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The Emerging OPM3

Suhail Iqbal, PE, PgMP, PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-RMP, PMI-SP, CAPM, PME, MCT, PRINCE2 Practitioner

Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3) standard is being

revised and will soon be released as 3rd Edition. Since its first edition, OPM3 has
really evolved into a more mature and stable standard. Like A Guide to Project
Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK), every new edition has always brought
welcome changes and always made more sense. PMBoK 5 th Edition will be released
in January 2013 and it is very likely that 2nd Editions of Standard for Program
Management and Standard for Portfolio Management will also be released
alongside it. We can always expect OPM3 3rd Edition coming out with these three
standards as these four standards of PMI have been grouped together as Core
Standards and were released last time together.
OPM3 is one standard which is affected by all three standards mentioned earlier.
Without a framework for projects, programs and portfolios in place, we cannot start
talking about the maturity of organizational project management. OPM3 Best
Practices and Capabilities incorporate the processes contained in:

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) Fifth

The Standard for Program Management Third Edition
The Standard for Portfolio Management Third Edition

In addition to above mentioned core standards, OPM3 also leverages the other
two core standards, including

Project Manager Competency Development Framework (PMCDF),

PMIs Project Management Lexicon.

The concept of Organizational Project management is better defined in 3 rd Edition

and the relationship with operations and product development is also hinted upon.
Although I feel, more emphasis could have been laid in clarifying these two
relationships, but OPM3 quickly steers clear of these linkages and focuses on the
core subject of maturity in projects, programs and portfolios with strategic intent.
The standard relates them by saying,
OPM advances organizational capability by supporting project,
program, and portfolio management principles and practices with
organizational enablers (e.g. structural, cultural, technological, and
human resource practices) to support strategic goals. An organization

measures its capabilities, then plans and implements improvements

towards the systematic achievement of best practices.
An attempt to link OPM with Organizational strategy exists where the standard
Organizational strategy is a result of the strategic planning cycle,
where the vision and mission are translated into a strategic plan. The
strategic plan is then subdivided into a set of initiatives that are
influenced by market dynamics, customer and partner requests,
shareholders, government regulations, and competitor plans and
actions. These initiatives establish strategic and operational portfolios
for execution in the planned period.
As you can see, the standard halts in its tracks after saying this much about
strategic and operational portfolios and never explains this linkage any further,
leaving much to the desire. It is also important to mention here that this is the first
time PMI has ever made a mention of operational portfolios and we do not really
understand the mechanism by which these operational portfolios link with project
portfolios. Strategy is a much wider subject and cannot be covered by addressing
project portfolio management alone, until and unless we are clear about what
happens at organizational strategic level.
My observations as a Subject Matter Expert for the new edition of OPM3 are as
under:1. In the whole standard a very slight mention of operational processes like
product development, operational effectiveness, and better customer
services was made. Where OPM3 claims to be addressing the Vision, Mission,
Strategy and Objectives of the Organization, it fails to justify its useful to
Organization's Operation in so many words. The missing link is between OPM
and the Operations of the organization.
2. The Best Practices table, which is several pages long) unnecessarily distracts
the reading of OPM3 standard by being situated right in the middle of the
standard. It could be much better if it could be moved to the end as an
3. Like processes in PMBoK and other standards, PMI has introduced processes
with ITTOs for OPM3 also. Unfortunately they are not consistent at all and no
process flow diagram has been prepared to show the linkages depicted
amongst the processes. Many outputs produced as output of a process are
never seen to be used elsewhere, indicating the output must have been
redundant as it was not needed by any other process.

4. Several inputs in these processes could have been accommodated in

Organizational Process Assets or Enterprise Environmental Factors but
are taking up useless space by being mentioned separately, thus increasing
the number of I/Os to as much as fifteen in certain cases.
5. This new experiment of introducing processes for OPM3 may be a good idea
but enough time should have been given to establish proper process flow. In
present status, these processes are self-contradictory in certain cases. At
many places, OPM3 standard does not remain consistent with other standards
as far as convention for use of ITTOs is concerned in the newly formed
In light of the observations, it was recommended to PMI that they SHOULD NOT
publish OPM3 standard in current form. They should either extend the date of the
project and work more on OPM3 processes or simply exclude them from standard
for the time being.
Soon, when this standard will be in your hands, you would be able to see the
validity of my concerns and observations made to PMI. I hope they would accept
some or all of my suggestions.

Authors Profile

Suhail Iqbal, PE, PgMP, PMP, PMI-ACP, PMI-RMP, PMI-SP, CAPM, PME, MCT, PRINCE2 Practitioner
Project Management Trainer, Consultant and Researcher with an experience of over 30 years, last 10
years specifically dedicated to the discipline of project management. Had been involved in development
of OPM3 2nd Ed as Quality Lead and SME Lead, OPM3 3 rd Ed as SME, PMBOK Guide 4th Ed as
Configuration Manager and 5th Ed as Author of Chapter 1, Program Management Standard 1 st & 2nd Ed
and Portfolio Management Standard 1st & 2nd Ed. Served as PMI Islamabad Pakistan Chapter President,
Component Mentor Asia, PMI Member Leadership Institute Advisory Group, Chairman APFPM, and Vice
President Education Islamabad ToastMasters Club. Currently Regional Director PRMIA Pakistan Chapter,
Vice Chair Mensa Pakistan and Director-at-Large with PMI Pakistan Islamabad Chapter. Associated with
PMI EdSIG, Consulting CoP, Quality CoP and many other CoPs. Research Scholar at SKEMA Business
School. Lille, France with over 12 publications to his credit. Specialize in Organizational Maturity,
OPM3 and Creative Leadership.