PM²: All about the Open PM² Methodology from European Commission

A new Project Management methodology has recently been presented. A methodology that aims to be Open to all and to be used in all relations with the European Union. Therefore, it is a good time to know everything about it and to know what we can expect from this new methodology for our projects.


What is PM²?

PM² is Project Management Methodology. It is a methodology that has been developed by the European Commission. Its aim is to provide a tool for project managers so that they can deliver to their organisations all the benefits of effective project work management.

As I mentioned, being a methodology promoted by the European Union, its main impulse has been to satisfy the needs of the institutions and projects of the European Union itself and to facilitate the management of the complete life cycle of these projects.

Its purpose is summarised in the slogan “A common Project Management Methodology for all Institutions, Member States, Providers and Citizens of the European Union”.



What does PM² provide?

This project management methodology focuses on enabling us with the following issues, not inconsiderable:

  • A structure for the governance of the project
  • Guidelines for processes
  • Templates for the artefacts used
  • Guidelines for the use of artefacts
  • A set of effective mindsets

But before we advance further in PM² let’s see how it defines the most basic…


What is a PM² project?

Here I’m not going to discover anything new, the definition of projects in PM² has a form similar to how it is defined in other methodologies / best practices like Pmbok, PRINCE2 or IPMA a project is:


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A temporary organizational structure that is established to create a unique product or service (output) fulfilling certain constraints such as time, cost and quality.

In this point PM² emphasizes that a project or, better said, through a project a series of deliverables (products or services) are obtained, with which results are achieved and these results will allow to obtain measurable benefits.

pm2 projects

Similar to a project is the concept of Project Support Office (PSO) or, as we know it otherwise, a PMO. Among the functions of the PSO we find:

  • To offer administrative support, assistance and training to Project Directors.
  • Collect, analyze and report the progress information of the projects.
  • Assist using a PMIS (Project Management Information System), project scheduling, resource planning and coordination.
  • Maintain a centralized repository (of project documents, risks, lessons learned).
  • Coordinate configuration management and quality assurance activities.
  • Monitor the use of organizational standards and methodology guidelines.
  • Adapt Project Management methodology to new best practices and help project teams implement them effectively in their projects.


The house of the PM²

It is the way to define the foundations of the methodology according to the creators themselves. In a graphical way you can see which are its bases, its pillars and the roof to reach.

The base are the best practices of the market that support 4 fundamental pillars: Government, Life Cycle, Processes and Artefacts, all of them integrated through mindsets. In the image you will see it better:

pm2 house


The life cycle

The life cycle defined in PM² goes from inception (the origin of the project) to its closing and is defined with 4 Phases: Start, Planning, Execution and Closure. In addition, there is an action, not qualified as a Phase, which is transversal to the 4 phases and is the Monitor and Control where everything goes as expected and corrective actions are identified if necessary.

This identification of processes is very similar to the one carried out in Pmbok, although an explicit acceptance of the results of each phase is added in the form of milestones.

At the end of each phase what is known as Phase Gate or Phase Milestones is established. The project goes through an approval milestone that is carried out by the Project Steering Committee (PSC), which has the power to approve or reject it.

These phase milestones are:

  • RfP (Ready for Planning). Ready to plan.
  • RfE (Ready for Executing). Ready to Execute.
  • RfC (Ready for Closing). Ready to Close.


Initiating phase

Initiating phase includes the definition of the desired results, the definition of the business case, the establishment of the scope of the project and everything necessary for the project to get off to a satisfactory start.

It includes the creation of sequential form, and in this order, the request for initiation of the project, the creation of the business case and the act of constitution of the project (project charter).


Planning phase

At this stage, the project team (Project Core Team, PCT) is assigned and the scope and work plan are developed. This is also the beginning of the definition of the Project Handbook, which describes the management approach that will be made of the project. There will also be a meeting to launch the planning phase, the identification of stakeholders will be completed by completing the stakeholder matrix, the Project Work Plan will be created containing the WBS/EDT, Timetables and Costs and other important plans will be created such as the communications management plan, the transition plan and the business implementation plan.


Executing Phase

This phase is mainly responsible for coordinating the implementation of project plans. It is the phase where the project team produces the deliverables defined in the objectives.

It starts with a meeting to launch the execution of the project, distributes information as defined in the communications plan, performs quality assurance activities defined in the Quality Assurance Plan, coordinates the work of the project, people and resources needed, resolving conflicts and problems that arise. Deliverables will be made as defined in the Plan for Acceptance of Deliverables.


Monitor and Control

Monitor consists of measuring all the project activities being carried out and monitoring the project variables (cost, time and effort) with respect to the plans.

The control part is related to identifying the necessary corrective actions to correct deviations from the plans, as well as to ensure the correct treatment of risks and incidents.


Closing Phase

In this phase the finished deliverables are transferred to Project Owner (PO), and the project is administratively closed.

The meeting with which this phase begins is the End of Project Review Meeting. In this meeting, not only the deliverables are reviewed, but also project performance data and lessons learned are shown. The project manager must ensure that deliverables are formally accepted and that all project documentation is properly filed.


The PM² Mindsets

Mindsets are the attitudes and behaviors that help project teams determine what is really important to achieve project objectives. They provide a set of beliefs and values for all PM² practitioners. The mindsets are:

  • Help project teams deal with the complexity of project reality.
  • To help project teams position and reposition project management objectives in a broader organizational context.
  • Remind project teams what is important for the success of the project.
  • They are useful reminders of effective attitudes and behaviours.


Definition of Roles in PM²

The last part we are going to look at are the roles. A curious and interesting question in PM² is the definition of roles. It doesn’t remain only in the description of the roles as they are, but it distributes them in different bands or layers that are interesting when it comes to the real management of a project.
These levels are:

  • Business Governing Layer. It is the level that determines the vision and strategy of the entire organization.
  • Steering Layer. It is the management level of the project that provides direction and guidance to stay focused on the objectives.
  • Directing Layer. It is the level that mobilizes the necessary resources and controls the performance of the project. It is guided by the business case.
  • Managing Layer. It is the management level. It focuses on the day to day, organize, monitor and control the work produced and deliverables.
  • Performing Layer. It is the level that performs the work.
pm2 roles

Another interesting aspect is the division between the project applicant and the project supplier. Many organizations operate through an outsourcing model that is usually not directly represented in other methodologies or is at a high level. PM² clearly shows the roles of the organization requesting the project and the roles of who provides the project. However, in some cases they may be the same.

  • Product Owner (PO). It is the key role in decision-making and is primarily responsible for the success of the project.
  • Solution Provider (SP). It assumes full responsibility for the project deliverables.
  • Business Manager (BM). Represents the Product Owner in the daily tasks within the project and collaborates closely with the Project Manager (PM).
  • Project Manager (PM). Directs the project daily and is responsible for the quality of the delivery of the product within the established restrictions.
  • Business Implementation Group (BIG). They are business representatives and user groups. They are responsible for the changes that are necessary to undertake by the organization for an effective integration of project deliverables into daily performance.
  • User Representative (UR). They represent the interests of the final users of the project. They are part of the BIGs.
  • Project Core Team (PCT). They are the specialist roles responsible for creating the project deliverables. Among them are included:
    • Contractor’s Project Manager (CPM). Leads the supplier’s staff within the project.
    • Assistant Project Manager (APM). In large projects he assumes part of the tasks of a PM.
  • Project Support Team (PST). They support the project. They can be:
    • Project Support Office (PSO). It supports the PM and the PCT.
    • Project Quality Assurance (PQA). Ensures the highest quality in the project and its deliverables, independently of the PM.


Where to get information?

If you’ve been left with the desire of more, to sink the tooth to PM² I leave you the links below to get more information.

If you want access to the material they have available the access link is https://ec.europa.eu/isa2/solutions/open-pm2_en.

In this other link you will find access to the community https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/collection/open-pm2-project-management-methodology.

Well, now all that’s left for me to do is wish you to learn good things about this methodology for your projects.


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