As a Project Manager you will be told to focus on outcomes and Key Success Factors. Just like a Project Manager has Key Success Factors to focus upon an organization has a defined strategy. But does having a strategy alone guarantee success for any organization?
From the beginning of documented history, organizations of all types, starting from government, military, corporate, non-profit, charitable organizations, have made considerable efforts to spot their long-term and short-term objectives and goals and to determine strategies to assist them achieve these goals.
Yet, because it is documented by everyone, methods frequently struggle to realize the effective results they were intended to supply.
There are many explanations for these disconnects: strategies are often unrealistic; organizations will often struggle to achieve the internal unity required to advance the strategy; strategies often fail because organizations have not acquired or built the skills for these strategies at the comprehensive, operational level.
“In our increasingly global economy, in which we all compete with organizations that we know very little about, in areas of the world that we might not be familiar with at all, it is becoming clear that one key competitive advantage is the ability to turn strategy into organizational success through projects.”
This means not only developing the facility to carry out individual tasks as appropriate, but also developing an overall organizational orientation to treat and manage as many activities as important as projects, individually and collectively, in order to support the organization’s strategic goals.
“This approach is meant by the term “organizational project management,” which can be defined as “the application of knowledge, skills, resources, and techniques to organizational and project activities to achieve the goals of an organization through projects.
Although individual activities can be considered tactical, by definition, organizational project management is strategic since it represents a company’s corporate strategy if used correctly and provides a high-level view and control of critical resources that directly impact financial results. Seen in this sense, corporate project management is a strategic advantage in this highly competitive economy.
The question, then, becomes: how does an organization establish itself in this area of organizational project management?
- First, an organization needs to consider what basic strategies related to organizational project management (knowledge, expertise, instruments, techniques) have proven consistently useful in other organizations
- Secondly, against these ideal practices, an organization needs a way to determine the current state of organizational project management
- Thirdly, the company needs to know how to improve itself against the particular skills it defines as needing change if an organization wants to actually move down the path of improvement
In order to assist organizations with an interest in pursuing this notion of maturity in attempting to meet these needs, various individuals and organizations have developed different models and methodologies.
The Project Management Institute, a national member organization with over 100,000 members in the project management profession, entered this important arena in 1998 by chartering the Corporate Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3TM) Project Team.
At that time, through thorough research and the input of a wide number of project management experts, the OPM3 Project Team has accomplished a series of important goals. For example, what has been determined are:
- Best practices associated with project management in the organization
- Capacities that are essential or complementary to each Best Practice.
- Observable findings that indicate the presence of a given capacity in the organization.
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Metrics to assess results
- And the routes that define the capabilities that are paired with the best practice(s) being checked
Together, the PMI Organizational Project Management Maturity Model, together with the requisite narrative definitions, navigational guidance explaining capability aggregation, self-assessment, and overview of the organizational project management process, constitutes these Best Practices, Capacities, Outcomes, and KPIs.
The aim of the PMI model is to help organizations evaluate the state of maturity of their organizational project management by helping them understand the management of organizational projects, their maturity and how to assess themselves.
OPM3 will also assist them in determining what specific skills they need to achieve the required best practices, assuming that a business needs to improve in order to advance their mission and setting targets for the use or execution of limited organizational resources.
What OPM3 Is, and What It Is Not
What are several other ways in which we can explain what OPM3 is?
- Certainly, OPM3 is a way of recognizing and assessing an organization’s ability to conduct its high-level strategic planning by controlling its portfolio or portfolio and then implementing it at the operational level by managing programmes and individual projects efficiently, consistently, and predictably
- OPM3 is also a tool that can help companies in an enterprise drive change
- OPM3 is also a synthesis of best practices, including portfolio management, Program management and Project management, from the constituent areas of organizational project management
However, since PMI is a standard-setting organization among many things, we would say, above all, that from the beginning OPM3 was designed to be a PMI, it believes that OPM3 will be adopted as the global standard for organizational project management in the field of project management and organizations in general.
The OPM3 project team conducted research to ensure that true end-user specifications are reflected in the end product in order to achieve this outcome.
This was achieved through the method of Quality Feature Deployment (QFD), which culminated in what is known as a Quality House (HoQ). The HoQ highlights the consensus-derived criteria that knowledgeable people have indicated that the model will have to fulfil in order to satisfy the needs it is intended to address.
In the OPM3 development process, large numbers of volunteers from the global project management community were participating, bringing highly diverse backgrounds from many geographies, industries, organizations, and levels within these organizations.
As a result of this research, OPM3 is a robust model meeting important recognized customer requirement such as practicality, scalability, and flexibility, as well as design requirements, such as the use of specific capabilities, efficiency, and KPIs.
OPM3 also includes the incorporation of all three project management areas and a process development system.
Physically, OPM3 is organized as an explanatory background material of the model, a master list of relevant best practices in organizational project management, a way of self-assessing the state of maturity of organizational project management within the organization, a construct of the Portfolio, Program and Project management framework aligned with PMIs.
In addition, it is detailed to catalogue the skills contributing to their best practices and the information needed to help the user travel the data paths to develop an organizational enhancement plan.
There are a few things that OPM3 does not include such as: it is not a way to enhance the abilities of an individual project manager, which would be a duplicate of content that already exists in PMI. OPM3 isn’t a replication or variation on other existing maturity models.
The OPM3 Project Team carefully reviewed twenty-seven contemporary maturity models while developing OPM3 in order to determine what the remaining requirements were and to see where PMI could make an additive, unique contribution to this subject.
OPM3 is not intended to be fast cover-to-cover reading, although it can be a powerful tool for comparison and creation, significant thought, digestion, execution, analysis, but evaluation will be involved in its successful use, not just by reading the narrative text.
Basic OPM3 Model Architecture
The fundamental components of the OPM3 model are as follows, as indicated earlier:
- Best practices in project management of organizations.
- The constituent capacities that are required for the existence or attainment of best practices.
- Observable results that indicate the presence or achievement of each applicable capacity.
- Key measures of success, the means of evaluating each outcome.
- Background of the model, including the Organizational Project Management Process and process improvement phases:
- Pathways defining the Capabilities aggregating to the analysis of Best Practices, including both intra-relationships or capacity dependencies within one Best Practice and inter-relationships or capacity dependencies through Best Practices.
Outcomes and Key Performance Indicators
The list of model components we see Results and Key Performance Indicators going down. The aim of incorporating Outcomes in the model is to demonstrate that these Outcomes are the evidence that a given Skill exists or has been achieved in the organization.
In other words, if you have a certain power, there must be some objective evidence that this is the case. For instance, the physical presence of an up-to-date Master Project Schedule would be an outcome if “Regular Maintenance of a Master Project Schedule” was a skill.
A Key Performance Indicator (KPI), then, is a metric that can tell us either quantitatively or qualitatively the degree to which the outcome occurs. A KPI can be an expert’s direct measurement or an approximation.
From our example, it would not be hard to determine whether or not the Master Project Schedule reflected a sufficient number of or only some of the company’s main projects, or whether or not it was actually updated frequently enough to provide the greatest value to project stakeholders.
A mixture of hard metrics and expert assessment may therefore consist of KPIs.
An extra special feature of the model is the dependencies that exist between capabilities.
The effectiveness of each best practice depends on the development of abilities, many of which are centered on other abilities. Partnerships between best practices and the expertise linked to best practices also exist.
Understanding the different types of dependencies between Best Practices gives a more robust and thorough view of what an organization must do in order to achieve a given Best Practice in full, and thus a more practical image of what is required in organizational project management to advance towards maturity.
In particular, knowing these dependencies will normally lead to a direction, a Capability-by-Capability path that can be followed by the user in pursuit of a given Best Practice.
However, for certain best practices, while maintaining important organizational capital, there may be more than one appropriate series in which to achieve the necessary capabilities.
In order to be able to construct a model that offers optimum functional knowledge and value to the customer, the OPM3 project team has dedicated a great effort to evaluating the essence of these dynamic interdependencies.
To date, OMP3 has documented more than 600 Best Practices, 3,000 Capabilities, and 4,000 Skill Relationships.
In simplest terms, an organization using OPM3 will have the resources to identify what skills they currently have and what they need to accomplish, as well as a prescribed sequence in which to achieve them, either testing itself against the norm or designing its strategy to achieve an Organizational Project Management Best Practice.
The company must be able to check the outcomes or proof showing that each skill and the metric to be used to assess this outcome had been achieved.
The company would know, to a complete and thorough degree, precisely what they would need to do to accomplish any best practices if these variables were mapped out.
In order to achieve these best practices, the company must also have the knowledge available to prepare for the improvement processes that would be appropriate.
How the Model is Organized
Because the component parts of maturity include enhancement and the steps leading to enhancement, many maturity models use Process Management’s well-established stages as a framework for organizing and presenting their content.
The Process Improvement Phases, described from the most fundamental to the most advanced, consist of the following:
- Develop constantly
The logic of these phases is used by the OPM3 model, too. Doing so enables an organization to see the best practices are directly related to the maturity of organizational project management, where the organization falls on the maturity spectrum, and how it could embark on the road to organizational enhancement.
OPM3 does not, however, use the stages of Process Improvement to organize its content. It also builds on the Project Management process structure and expands the framework to additional Program and portfolio management domains.
This structure allows the model to be more developed so that users can consider the consequences of each Best Practice in terms of its possible implementations for any or all of these three domains, which compose organizational project management as a whole.
In the PMK guide, the fundamental Project Management Process Groups listed are:
- Initiating Processes
- Planning Processes
- Executing Processes
- Controlling Processes
- Closing Processes
These process groups look like this as shown in terms of their interrelationships and the normal flow of data.
These same methods can also be generalized to refer to program and portfolio management.
Placed within the framework of the three realms, we can see how the additional dimension of value is taken on by these same process classes.
Finally, we can see it merged with the OPM3 Process Framework the five Project Management Process Classes, within each of the three realms, communicating with the four phases of Process Improvement and moving through them.
Within OPM3, any Best Practice is mapped to one or more locations within the model’s two dimensions.
In other words, OPM3 can tell the consumer where a Best Practice falls within the initiative, program, or portfolio management domains and at what stage(s) of change in the organizational phase (Standardize, Measure, Control, or continuously Improve).
Summary of the Model.
To summarize, OPM3 describes hundreds of best practices in the management of organizational projects and defines which particular skills are necessary to achieve these best practices and how to assess when each skill has been achieved.
Every Best Practice, in turn, has been put within a framework called the OPM3 Process Construct, mapping them to the realms of project management and process management stages.
How Organizations Should Use The Model of OPM3
The OPM3 provides users with the expertise to understand the management of organizational tasks, a method to measure themselves against the Benchmark, the ability to assess their current condition on a maturity scale, and the details required to decide whether or not to follow an improvement plan for the organization.
It then offers guidance for those who wish to pursue changes in maturity to use OPM3 to assess an effective course of action while maintaining organizational capital. The OPM3 steps, in general terms, are as follows:
- Preparing for Assessment. The first step is for the company to understand as fully as possible the principles behind the model.
On behalf of an organization, those interested in implementing the standard can take time to review the contents of the standard, to become familiar with organizational project management and the components and execution of OPM3.
- Performing Assessment. The next step is to determine the degree of maturity of the company in organizational project management.
An organization must be able to equate the characteristics of its current state of maturity with those defined by the model in order to do this. The methodology of OPM3 Self-Assessment offers users a top-level tool for making this distinction.
An organization may recognize areas of strength and weakness through this examination and locate its general location on the spectrum of maturity of organizational project management.
A systematic, detailed analysis of the constituent parts of the Best Practices would be the most common next step to determine which of these are currently present in the organization.
This will allow the organization to make final decisions on possible modifications and determine where to allocate capital. One alternative approach to this strategy is demonstrated in OMP3.
An organization may then follow one of three directions after the evaluation phase: 1) proceed through the planning process of change, 2) replicate some aspect of the evaluation, or 3) leave the process if they are already comfortable with their maturity in organizational project management. When a company decides to leave, they may want to regularly review the evaluation step to track the results of any adjustments.
- Planning for Improvements. The outcomes of the previous phase will form the basis for starting the implementation of the organization’s improvement plan for those organizations wishing to pursue an improvement plan. Documenting the results that have not yet been observed
- Indicating capabilities that have not been completely accomplished
- Allows the company to rank the necessary results and capabilities according to their priority.
This knowledge, coupled with a determination of the best practices most warrant the use of the resources available, opens the way for the creation of a concrete strategy to achieve the results of the skills associated with those best practices.
Therefore, in order to determine the scope and sequence of improvement efforts, the organization will use the results of Phase 2 in concert with its organizational priorities.
- Implementing Improvements. This stage is where there will be real organizational change.
Once the strategy has been developed, the company will have to enforce the plan over time i.e. conduct the required organizational growth activities to achieve the necessary skills and progress on the road to maturity in organizational project management.
- Repeating the Process. The company will then reassess where it is currently on the spectrum of the sophistication of organizational project management after completing some change operation or continue focusing on other best practices found in an earlier evaluation but not acted upon.
Embarking on the OPM3 path obviously reflects a rather significant dedication of organizational time and money. It may take months or even years for certain organizations to adopt the model’s steps and to resolve the issues uncovered by following the suggested method of OPM3.
OPM3 is not meant to be a fast fix, but rather a roadmap, a well-structured and systematic guide to the best practices that must be followed by an organization to achieve its strategic objectives through projects while maintaining organizational capital.
OPM3 is meant to be simple to understand and use for those interested in the maturity of organizational project management. It is also designed to be scalable, versatile, and adjustable to fit organizations of all types and sizes with a wide variety of individual needs and goals.
As a worldwide benchmark for corporate project management, PMI has high hopes for OPM3.
To the extent that we have succeeded in gathering feedback and consensus from a large and diverse community of organizations and individuals over these many years of its development, we believe we have created a standard that will serve the needs of all types of users.
We will track the wide range of creative OPM3 applications that we expect to see across a wide range of industries with interest and maintain ongoing contacts with the global user community to hear what they are doing.
We’re going to communicate with them on problems that can occur, and gradually benefit from their experience. Like OPM3, we assume that it will grow over time.
We encourage you to look for the release of OPM3, to involve your company in studying it and debating it, and to look for creative and powerful ways of implementing OPM3.
On behalf of your company, if you put this work to the test, we would have taken a big step in helping organizations accomplish their strategic goals more efficiently, predictably, and consistently through the systematic use of organizational project management experience and established practices.