OPM and Agile; Conflicting Frameworks or Complementary Approaches?

Everyone in development knows about Agile. However, Organizational Project Management (OPM) is still relatively unheard of. Simply stated; OPM focuses on linking strategy with project work.  This is the ultimate framework to make sure that your project  creates the right enterprise outcomes and not just outputs.


organizational Project Management
Rosemary Hossenlopp

Today I am heading to the Project Management Institute (PMI) Community of Practice (Cop) leadership event in San Diego.  I head the PMI OPM Knowledge team.  At the SFO airport while waiting for the plane, I ran into Pat Reed, an Agile Alliance Board Member who is also heading to the PMI event. I had the opportunity to ask this key Agile thought leader about how Organizational Project Management and Agile combine to accelerate organizational success.  Here are her thoughts.

What do OPM and Agile Have in Common?

Both share a focus on:

  • Ensuring Value Generation – not just project work or deliverables
  • Emphasis on Outcomes – not on measuring outputs which may or may not lead to value
  • Endeavoring to Simplify – create sustainable lightweight processes

How Do You Really Implement These Principles in your Project?

Agile can be implemented as a framework yet sustainable and successful long term project success can be facilitated by ensuring that you lead Agile implementations with a maturity model.  Sound crazy.  At first blush yes.  So hang in there and follow what Pat Reed does in starting any new engagement with a lightweight maturity model.

What is a Maturity Model?

A maturity model is a framework that accelerates learning.  It level sets an understanding of organizational performance by focusing on how well the team or department delivers outcomes.  Steps may include:

  • Assessment
  • Benchmarking
  • Identification of components important for success

While the steps are straight forward, ensuring adoption and reducing resistance to new processes isn’t easy. There are some of her key success issues in educating leaders and team about maturity models before an Agile implementation.

The Maturity Model process creates a:

  • common vision of aspirational goals
  • realistic and incremental steps to get to there
  • recognition of how not to get distracted by outputs e.g., only tasks and activities
  • feedback loops for continuous learning for individual professionals and the entire organization

Pat’s Closing Thoughts

It is about learning.  Value is created by an organization unit.  Maturity Models help an organization learn and continue to produce value that is relevant to customers, and society.

In Summary

I trust that Pat and I have shared how these two important project management domains; OPM and Agile are very complimentary in accelerating organizational success in embedding processes that promote long-term sustainable organizational health. This is what we desire for all our organizations and clients.  Join us in discussions at PMI or Pat at ihorz


About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top