Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEFs) are the policies, rules, and other conditions that must be adhered to in the process of carrying out certain activities, and in the context of project management, EEFs need to be accounted for when conducting any project activities.
Organizational Process Assets (OPAs) are the resources a project manager can make use of in projects such as historical information, templates, and other organizational knowledge that all may assist in the progression of the project.
Organizational Systems determine how the project life cycle might work due to the structure of the organization managing the project.
All three of these items are covered in Chapter 2 of the PMBOK® Guide, Sixth Edition.
Data privacy and political beliefs: An example
Together, EEFs and OPAs can determine how the project will be managed. If EEFs restrict the project manager from working with data in a certain way – for example the handling of personal data – the project manager may have additional layers of activity that should be performed to work with that data. An example might be that beyond what any data privacy legislation may require (which are also EEFs), project managers need to maintain auditable records on the amounts of personal data used in testing the software and how often sensitive data such as political opinions are used on the basis of accepting or rejecting test results.
The organization might have a policy relating to discrimination on the grounds of political beliefs, and though it might not relate to employees, as a matter of policy they want to ensure the software they are working with cannot be used to discriminate as well. During the development of the project,
The test automation framework (TAF) used by the project may be based on a standard structure used by the organization, which would make the TAF derived from an OPA, and it could be configured and updated to enforce the anti-discrimination policy to ensure testing is conducted objectively. The way in which this scenario is handled in the project could be affected by the coordination required with the relevant legal personnel, data privacy and IT security specialists, as well as corporate compliance teams. The coordination required reflects the Organizational Systems that will affect the project management approach.
Enterprise Environmental Factors: A closer look
EEFs that are internal to the organization include policies, rules, and other forms of compliance required that will directly influence how the project can be managed. The example above included policies on anti-discrimination, information security, and testing strategy.
Those that are external include contracts, laws, regulations, and other items not within the organization’s control. In the case of a contract, while portions of the way the contract work is internal in nature, the other portion of control belongs to an external party which can influence how the project works. For example, the organization’s contract with a vendor to secure licenses to use the project management software might change in price next year, and because the contract does not contain a way of avoiding this, the project is influenced by this external EEF, and it will need to account for this price change in the Cost Management.
Organizational Process Assets: A closer look
Details on the processes, policies, and procedures used by the organization are assets which allow the project teams to work in a certain manner. There may also be details on past project historical information, change control procedures, analytics data, testing strategies, and useful reports.
These details may be stored in one or more organizational knowledge repositories. Some organizations have a “knowledge base” or KB that documents all of these various materials for reference by the project team. This includes project records, closure information, task management information, and various other records.
EEFs and OPAs both have processes and policies?
The difference between an EEF and an OPA in this context is that we use the information on the processes, policies, etc. as organizational process assets to benefit our work. The fact that there are processes or policies may be an internal enterprise environmental factor the project needs to account for, and they do so in assistance with the relevant organizational process assets such as the organization’s compliance guide.
How do I take all of these EEFs and OPAs into account when managing a project within an organization? I recommend Getting Deep About Organizational Systems.