Monday, January 10, 2011

Organizational Process Assets

Organizational process assets are the organization’s policies, guidelines, procedures, plans, approaches, and standards for conducting work, including project work. This includes a wide range of elements that might affect several aspects of the project, such as project management policies, safety policies, performance measurement criteria, templates, financial controls, communication requirements, issue and defect management procedures, change control procedures, risk control procedures, and the procedures used for authorizing work.

Organizational process assets are divided into two categories: processes and procedures
and corporate knowledge base.

Organizational process assets also include the information the organization has learned on previous projects (including how to store and retrieve that information). For example, previous project risks, performance measurements, earned value data, and schedules for past projects are valuable resources of knowledge for the current project. This information is also known as historical information and it falls into the corporate knowledge base category. If you don’t capture and store this information, however, it won’t be available when you’re starting a new project. You’ll want to capture and store
information such as project financial data (budgets, costs, overruns), historical information, lessons learned, project files, issues and defects, process measurements, and configuration management knowledge.

Organizational process assets and historical information should be reviewed and examined when a new project is starting. Historical information can be very useful to project managers and to stakeholders. When you’re evaluating new projects, historical information about previous projects of a similar nature can be handy in determining whether the new project should be accepted and initiated. Historical information gathered and documented during an active project is used to assist in determining whether the project should proceed to the next phase. Historical information will help you with the project charter, project scope statement, development of the project management plan, the process of defining and estimating activities, and more during the project planning processes.

Understanding previous projects of a similar nature - their problems, successes, issues, and outcomes - will help you avoid repeating mistakes while reusing successful techniques to accomplish the goals of this project to the satisfaction of the stakeholders.

Many of the processes in the project management process groups have organizational process assets as an input, implying that you should review the pertinent organizational assets that apply for the process you’re about to start. For example, when performing the Estimating Costs process, you might find it helpful to review the activity estimates and budgets on past projects of similar size and scope before estimating the costs for the activities on the new project.

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