About the Project Management Maturity Model

In the localization industry, project management is a term that describes the effort involved in managing how content transforms from a source language into a target language. This transformation can occur in a variety of file formats and via a number of different systems or platforms. And for the execution of this to be successful, it’s important to understand the Project Management Maturity Model (PMM).

To language service providers (LSPs), project management is a critical element in ensuring their clients receive a high-quality deliverable, while meeting expectations around cost and turnaround times. Project managers, therefore, must be adequately trained and highly skilled in order to be able to meet and exceed client expectations.

To clients, the value of project management is often much more difficult to qualify. It typically appears as a service line item on quotes and is often discussed in terms of added cost. In real terms, the project management experience is something else entirely. Because of this, and because the meaning of project management as a service tends to be highly subjective, it has become incredibly difficult to place value on project management in practice.

The Project Management Maturity Model is about making sense of the role that project management plays in successful localization delivery and customer relationships, based on the client’s level of localization maturity. The PMM intricately links traditional project management and localization management strategies with the Common Sense Advisory’s 2006 Localization Maturity Model (LMM), which will be explained below. We came up with PMM off the back of consultancy work Wordbank completed for a large multinational apparel company in 2014. We used the CSA’s model, combined with our own, to inform the development of a three-year roadmap for our client, providing recommendations to improve localization management, processes, and systems and ultimately guiding the client towards the optimized level of localization maturity.

About the Localization Maturity Model

The Localization Maturity Model was developed by the Common Sense Advisory in 2006 as a way to benchmark the milestones companies pass through over time as they localize their products and communications. Inspired by similar models in use in the software industry, the LMM is based on a Capability Maturity Model and is a means of documenting behaviors, processes, and activities that make up defined, managed, and repeatable best practices. These best practices set the foundation for advancements in localization strategy and efficiency within a company or organization.

Consisting of five positive levels of localization maturity, the LMM is useful to both buyers of language services and language service providers:

Buyers can benchmark their organizations against the five levels of maturity, identify best practices, and learn what to avoid at each stage as they further embed localization into their global business strategy. In reality, different functions or departments within a company will likely be at different levels of maturity when it comes to localization.

LSPs can identify the typical challenges seen at each stage of their clients’ maturity to better offer appropriate products and services, and ultimately meet client needs, exceed expectations, and deliver lasting value to their relationships.

Connecting the dots: the LMM and the value of project management

In this blog series, we’ll be looking specifically at ideal project management characteristics, typical processes, recommended resource models, and considerations in technology use for localization management as they relate to each of the five phases of localization maturity as defined by the CSA.

We’ll show that a customized approach to project management and process engineering is required in order to meet varying client needs at different stages of localization maturity. From waterfall to agile processes and reactive to transparent companies, we’ll explain how project management and localization management strategy, quality, and best practices must evolve to meet the ever-progressing needs of language-service buyers and their evolving organizations.

The goal of this series is not only to provide guidelines for how to best serve your clients (whether internal or external) and exceed their expectations, but also to offer a means of evaluating PM performance – it’s about operational excellence and efficiency and, most importantly, delivering value. The final post in the series will walk you through the business benefits we’re hoping you can gain from the PMM.


Stay tuned for the next post in this series, The PMM Phase 1: Reactive Clients.