Projects in Business Environments

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20th Dec, 2022
Projects in Business Environments

Projects do not float in space; they actually operate in a business environment. Key factors influencing the Projects are Organizational Process Assets (OPA’s) and Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF’s). OPAs may further be categorized into two main categories as Processes, Policies, Procedures and Corporate Knowledge Base. On the other hand, the EEF’s are further categorized in two major categories- Internal EEF’s and External EEF’s.  A promising way to attain a deeper understanding of project management is through a PMP exam prep course.

As per PMBOK Guide® – Sixth Edition, Internal EEF’s are further described as 

  • Organizational culture, structure, and governance. Examples include vision, mission, values, beliefs, cultural norms, leadership style, hierarchy and authority relationships, organizational style, ethics, and code of conduct.
  • Geographic distribution of facilities and resources. Examples include factory locations, virtual teams, shared systems, and cloud computing.
  • Infrastructure. Examples include existing facilities, equipment, organizational telecommunications channels, information technology hardware, availability, and capacity.
  • Information technology software. Examples include scheduling software tools, configuration management systems, web interfaces to other online automated systems, and work authorization systems.
  • Resource availability. Examples include contracting and purchasing constraints, approved providers and subcontractors, and collaboration agreements.
  • Employee capability. Examples include existing human resources expertise, skills, competencies, and specialized knowledge.  

*Courtesy of PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition Page# 38

As per PMBOK Guide® – Sixth Edition, External EEF’s are further described as-  

  • Marketplace conditions. Examples include competitors, market share brand recognition, and trademarks.
  • Social and cultural influences and issues. Examples include political climate, codes of conduct, ethics, and perceptions.
  • Legal restrictions. Examples include country or local laws and regulations related to security, data protection, business conduct, employment, and procurement.
  • Commercial databases. Examples include benchmarking results, standardized cost-estimating data, industry risk study information, and risk databases.
  • Academic research. Examples include industry studies, publications, and benchmarking results.
  • Government or industry standards. Examples include regulatory agency regulations and standards related to products, production, environment, quality, and workmanship.
  • Financial considerations. Examples include currency exchange rates, interest rates, inflation rates, tariffs, and geographic location.
  • Physical environmental elements. Examples include working conditions, weather, and constraints.

*Courtesy of PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition Page # 39
On the other hand, we have Organizational Process Assets. OPAs consist of the plans, processes, policies, procedures, and knowledge bases owned by the specific performing organization, which varies organization to organization widely. These assets have a huge impact on, the way projects are managed in any given organization. OPAs may further be categorized as:

  • Processes, policies, and procedures and
  • Organizational knowledge bases.

The second category of the above listed is updated throughout the Project Life cycle according to the Project information as & when required; these typically include lessons learned, metrics & issues related to performance as well as financial performance information. 

On the other hand, the first category of the OPAs are generally untouchables due to their development & enforcement by top management or PMO (usually from outside the Project) & may only be updated through proper procedural provisions enforced by the concerned entities.

Any organization’s OPAs are utilized throughout the Project Life cycle so expect the involvement of OPAs in all Process Groups (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring, and Controlling and Closing) throughout the Project. The Organizational Process Assets usually include but are not limited to- Guidelines, policies, methods and procedures, templates, lists, sample agreements, Change control procedures, Traceability matrices, deliverables or result verification and validation procedures etc.     

Organizations are composed of various systems which are the basic building blocks of any organization. Governance is one of these systems which exists as organizational or structural arrangements at various levels of the organization, these systems exist & function as frameworks which may contain Rules, Policies, Procedures, Norms, Relationships, Systems, and Processes etc. this list doesn’t exhaust here & may contain many other components.

According to PMBOK Guide® – Sixth Edition, a number of organizational structures may be implemented as per the requirements of an organization. These various types may include:
Organic or Simple, Functional (centralized), Multi-divisional (may replicate functions for each division with little centralization), Matrix – strong, Matrix – weak, Matrix – balanced, Project-oriented, (composite, hybrid), Virtual, Hybrid, PMO

*Courtesy of PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition Page # 47
To standardize Project Management practices organization-wide, an independent organizational structure is created with the name of Project Management Office (PMO) which enables standardized methodologies, tools, techniques, and facilitation of shared resources. Based on responsibilities PMO may be of following different types:

  • Supportive
  • Controlling  
  • Directive

The spread of the PMO office’s responsibilities depends on organization’s needs as well as the view of top management towards the necessity & involvement. As the PMO plays a vital role in Projects delivery organization-wide so the typical responsibilities played by a PMO are:

  • PMO takes care of Management of shared resources across all Projects.
  • All the Project Management related methodologies, Best Practices, and Standards are identified & further developed/enforced by PMO.
  • PMO is responsible for Training, Coaching, and Mentoring & Oversight.
  • Project audits play a vital role in managing/monitoring compliance of Project Management Standards, Policies, Procedures, and Templates; which is another role played by PMO.
  • PMO also handles development & management of OPAs, normally referred as project procedures, policies, templates, and various other documentation shared among the Projects.
  • Lastly, management of inter-project communications.

Muhammad Asim Rashid

Blog Author

Creating Program/Project plans and high-level schedule, providing the basis for the individual project plans. Monitoring and managing Program/Project constraints (Scope, Budget/Cost, Time, Risk, HR, Quality) etc. Handling stakeholder (Vendors, Supplier, Consultants, Govt. agencies, Regulators, and client) management

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