There are funny cycles in the field of project management.

PERT charts are no longer cool, for example. And we do a bit more planning these days than we did in the 50’s when most of our so-called “complex” projects were still run off a simple Gantt chart. But today’s projects have redefined the nature of the word “complex”. Teams are broader. Budgets are bigger. Deadlines are tighter. Stakes are much, much higher.

A decade ago, the answer was the PMO. The project management office was to be the central repository for project practitioners in medium and large companies. In the best examples, PMOs were user-driven and organic, managed by a savvy suite of experts who knew how to get the most out of the tools they used. And still, project complexity grew.

Today, the PMO has evolved. OPM3 stands to formalize project management operations and help to define a clear path for process improvement.

What is it? OPM3 stands for Organizational Project Management Maturity Model, and it is a model that is owned by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Unlike so many other maturity models in the field, however, OPM3 was crafted by thousands of project management professionals, volunteers, and experts across 35 countries around the world. This is not an ivory tower theoretical application.

In short, it is a big deal.

Perhaps because so many people were involved in its genesis, simply diving into OPM3 can prove a bit unwieldy. Put simply, OPM3 helps organizations understand a broad scope of best practices in the field through a knowledge element; measure organizational performance against those best practices through the assessment element; and build a bridge to meet those best practices through the improvement element.

There are 557 of these best practices, each broken down into a few meaningful capabilities. As such, where OPM3 shines is in dealing with the dramatic increase in complexity in today’s projects. In fact, OPM3 specifically encompasses a whole-organization view of project management, something Cadence has long professed as a key success factor in projects. OPM3 best practices cover project, program, and portfolio management through four key stages of process management: Standardization, Measurement, Control, and Continuous Improvement.

Too often, we see projects that have fallen prey to organizational ill-will. Projects that have fallen through the cracks of management, projects that are spearheaded in spite of misalignment with organizational priorities, and projects with no executive support or leadership. Where OPM3 shines is in helping organizations turn key strategies into projects, and ensure that all projects serve in the achievement of broad strategic vision.

Specially-educated Cadence project managers are available to help your organization begin the OPM3 assessment process, a powerful tool for ensuring your projects are delivering the right results today.