6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Organizational Project Management


I am starting a project of going through the 6th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide and blogging about its contents.    The 6th Edition was released on September 22nd by the Project Management Institute, and the first chapter is a general introduction to the framework in which project management exists, starting with section 1.2 Foundation Elements (section 1.1 describes the purpose of the Guide).

The section I am going over in this blog post is section 1.2.3.6 Organizational Project Management (OPM) and Strategies.    This can be considered a synthesis of sorts of the previous sections that cover

  • the relationship between projects, programs, and portfoliios
  • the relationship between projects and operations

Projects, programs, and portfolios differ in terms of depth of scope, that is, the amount of products, services, and results they create; projects and operations differ in terms of depth of time, with projects being temporary endeavors to create unique products, services and results and operations being the ongoing production of the same.

However, what ties ALL of these together is Operational Project Management or OPM, which is the organizational framework which integrates them in order to achieve overall strategic objectives.    See p. 17 of the Guide, Figure 1-4, for a diagram of this organizational framework.

How are all of these tied together in OPM?

  • Strategy–these are the organizational goals and objectives which inform the investments a company makes (e.g., increase in market share, decrease in operating expenses, or success of a new product)
  • Portfolio–selects the right programs or projects to achieve these organizational goals and objectives, prioritizes them, and then provides the needed resources to achieve them
  • Programs and projects–focuses on the achievement of the organizational goals and objectives
  • Operations–uses the results of programs and projects to realize business value or benefit, which is then utilized to further the organization’s business strategy.

For any specific project, the relationship between a project and the strategic objectives of an organization is described in the project business case, and the relationship between a project and the ongoing business value or benefit it provides to a company’s operations is described in the project benefits management plan.    (These are described in sections 1.2.6.1 and 1.2.6.2 respectively, and will be covered in later posts.)

If you want to succeed on your project, it is important that you understand the strategic objectives that went into creating your project in the first place.    If conditions change such that those objectives are no longer served by your project, or if those business objectives themselves are changed by your company, then your project may end up being cancelled by the sponsor.

But it is also important that you understand the strategic objectives behind your project so that you can inspire your project team.    Once they understand that their daily efforts, however meager they may seem in their eyes, are tied to a much larger picture that involves the company going from merely surviving to actually thriving, they will end up doing those daily tasks with a lot more purpose and enthusiasm!

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