Original Research

Towards project management maturity: The case of the South African government

Gerrit van der Waldt
Africa’s Public Service Delivery & Performance Review | Vol 8, No 1 | a407 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/apsdpr.v8i1.407 | © 2020 Gerrit van der Waldt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 May 2020 | Published: 17 December 2020

About the author(s)

Gerrit van der Waldt, Department of Public Governance, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

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Background: The continuous improvement of project maturity generally enhances the capacity of the state to render services within budget, performance parameters and time. The lack of organisational readiness to adopt project management praxis seriously jeopardises government departments’ ability to successfully execute public policy by means of programmes and projects.

Aim: The aim of this article was to reflect on findings from, firstly, a survey based on content analysis of strategic government documents and, secondly, focus-group interviews with senior managers in the South African Public Service, to determine the organisational readiness and overall project maturity of national government departments.

Setting: The study focused on project maturity assessments in government settings and, in this case, national departments of the South African government.

Methods: A qualitative design was followed utilising content analysis and focus-group interviews as two methods for data collection.

Results: The findings revealed that the South African government is characterised by pockets of excellence as far as project maturity is concerned. An overarching model and uniform methodology for project management are largely absent.

Conclusion: International standards and best practices should be adopted and adapted for the unique nature of governance and service delivery dynamics within South Africa. The findings accentuated the need for a far more coordinated and integrated project-based approach in government because departments are generally found to operate in silos. Various strategies are proposed to improve the project management maturity of these institutions.


projects; project management maturity; project maturity models; government; national departments; South African government; organisational readiness.


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