Enterprise Environmental Factors Vs. Organization Process Assets

  • Project Management
Created on :
June 24, 2014
Saket Bansal
Updated on :
July 4, 2023

Many aspiring candidates pursuing the prestigious PMP® (Project Management Professional) certification often grapple with the distinction between Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF) and Organizational Process Assets (OPA), as these terms are frequently used throughout various project management processes. Aspirants often perceive EEF and OPA as inputs to most project management processes, which can lead to confusion when determining the classification of certain factors. They question why a particular element falls under Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF) and not under Organizational Process Assets (OPA), or vice versa. It is crucial for these candidates to gain a clear understanding of the characteristics that differentiate EEF from OPA. Let’s begin by understanding the basics and resolving the confusion surrounding EEF and OPA:

What are Enterprise Environmental Factors:

Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF) are conditions that impact a project, program, or portfolio. They are not directly controlled by the project team. EEF is like the “given” things that come from the organization’s external or internal environment.

Although the team cannot control these factors, it is important for them to have a good understanding of them in order to effectively manage the project and navigate any challenges that may arise.

What are the internal environment and external environmental factors in EEF?

EEF can be further classified into external and internal factors inherent in the project’s environment. Internal factors are internal to the organization and project and encompass aspects such as ethics, and code of conduct, the geographical distribution of the team, infrastructure, information technology software used in the organization, subcontractors, and collaboration agreements.  Here are a few examples of internal enterprise environmental factors:

  • Organizational Structure: The organization follows a matrix organization structure, where the Development function head holds more power than other function heads. (Internal EEF – Organizational structure)
  • Workforce Motivation: The organization has very skilled engineers, but the workers lack motivation. (Internal EEF – Workforce motivation)
  • Management Style: The organization is managed very informally, with people seeking approval for significant expenses over the phone. (Internal EEF – Management style)
  • Organizational Culture: The organization has a culture of innovation and encourages creative thinking among its employees, fostering a collaborative and dynamic work environment. (Internal EEF – Organizational culture)
  • Technology Constraints: The project is limited by the existing technology infrastructure of the organization, which may impact the selection of tools and resources for project execution. (Internal EEF – Technology constraints)

The external environment factors are outer factors affecting the organization and project. It includes- Marketplace conditions like market share brand recognition, Social and cultural influences like political climate and legal restrictions, Commercial databases, Government or industry standards like regulatory agency regulations, and Physical environmental elements like working conditions. Here are a few external enterprise environmental factors –

  • Regulatory Compliance: The project must adhere to strict industry regulations imposed by government agencies, ensuring compliance with safety, security, and environmental standards. (External EEF – Regulatory compliance)
  • Industry Research: The organization relies on industry studies and market research reports to gather insights and make informed decisions regarding project planning and execution. (External EEF – Industry research)
  • Physical Environment Conditions: The organization operates in a region prone to frequent natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, which necessitates incorporating appropriate risk mitigation measures into project plans. (External EEF – Physical environment conditions)
  • Infrastructure Availability: The project requires access to specific infrastructure, such as specialized laboratories or equipment, which may have limitations or availability constraints. (External EEF – Infrastructure availability)
  • Currency Exchange Rates: The project is affected by fluctuations in currency exchange rates, especially when dealing with international transactions. Variations in exchange rates can impact project costs, profitability, and financial feasibility, requiring careful monitoring and management. (External EEF – Currency exchange rates)

What are Organization Process Assets:

Organizational Process Assets (OPA) are specific plans, processes, procedures, and knowledge bases that are used within the performing organization.

These assets significantly impact the management and execution of the project. They encompass a wide range of artifacts, practices, and knowledge bases that can be utilized as-is or customized to effectively execute and govern the project. OPA also include valuable lessons learned from previous projects, such as completed schedules and risk data, which provide insights and guidance for the project. Also, being internal to the organization’s OPA allows the project team to update and add to the organizational process assets as needed throughout the project execution.

Organization Process Assets can be classified into two main categories:

  • Process, Policies, and Procedures: These are established by the PMO or other functions outside of the project and generally remain unchanged during project execution. They are updated at the organizational level using appropriate policies and procedures. Example policies and procedures can come in the form of –
    • Templates for project documents and plans, providing a standardized framework.
    • Recommended workflows or processes for change management, configuration management, defect management, and more
  • Organizational Knowledge Bases: These knowledge repositories include various types of information such as financial data, project files (e.g., scope, cost, performance measurement baselines, project calendars), and other lessons learned. As the project progresses, the project team continuously adds and updates information related to performance issues, metrics, and other project-specific knowledge within these knowledge bases. Following represents some examples of organizational knowledge bases:
    • Checklists created based on lessons learned from previous projects.
    • Lesson Learned database containing valuable insights and best practices.
    • Historic records of projects, including issue logs, risk registers, and schedule data.
    • Process measurement database to track and assess the effectiveness of project processes.

These processes, policies, and procedures and the organization’s knowledge base serve as valuable resources for the organization, allowing for continuous improvement and the application of proven approaches in future projects.

You can see that It is quite evident that EEF and OPA represent different aspect which is used while planning or monitoring projects; let us look into some clear pointers which help us in knowing the difference between EEF and OPA.

Enterprise Environmental Factors Vs. Organization Process Assets

Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF)Organization Process Assets (OPA)
EEFs are constantly influential, whether documented or not, and remain active throughout a project. They are beyond the control of the team.OPAs are recommendations that may not always be followed. For example, an ethics policy within OPAs may not be followed by the organization, but it still remains an OPA. However, the ethics that are followed belong to EEFs.
EEFs have an impact on project processes without undergoing changes themselves, except in the context of developing and managing project teams, where acquired skills are added to the organization’s future capability.All planning processes utilize OPAs as inputs, but during the execution, monitoring and controlling, and closing processes, updates are made to the OPAs based on the project’s lessons learned.
EEFs limit the options available to project managers by specifying what can and cannot be pursued within the project context.OPAs facilitate project management by providing best practices and valuable information that aids in project execution.
EEFs are difficult to change, often requiring significant organizational-level change management. However, it is possible to modify the risk appetite of stakeholders or adjust specific rules, such as the “9 AM rule,” through appropriate stakeholder engagement and effective communication.OPAs can be changed by following the established organizational process, and they are designed to be easily changeable.
EEFs can be categorized as Internal or External factors, depending on whether they originate from within the organization or from the project’s external environment.OPAs can be categorized as Process, Policies, and Procedures, which provide a framework for project management, and Organizational Knowledge Bases, which store accumulated knowledge and best practices.

Frequently Asked Questions on Enterprise Environmental Factors Vs. Organization Process Assets:

Question: In the context of the PMP exam, the Policies and procedures are mentioned in Enterprise Environmental Factor (EEF) and Organization Process Assets (OPA) both? So where are they actually?

Answer: Yes, there can be a mention of policies and procedures in both EEF and OPA. However, determining their actual placement requires careful consideration based on specific factors. To clarify:

  • Policies and procedures directly related to project-specific work, serving as guiding factors, are categorized under OPA.
  • Policies and procedures governing the organization as a whole, such as employment, recruitment, and employee retrenchment policies, fall under EEF. These policies are external to the project and cannot be directly updated by the project manager.
  • Practices-based policies and procedures are considered part of the Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF). This includes the policies and procedures that are actually followed within the organization. On the other hand, the Organization Process Assets (OPA) comprise all documented policies and procedures, regardless of whether they are consistently followed or not. For example, an ethics policy that is followed represents an EEF, while the documented version of the ethics policy is part of the OPA.

Question: Why is a Project Management Information System (PMIS) considered an Enterprise Environmental Factor and not OPA, given that it is an asset purchased by the organization?

Answer: The distinction arises because a PMIS is viewed as an infrastructure or tool that creates the project management environment within the organization. Similar to a physical building owned by the organization, the PMIS serves as an Enterprise Environmental Factor (EEF). It provides the project team with a platform to conduct project-related activities and manage project information. While the PMIS itself is considered an EEF, certain components within it, such as templates and configurations specific to the organization’s processes, can be categorized as Organization Process Assets (OPA). These OPA elements include standardized scheduling templates or customized workflows created within the PMIS to align with the organization’s project management practices. In summary, the PMIS is recognized as an EEF because it sets the foundation and infrastructure for project management activities, while specific elements within the PMIS can be considered OPA when they are tailored to the organization’s processes and practices.

Question: Are industry standards considered EEF or OPA?

Answer: Industry standards are classified as Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEF). These standards are managed and controlled by external entities, such as industry bodies or associations. Project teams are often required to comply with these standards and are limited in their ability to change them. Hence, industry standards are considered EEF.

Question: Why is the Work Authorization System (WAS) considered an EEF rather than OPA, even though it is defined by the organization?

Answer: The Work Authorization System (WAS) is categorized as an Enterprise Environmental Factor (EEF) because it is a system that is defined at the organizational level. It is not specific to individual projects but rather applies to the organization as a whole. The WAS sets guidelines and requirements for work authorizations and approvals, which can impact project execution. Project teams must adhere to the established procedures of the WAS and cannot modify it for a particular project. The WAS is part of the larger project management system, which is also classified as an EEF.

Question. Are Process Measurement Databases, such as productivity metrics, considered an Enterprise Environmental Factor (EEF) or an Organization Process Asset (OPA)?

Answer: Process Measurement Databases, including productivity metrics, are categorized as Organization Process Assets (OPA). These databases contain historical data and records specific to the organization’s projects. They provide insights into past performance, productivity trends, and other relevant metrics. However, it’s important to note that the general attitude of people towards work and their skills, which can impact productivity, falls under the purview of EEF. For example, if the team lacks proficiency in the tools provided, it is considered an EEF. On the other hand, when referring to records and data within the organization to determine average productivity numbers, it pertains to the OPA.


EEF encompasses the project’s dynamic surrounding environment, while OPA comprises valuable lessons, tools, and checklists from past project experiences. EEF sets boundaries and constraints for the project, while OPA serves as a repository of knowledge, best practices, and resources. Understanding these concepts is essential for PMP® exam success and effective project management. By leveraging EEF and OPA, project managers can navigate constraints, utilize best practices, and make informed decisions to drive project success.

 You may watch the video on the same, which would further demystify the enterprise’s environmental factors Vs. Organization process assets.

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