PMP® Essay 1 – EEFs versus OPAs

eefs opas pmp exam Jul 27, 2018

If you are preparing for the PMP Exam version 6 you will most certainly come across the subject of Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEFs) and Organizational Process Assets (OPAs). These two items fall within the category of ITTOs, which stands for Inputs, Outputs, Tools and Techniques. Currently there are 49 project management processes in the PM framework ranging from things like ‘Develop Project Charter’ to ‘Identify Risks’ to ‘Manage Stakeholder Engagement’ to ‘Close Project or Phase’.

Well, for every one of these 49 processes there are things that are supplied as inputs into them. For example, the Develop Project Charter process takes an input called the business case. That makes sense, right? If we are ramping up a new project and creating our charter document, we sure as heck better understand the business case for taking the project on!

Alright, so how does all this relate to EEFs and OPAs? Well, for nearly all of the 49 processes the EEFs and OPAs serve as inputs in a similar way to the business case example although it’s not quite as clear cut as to WHY they serve as inputs. The business case example is easy to understand because the business case is a very specific thing. However, EEFs and OPAs are more high-level categories that contain several different things within them.

So, the purpose of this paper is to help you understand what each of these two things are, what are all their sub components and how do they differ from each other. Let’s start with Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEFs). So, one of the most fundamental concepts of Project Management in real life and tested for on the exam is that no two projects are the same. Project Managers need to utilize different approaches to managing projects within their organization.

Unfortunately, there are many factors in the company (hence the name Enterprise Environmental Factors) that are totally outside the control of the Project Manager and even the Project Team. And these factors can be inside the company or outside the company. While EEFs can vary widely in nature, it is generally accepted the EEFs constrain your ability as PM to run the project. For example, your company has a policy that on Fridays in the summer everyone can leave for the week at 3 PM. Let me ask you a question, how productive will a team meeting be if you schedule it for 4PM on Fridays given this policy? Nobody will even show up! What about if you schedule your meeting on a popular religious holiday? Both EEFs, both constrain the project the former is an internal EEF, the latter is an external EEF.

• (EEFs) include such items as;
• Organizational Culture, processes, infrastructure
• Product Standards
• Quality Standards
• Government Standards
• Market Conditions
• Codes of Conduct
• Staffing guidelines
• Training Records
• Politics

Now, whereas EEFs were something that CONSTRAINED your ability to run the project, I think it will be helpful for you on the PMP exam if you think of Organization Process Assets (OPAs) as something that ASSISTS the PM. Keep in mind that 0ver time most companies have created several artifacts that include things like templates, tools, contracts, and registers that help them in the management of their projects. Also, the performing organization is likely to have accumulated information (lessons learned) over time which can be leveraged in future projects.

Have you ever heard the saying ‘one time is a mistake, but twice is a pattern?” well lessons learned are here for the PM to make sure he/she doesn’t repeat mistakes from past projects. These OPAs can influence the management of the project and as I mentioned they are inputs to many project management processes. So, whether your project is short term or longer term, it is very important, especially during the planning phase, to consider all the relevant OPAs including;

• Standardized Guidelines
• Procurement Evaluation Criteria
• WBS models
• Schedule Network Diagram Templates
• Project Closure practices
• Quality Defect Management policy
• Financial procedures
• Project files

In my PMP® Study Workbooks I go into even greater detail on these topics, but, In summary, remember EEFs constrain the PM whereas OPAs assist the PM. Both OPAs and EEFs, while serving mostly as inputs to processes, can also be updated due to changes that may have been applied during the project.

Cheers, Coach Dan.



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