Many of the PMP® certification aspirants look at Enterprise Environmental factors and Organization Process Assets as an input to most of the project management processes and many times they get confused about why one thing falls under Enterprise Environmental factor (EEF) and not in Organization process assets (OPA) vice versa. Let us begin by understanding the basics and resolve the confusion surrounding EEF and OPA.
As defined in definition EEF are conditions which are given, they are coming from an environment, the project team has no control over them, but project team needs to understand them well to successfully manage the project. Here are a few examples
As per the PMBOK® Guide
The organization process assets are collection of learning and artifacts which has been accumulated by the performing organization since they started working on projects. Historic information about projects and lesson learned are part of the OPA. Some of the examples are
It is quite evident that EEF and OPA represent a different aspect which is used while planning or monitoring projects, let us look into some clear pointers which helps us in knowing the difference between EEF and OPA.
|Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF)
|Organization Process Assets (OPA)
|Always followed, they may be written or not, but they are always in action, they are not in control of the team.
|Is recommendation, but not necessarily always followed, you may have ethics policy which is not followed by the organization, it still remains OPA but the ethics which are followed are EEF
|Project Processes are influence by EEF, they do not change EEF (except Develop Project Team and Manage Project Team where we build skills and add to organization future capability)
|All planning processes take OPA as a an inputs, but as we get into executing, Monitoring and Controlling and Closing processes we start updating OPA, since the learning made in this project goes back to into OPA
|EEF limits the project managers options, because they tell what can work and what can not
|OPA facilitates the project management, they come with best practices and information which can help project execution
|EEF is very difficult to change, changing EEF will need big organization level change management, can we change the risk appetite of stakeholder? Or can we change the 9 AM rule?
|The OPA can be changed by following the process defined in the organization, they are easier to change and they are meant to be changed
A. Even the building bought by the organization is an asset and it comes under EEF, also the skills possessed by human resources are an Enterprise Environmental factor (EEF) too. The system available in the organization gives your project an environment to work in, In this case PMIS is providing you backbone for your project management activities, when you plan your project management plan you need to take into account how your PMIS is organized. The templates, configuration made in PMIS is OPA, say you have a scheduling system, it’s an EEF, but in the same system you have created four standard templates which team can use, these schedule templates are OPA.
A. The standards managed and controlled by industry or industrial body / association falls under EEF, since they are managed by external parties, project team cannot change them and many times project teams are constrained by them. So it’s an EEF
A. Systems which are defined at organization level falls under EEF, because they are not project specific system, they limits your project execution, like if WAS requires some set of approvals, project team has to plan for them, you can not change WAS for a given project. The work authorization system is a subsystem of the overall project management system, and project management system also falls under EEF.
A. Since its an historic data, it is part of the OPA, but the general attitude of people towards work and their skills falls under EEF. For instance, if you have a team of people who are not trained in the tool provided, it’s an EEF, and when you look at records of the organization to find out what is the average productivity number it is OPA.
A. Yes, we do have this confusion and we need to take a question specific call, following points may help in deciding whether a given policy is OPA or EEF.
A. Enterprise environmental factors are the factors which influence our project. The simplest way to look at EEF in project management is the environmental factors are not in control of the project manager, and they cannot be changed that easily so if the industry is not having a database of something you cannot create it.
A. Organization process assets include Knowledgebase and organization level processes and procedures. The knowledge base is a collection of the lessons learned, risk register, defect history, and project management database of past projects. Process and procedures include documents, templates, recommended project life cycle and change management process to be followed while planning and executing new projects.
The organization process asset is something which is like a good recommendation coming from the organization which you may or may not use.
A. EEF can be categorized under two broad categories – Internal environment and External environment.
The internal environment are factors internal to the organization and project. It includes -Organizational culture, structure, and governance like ethics, and code of conduct, the geographical distribution of the team, Infrastructure, Information Technology software used in the organization, subcontractors, and collaboration agreements.
The external environment are outer factors affecting the organization and project. It includes-
Marketplace conditions like market share brand recognition, Social and cultural influences like political climate and legal restrictions, Commercial databases, Government or industry standards like regulatory agency regulations and Physical environmental elements like working conditions.
Think EEF more like something is surrounded around the project while you are working, and take OPA as lessons, tools, checklist which organization has acquired based on learning from past projects. I do not think one will get questions, where they need to identify, is the XYZ Policy is EEF or OPA in the exam. A good understanding of the intent of these two terms should help you in cracking the PMP® exam.
You may watch video on the same which would further demystify the enterprise environmental factors Vs. organization process assets.
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