In general, the projects can be considered as a processes. They have a beginning, an end and between them there is a ‘process’ going on. Organizational process of project management has several process assets.[i] What are the organizational process assets and why they are so important for project management and the whole company? Let’s firstly to define what is an asset? An asset is defined as something value or useful, a valuable property owned by a person or company, that you can keep, and make use of at any point in time. An asset is something of value and the assets of a mature company are priceless, because it takes a long time, human and economic resources to achieve them.[ii]
In a simple way the organizational process assets can be considered as lessons learned from the past, including the valuable information, documents and knowledge tools that the organization accumulates over time. In other words, while the organization is involved in different new projects, it gradually gains and develops more Organizational Process Assets. For example, if the company is starting a new project very similar to a project already performed, the documentation about the past project will provide a lot of useful information for the new project.[iii] After ending of the project, these organizational process assets can be stored in a central repository and can be used for any future projects. It is possible to use databases for the collection and documentation of information or these can be collected in paper format.
In one word, the assets considered to be as inputs for the new project. The assets format can be different depending on the project or the type of organization.
The Organizational Process Assets are divided into two categories.
- Processes and procedures
- Basic knowledge of the company
The first category includes the following:
- Standard models
- General guidelines
The second category includes basic company knowledge for storing and retrieving information [iv]:
- Register of project risks
- Lessons learned
- Stakeholders register
- Files of previous projects
- Historical information
These organizational process assets have an influence on the project’s success, and they keep growing as the organization becomes larger. There is a very famous saying in project management, “Why reinvent the wheel?” which means if you have something available to you, why would you try to remake it? [v] You are free to renew or retrofit elements from this category. Organizational process assets are widely used in project management and help organizations to improve their processes, also help project management teams to learn, and share best practices by using a collective knowledge base. Beside this, organizational process assets make the project management team’s life much more comfortable, always support the project team, and can be customized according to their suitability.
As mentioned above, the organizational process assets are what the company has acquired over time and because of that they are very valuable, especially in project planning. It is important to keep in mind that the organizational process assets are fundamental either for the project management, or for the general management of a company. Actually they introduce its historical basis and its experiences.
So, the organizational process assets would include anything the organization has gained over the time and what you can use in the project management. They include formal and informal plans, policies, procedures, and guidelines what are very important for the planning stage, despite of the nature of the project. Whether your project is long-term or short-term, OPAs are a must. [vi]