Applying OPM3® in Organizations – a modular approach


Raju Rao, OPM3 Certified Professional

Chennai, India


Ever since OPM3 was first introduced by PMI in 2003, its application as a practice has not been widespread and has not been as successful as other programs for certification like PMP or even the recently introduced Agile certification. There are many reasons for lack of appreciation of OPM3 – these include among others – difficulty in understanding the model, the fact that PMI and professionals are still on a learning curve to market a consulting service as opposed to certification products and it being different from other contemporary models or frameworks. This paper presents alternative methods which are modular in approach for assessment of organizations and is good starting point for organizational improvement. It will be useful to both certified professionals and prospective users involved in improvement of organizations.

Implementing OPM3 – Challenges in the past

  • The project management community has found it difficult to understand the model. For example, they are not familiar with strategic management either in terms of knowledge content or practice based on which OPM3 is based.
  • Those who are involved in process improvement tend to look thorough the ‘glass’ of other models e.g. CMMI and 6 Sigma. It has been difficult to explain that OPM3 is not a substitute for these but complimentary to them.
  • OPM3 is level-less model and has been designed in that way due to its multidimensional nature. The benefits of such a system i.e. flexibility and low entry level requirements has been difficult to communicate to many professionals.
  • Organizations seek benchmarking data which PMI has not been able to develop so far for OPM3.
  • Often , the need for the use of such models is more from customer requirements or for improving brand value so certification of the organization similar to ISO becomes a need and PMI has not developed any framework so far for OPM3
  • As compared to getting the organization certified for business reasons the number of organizations genuinely seeking process improvement are fewer and it is challenge to locate such customers.


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About the Author

Raju-Raoflag-indiaRaju Rao

Raju Rao, PMP, SCPM, OPM3CC is principal consultant with Xtraplus Solutions, a PM consulting and training company based in Chennai, India.  Mr. Rao has a B.Tech degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Madras, India; a Diploma in Management from the University of Bombay; an Advanced PM certificate from Stanford University; and a certificate from IIM Calcutta. Mr. Rao has over 30 years’ experience in engineering, process and project management and has been an active member of PMI for several years. He held leadership positions in both the 1st and 2nd edition projects of OPM3 and has been involved in development of several PMI standards.  He has presented numerous papers in global congresses and is the co-author of two books – Project Management Circa 2025 published by PMI and Organizational Project Management published by Management Concepts, USA.   Raju is President of South India section of AACE International and founder of the Indian Project Management Forum. Raju Rao lives in Chennai, India and can be contacted at [email protected].