 50 1 1.64 1 4 0.86 0.74 1.16 3.47 25
50 – 500 1 1.90 1 5 1.34 1.79 1.07 2.64 21
> 500 2 2.64 1 5 1.45 2.11 0.34 1.78 33
Croatian 1 1.58 1 4 0.79 0.63 1.28 4.04 33
Croatian and foreign 2 2.52 1 5 1.49 2.21 0.37 1.68 46

Comparison by Company Size

For the purpose of the analysis based on company size, the number of employees has been selected as a measure of company size. Having in mind Croatian industry, we have selected in total 3 distinct groups of companies: those with fewer than 50 employees, usually characterized as small and medium-sized enterprises, companies with more than 50 employees but less than 500, as the big companies, and finally the ones with more than 500 employees, as corporations in the Croatian market. Here we also find statistically significant differences (p = 0.03) in maturity levels' distribution between different categories of company size. The most mature organizations are those that we have characterized as corporations, having more than 500 employees, which have a median maturity of level 2. The other two company categories have a median maturity level of 1. If we compare mean values of the company size categories, it is clear that companies with fewer than 50 employees have low average maturity level (1.64), company with more than 50 but fewer than 500 employees have a slightly higher maturity level (1.90), and corporations with more than 500 employees have the highest average maturity level (2.64).

As one of the premises of the research was the participation of the companies that are applying project management practices, this explains why there were a higher amount of participating companies with more than 500 employees (42%). If such big companies apply project management, it is more likely that they will apply more formal project management in order to ensure consistent understanding and reporting. The higher project management maturity level present in large companies is related also to the formalization in organizations. Formalization is the extent to which rules and procedures are followed in an organization, or in other words, it is the internal process through which an organization sets rules, standards, and procedures to ensure that things get done correctly (Tolberg & Hall, 2009). Among other things, formalization is influenced by size of the organization. Large organizations have a greater need to formalize their activities than do small organizations. More standardization, namely, common processes, is the characteristic of the PMMM maturity level 2 (Kerzner, 2001). It is seen that those big companies are increasingly moving towards higher maturity levels that will ensure unique methodology and even a benchmarking of project management practices against the environment in which they operate and against known best practices.

Comparison by Market

Companies can base their business on operations in the local Croatian market only (42%), or they can spread their operations abroad in addition to local market (58%). Again, there is a statistically significant difference (p = 0.01) in company maturity level based on market in which they operate. The median maturity level for companies that operate only in Croatian market is 1, while for the companies that operate on both local and foreign markets the level is 2. The average maturity level of the companies operating on the local market is 1.56 and 2.52 for the companies operating on both markets.

This difference could be explained by the fact that companies that wish to expand their operations to the foreign markets usually have to be competitive with the foreign companies and must adapt their project management practices. Additionally, some evidence of applying project management is often requested in the tendering process, and companies that satisfy the condition have better chances for winning the contracts.

Comparison Between Industries

For the analysis of the maturity level of the industries, we have selected only industries that were sufficiently represented in the whole population. For that reason, we have compared finance, construction, and ICT, and have found a statistically significant difference between selected industries (p = 0.02) in maturity levels distribution. Among them, only the construction industry has a median maturity level of 1, while the finance and ICT industries reached maturity level 2.

From Table 2, it is seen that no construction companies have been assessed at maturity levels 4 or 5, and that result is surprising. The former evidences (Cooke-Davies & Arzymanow, 2003) created expectations that traditional engineering industries such as the construction industry should score higher maturity levels, as these industries tend to apply project management for the longest period of time. On the other hand, ICT and finance companies are distributed at all maturity levels, with ICT having lower skewness (0.34) than finance (0.74) or construction (2.08) companies (Table 1); this means that companies in the ICT industry are distributed more closely to normal distribution, which is peaked at maturity level 3. ICT has been a driving force for development of project management for some time now, by driving companies to find value in applying project management methods and techniques and by moving the discipline forward, most often by finding more advanced project management techniques.

Furthermore, the construction industry in Croatia is more oriented towards the local market (55%) compared with the ICT industry, which mainly operates in both local and foreign markets (64%). Additionally, construction companies operations in foreign markets are more oriented towards less developed markets (e.g., Bosnia and Herzegovina), while in the ICT industry, companies can be found that are oriented to more developed markets, as well. This could also partially explain the difference in maturity levels between these two industries.

It was interesting to see the ICT industry in more detail, as this is the most highly represented industry in the sample (46%). ICT companies with more than 500 employees have a median maturity level of 4, which is by far the highest level of maturity found in this analysis. Other ICT companies have a median maturity level of 2. The explanation for these maturity levels is likely the same as that for companies with more than 500 employees—namely, that they are more likely to apply project management to ensure consistent understanding and reporting—in combination with the fact that 80% of these ICT companies operate in both local and foreign market.

Table 2: Comparison of maturity level by industry, company size and market with significance level.

  Maturity levels (percentage) Total KW test P
1 2 3 4 5
Industry 43.33 18.33 16.67 13.33 8.33 100 7.477 0.02
Finance & Insurance 38.46 23.08 23.08 7.69 7.69 100
Construction 81.82 9.09 9.09 0 0 100
ICT 33.33 19.44 16.67 19.44 11.11 100
Company size 46.84 20.25 13.92 11.39 7.59 100 7.290 0.03
< 50 56 28 12 4 0 100
50 – 500 61.90 9.52 9.52 14.29 4.76 100
> 500 30.30 21.21 18.18 15.15 15.15 100
Market 46.84 20.25 13.92 11.39 7.59 100 6.577 0.01
Croatian 57.58 30.30 9.09 3.03 0 100
Croatian and foreign 39.13 13.04 17.39 17.39 13.04 100

Program and Portfolio Management Maturity Comparison

Companies are also assessed for the program and portfolio management maturity levels. The null hypothesis that project maturity level, program maturity level, and portfolio maturity level are independent variables is tested and statistically significant differences are found (p < 0.001) indicating that all maturity levels are highly dependent and are linearly related, meaning that the higher project maturity level, the higher the program and portfolio maturity level (Table 3). The result is not surprising at all, keeping in mind that program and portfolio management are considered higher levels of organizational project management maturity (Andersen & Jessen, 2003). Usually, organizations are involved in program and subsequently in portfolio management at higher levels of project maturity, and therefore the program and portfolio maturity levels are somehow lower than project maturity levels in the same companies.

Table 3: Differences in project, program and portfolio management maturity levels.

  Spearmans rho coefficient p
Project-Program 0.4105 0.0002
Project-Portfolio 0.5694 0.0000
Program-Portfolio 0.5528 0.0000


Project management maturity models are still developing and they will almost certainly unify project, program, and portfolio management into an organizational project management maturity model, such as OPM3.

As already stated, project management models have a lot of shortcomings, but the bottom line is that maturity models contribute to the development of project management body of knowledge, and that they are certainly not a universal solution to problems related to project success, nor do they represent the holistic view of the discipline. Their design enables their application to the wide range of different organizations and it could be expected that further development of the discipline and new knowledge regarding the relation of project success and project management maturity levels will contribute to further development and standardization of project management maturity models (Cooke-Davies, 2005, 2007; Hartman & Skulmoski, 1998; Jugdev & Thomas, 2002; Supić, 2005).

Very little evidence and research exist that deal with project management topics in Croatia. Therefore, this research tries to contribute to the understanding of the value that project management practices bring to companies and provides an overview of current project management practices in Croatian organizations by using project management maturity model, more specifically, Kerzner's PMMM. The results found show that Croatian companies follow global trends in project management maturity levels, at least if we ignore that the majority of the available research are conducted before several years. Also, as research methodology included only companies that are applying project management in their everyday work, we can conclude that the overall project management maturity of the Croatian companies would be somehow lower.

However, this research provides only an overview, and it provides a basis for further discussions and research. For more detailed assessment, it would be necessary to conduct a qualitative assessment in addition to this survey.

Future research could be extended to several different areas and in several directions.. Again, keeping in mind that project management research in Croatia is very scarce, research in any area or direction would be beneficial to the understanding of the project management application in this environment. But, following this research, it would be interesting to further explore differences in project management practices in different industries. Also, program and project management maturity is becoming an even more interesting topic, and future research could expand those topics, as well, in an attempt to analyze program management practices and portfolio management mechanisms in Croatian companies.

Furthermore, we suggest that following the global interest, future research in this area should be also focused on the question of what value project management brings to the Croatian organizations. In a more global question, it would be interesting to analyze the reasons for adopting project management practices—namely, to explore whether they are adopted because the organizations find value in their adoption, or are they adopted because of the different influences such as headquarters requirements for branches of multinational companies or European Union projects requirements.


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