Assessing nodes based on 5 Characteristics

Having a set of applicable nodes is important.  Assessing each of those nodes determines where to focus efforts to increase effectiveness.  But first, a set of characteristics for every node needs to be defined so that the assessment can take place.

In our model, there are 5 primary characteristics that form the basis of the assessment:

  1. Importance
  2. Connectivity
  3. Maturity
  4. Criticality
  5. Effort

These are not listed in any order of importance.  And, with all other parts of the BKPM model, there is fluidity and room for adaption.  So, there could be other characteristics that add to the depth of the assessment, depending on the unique circumstances present in an organization or driven by its culture.


Importance describes each does criticality to being effect within the PMO or operations.  There are three levels in which nodes are classified.   These classifications describe the importance of the policies and procedures in place to successfully managing projects and being operating effectively in the organization.

In the visualize circle, Level 1 nodes will appear closest to the center for the fingerprint and level 3 is the furthest. This provides a visual indication the nodes that constitute the core principles in the organization.

Level 1 (Core) nodes represents the highest importance.  They are key principles or high priorities within the PMO or project management team.  These are considered basic and fundamental to every project in the organization.  Level 1 nodes require individuals to follow the process accordingly to provide a desired result or interaction between individuals for the project.

Level 2 (Secondary) nodes represents a secondary process that is considered important to daily operations but is not necessarily required to achieve success.  Nodes in this category are still considered fundamental but can be circumvented or strayed from when needed, depending on the project or customer.

Level 3 (Outside) nodes represents a process that is not considered essential to the success of the project or the needs of the customer. However, these nodes may still be mature and processes that adds value.


Connectivity describes the degree to which strong direct connections or relations exist between certain nodes.  Each node has a cause and affect impact on other nodes within the PMO and depending on the other categories, improvements or changes can directly impact and help improve effectiveness in the overall process.

This connectedness is represented by lines that attach to other nodes.  They are direction, showing the direction and connection to which the node relates or affects the subsequent process.  Strong connectedness should be represented; weak or moderate connectedness can be assumed to exist between all nods.


Maturity describes the degree of evolution a node has undergone to be as effective as possible within the larger corporate culture.  We might say that node is immature if we believe that its set of activities can be made more effective by changing or improving how those activities are being conducted.

Alternatively, for a completely mature node, we would not change a single thing about the activity set because it fits the culture of the organization nearly perfectly. Change a mature node risks making it less effective.

In other maturity models, more evolution or maturity might mean more rigor. But more rigor does not insure a more effected set of related project management activities.  In fact, it might be that adding more rigor impedes effectiveness, requiring the project manager to spend more time doing things that are not effective.  So, when we use effectiveness as the measure, it is possible that too much make a node less mature.

Maturity in the BKPMO model is visualized as a ‘fill level’ of the node circle within the overall fingerprint.  Based on the overall maturity of the node or process itself, the circle will be filled with one of the following values; 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%.  Use more or less gradients depending the ability to assess the distinctions between the values.

For this model, the values might be set to mean:

0% – Represents a lack of maturity for the specified node and any level of process added can be considered an improvement.

25% – Represents a process is present but it is comprised (too much or too little) with gaps leaving areas for risk and can easily be improved upon.

50% – Represents an average process maturity level that is par for the course.  There are areas of risk within the process and there is room for improvement, but overall the process may be considered sufficient depending on the organization’s needs.

75% – Represents an above average maturity level with few gaps, leaving little room for risks to break the process.

100% – Represents a complete and mature process with little if any gaps, and little to no risk involved.


Criticality describes to the degree in which the node or process needs improvement based on the gaps, risks, manual efforts or impacts it is creating as a byproduct of the current process.

The criticality level characteristic of the node circle is represented by the temperature or color of the node circle itself. The temperature is measured in two categories, hot and cool, and each category has 5 levels, 1 being the least critical and 5 being the most critical.

Again, simplify where the distinctions are too fine to be recognizable. A simple Hot, Neutral, Cold assessment could suffice for many PMOs and organizations.

Hot (H1-H5) – represents the opportunity for effectiveness gain.  A node with a grading of H1 would infer that the node has gaps or risks associated but is not as critical as an H3 or H5, as the latter carry high risk and/or gaps that cause unprecedented inefficiencies and lack of effectiveness.

Cool (C1-C5) – represents a node or process that is not as in need of improvements as those categorized as hot.  A C1 is the least critical and requires little, if any review for improvement. C5 infers that the node is approaching a level of criticality and should be communicated to the PMO director or steering committee, while it is potentially encroaching upon inefficiencies and added risks.


Effort describes the amount of activity for each node and its group of processes that is consumed at its current state.  This is visualized as size of the circle for a particular node.  It is the operational effort attributed to that process.

The BKPMO Maturity model uses three sizes:

small (size 1) – represents little effort to complete the process.

medium (size 2) – represents an average effort to complete the process.

large (size 3) – represents a large effort to complete the process.

When these 5 characteristics are used to measure each group of related project management activities, a composite picture will form.  The goal of that composite it to identify low hanging fruit, not to create a detailed plan to change that corrects or adjust all nodes simultaneously.   These nodes are sufficient to do just what is needed.

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