PMP Basics: EEF vs OPA
Both Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF) and Organization Process Assets (OPA) are two of the core inputs to most project management processes as described in the PMBOK® Guide. However, many Aspirants find it hard to distinguish between these two. Though I have yet to encounter a real PMP® Exam question to ask the candidate to select from among a list of documents which ones are Enterprise Environmental Factors and which are Organization Process Assets. The knowledge of these two will surely help Aspirants to better understand the practice of project management according to PMI.
This article will help Aspirants to differentiate between Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF) and Organization Process Assets (OPA) for the exam.
Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF) vs Organization Process Assets (OPA)
Both Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF) and Organization Process Assets (OPA) are support/constraints provided by the outside to the project management team to effectively deliver the projects.
- Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF): EEF are conditions that will influence / affect the project that are not under the immediate control of the project team.
- “Environment” is the key term here.
- The project team need to understand and work with the EEF in order to successfully carry out the project as these cannot be controlled by the team.
- The project team has little or no influence on the EEF.
- EEF are often seen as constraints or opportunities — i.e. may or may not benefit the project
- EEF examples:
- technology advancements / breakthroughs — mobile adoption, internet of things, wearable technologies
- Government policies — pollution limitation, reduction of carbon emission, increase in the use of renewable energy
- Community involvements
- Project Management Information System (PMIS) — the project templates and configuration control stored in PMIS are OPA
- Skills of human resources
- Industry standards
- Work Authorization System (WAS)
- Organization culture / structure
- External and internal political conditions
- Resources (including money and human) available
- Organization Process Assets (OPA): OPA are any specific knowledge and documents (including processes and plans) that are created / adopted to be used in the performing organization.
- OPA is a collection of all historic information (e.g. lessons learned / process improvements / requirements / best practices) from the performing organization that is available for use by the project manager to help achieving project / organization objectives.
- The organization may define which OPA are mandatory and which are recommended.
- When used properly, the OPA help the project manager in the management of the project.
- The OPA may be updated during the project execution as new knowledge is gained.
- OPA examples:
- Lessons learned knowledgebase
- Project templates
- Recommended workflow/process
- Historic records
- Accounting practices
- Risk / stakeholder register
Mock Exam Question
- You are working as the project manager for the Museum of History aiming to build an extension to the current Museum building. You would like to know what are the restrictions on the plot ratio (i.e. gross floor area vs site area) of the construction site according to government requirements. Which of the following would plot ratio be categorized as?
- Enterprise Environmental Factors
- Organization Process Assets
- Cost Constraints
- Project Limitation
As the plot ratio is a factor determined by the government for specific sites, it should be considered as an environmental factor that cannot be controlled by the project team (i.e. Enterprise Environmental Factors).
Summary: Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF) vs Organization Process Assets (OPA)
- Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF): factors related to the environment not under the (immediate) control of the project team
- Organization Process Assets (OPA): knowledge specific to the performing organization
However, sometimes the differentiation is a bit blurry and the project manager may find it hard to tell which ones are Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF) and which ones are Organization Process Assets (OPA), e.g. Policies and Procedures — that’s why PMI will seldom ask the candidates to categorize between Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF) and Organization Process Assets (OPA).
Hope this article can illustrate the differences between Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF) vs Organization Process Assets (OPA) for well.