Project Management Institute

OPM3 from theory to practice


OPM3®, Organizational Project Management Maturity Model, Knowledge Foundation, is a standard developed by Project Management Institute (PMI®). The main propose is to provide a way for organizations tomeasure their maturity in project management best practices. This paper looks to show a petrochemical company case study that developed its own maturity model, through the execution of a project. This project was developed based on A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) standard, through the development of a project plan. First of all, OPM3 basic concepts will be presented as the Brazilian petrochemical profile. Second, the project presentation, created in order to develop a maturity model that would fix in organizational needs, and finally the project benefits and lessons learned.


Organizations that execute projects have them originate from a need. This process originates from strategic planning where the company goals, for the next period, are defined. These products, generated from the planning, are developed and detailed with the objective of defining the ones that will be more attractive for the organization. This analysis involves the prioritization of these plans, elaboration of balanced scorecards, analysis of cost benefit, evaluation of the market and competitors, opportunities, an analysis of SWOT, and, also, a complete detailed list of the products generated from the strategic planning, to make execution possible.

These plans, after being well studied by the organization, become then projects with an objective, associated with cost, time and quality. We can conclude then, that the correct and successful execution of these projects will guarantee the conclusion of this strategical planning and the development of the organization. With these defined projects the portfolio of the organization is stated, as well as the formation of programs, which will make their set of projects.

With the intention of supplying a tool, from which the organizations could be able to evaluate their degrees of maturity in project management, programs and portfolio, a standard Organizational Project Management Maturity Model were developed. Based on this standard, Braskem, a Brazilian petrochemical company, developed its proper model of maturity, through the Dimension Process Braskem+ Program. We will approach the benefits of this program and the evolution of the projects through the stages of maturity which culminated in the organizational satisfaction.

OPM3 Concepts

“The application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to organizational and project activities to achieve the aims of an organization through projects.” (PMI, 2003, p. 5)

Based on this concept, OPM3 will provide a way that organizations would create a link between what it desired, based on strategic planning, and the successful portfolio, program and project conclusion. The main OPM3 purpose is to provide a toll that companies would apply to understand their maturity level in project management, comparing it to project management best practices. OPM3 includes project management processes, but also those processes included within the domains of program and portfolio management.

OPM3 benefits would increase organization's performance providing a way to:

  • Assesses an organization's current portfolio, program and project maturity;
  • Identify high performance templates;
  • Identify areas for improvement;
  • Keep the focus on project management continuum improvement;
  • Promote management awareness of maturity;
  • Measure outcomes provided by project management;
  • Facilitate organizational changes through the development of portfolios, programs and projects;
  • Link organizational success, project success.


OPM3 Elements

Knowledge, Assessment and Improvement are the basic three OPM3 elements as show in the figure below. Each element is responsible for a set of practices, working like a project life cycle. The main objective is to conduct project management maturity improvement, in order to guide the organization through successful best practices implemented and the next set of steps to continuum improvement.

OPM3 Elements (PMI, 2003, p. 8)

Exhibit 1 – OPM3 Elements (PMI, 2003, p. 8)

They are:

  • Knowledge: This first step is responsible is order to proceed with an initial analysis. It will prepare the organization through the understanding of OPM3 basis, it concepts, elements and how would work it.
  • Assessment: This second step will perform organizational diagnostic through project management best practices, displaying the organization's actual degree of maturity in project management. This element will provide the organization with which project management best practices and capabilities are being successful used, and which ones are not, comparing with OPM3 Model.
  • Improvement: This last step is responsible for creating a project plan, describing the best practices that are going to be implemented in order to reach the next maturity level degree. After all, the organization will again perform the first or second steps until they reach the desired maturity level.

OPM3 Components

There are four basic components in OPM3, Best Practice, Capability, Outcome and KPI (Key Performance Indicator), as show in exhibit 2. “A Best Practice is an optimal way currently recognized by industry to achieve a stated goal or objective.” (PMI, 2003, p. 13) In other words, a Best Practice is a recognized set of skills that enhance project management performance. There are well defined best practices that affect project, program and portfolio management and they are composed of a certain number of capabilities. A best practice could be value through capabilities, steps that have to be made to reach it. Each capability produces an outcome, a tangible or intangible result of demonstrating or applying a capability and an outcome can be measure through a KPI, a key performance indicator, which represents the means to measure an outcome.

OPM3 Components (PMI, 2003, p. 16)

Exhibit 2 – OPM3 Components (PMI, 2003, p. 16)

Best Practices and Capabilities are categorized as shown in exhibit 3 :

  • Organizational Project Management Domains (PPP)
    • Project
    • Program
    • Portfolio
  • Process Improvement Stages (SMCI)
    • Standardize
    • Measure
    • Control
    • Continuously Improve
OPM3 Categories (PMI, 2003, p. 28)

Exhibit 3 – OPM3 Categories (PMI, 2003, p. 28)


Braskem has been the leader in the Latin American market of thermoplastic resins since its creation in August of 2002, when the groups Odebrecht and Mariani integrated their petrochemicals assets to Copene Petrochemical Norwest, former raw materials central of Camaçari pole in Bahia, controlled by them since 2001. Both groups joined their petrochemical companies, creating Braskem, the first integrated petrochemical in the country. It means that Braskem concentrates, in one company, the operations of the first and the second generation in the plastic productive chain.

The first generation is responsible by the business cycles connected to the basic raw materials production like, ethane, propane and chlorine, important elements for the second generation that works with the thermoplastic resins. As a result of this integration in the productive chain, Braskem has many competitive advantages, such as good production scales and operational efficiency.

With 19 factories located in Alagoas, Bahia, São Paulo, and Rio Grande do Sul, the company produces basic petrochemicals such as ethane, propane, benzene, caprolactam, and DMT, as well as gasoline and GLP (kitchen gas). In the thermoplastic resin segment, in which it is the leader in Latin America, the company produces polyethylene, polypropylene, PVC and PET.

Most people are not aware of the presence of Braskem, a world class Brazilian petrochemical, in their lives. However, one look around the house and the office or even inside your car is enough to realize the presence of plastic made objects - many of them industrialized from resins produced by Braskem - that are extremely important for our everyday comfort and the practicability of modern life. Articles such as, toothbrushes, pacifiers, housewares in general, backpacks, packaging, automotive components, computer pieces, bags, wires, cables, among others, are made from thermoplastic resins like polyethylene, polypropylene, and PVC that constitute the business focus of the company.

The strategy of Braskem is based upon market leadership, competitiveness and technological autonomy, all of them aligned with the commitment of promoting the sustainable development. The company has the largest and most modern research complex of the sector in Latin America, the Innovation and Technology Center of Braskem. It is located in Triunfo, in Rio Grande do Sul where products, processes, applications and new markets are developed in partnership with the customers, the plastic transformers, which belong to the third generation. Therefore, the company adds value and competitiveness for all the petrochemicals and the plastic productive chain.

Braskem has its shares listed in the stock markets of São Paulo, New York and Madrid and it is committed to the principles of good corporative governance, based on the transparency in its relations with the capital market. The challenge of the company is focused on its growth, innovation and performance improvement, considering a personnel management that takes into consideration the potential for development of its 3.500 employees, approximately.

Braskem+ Program

In order to improve petrochemical process performance and quality, Braskem has developed a Program, Braskem+. It was concerned with three main aspects, start with productive process, develop a culture and integrate tools and techniques.


Beside these points, Braskem would develop this program to implement a production system to reach three organizational goals:

  1. Vision of a challenge future
  2. Profitability
  3. Market concrete recognition

Braskem+ Project and Braskem+ Process were the two programs that create Braskem+. Project dimension was responsible to immediately increase production, in order to improve profits. Process dimension was mainly concerned with tehmeans to sustain project dimension, to keep profitability.

Braskem+ development strategy would pass through three phases, process definition, methodology development, and design of pilots and dissemination.

Case Study – Braskem Management Maturity Model

Despite the main goal, well defined, Braskem+ Process dimension still requires a lot of information. There was no defined deliverables, incomplete and complex scope, too many stakeholders to care of, short time to complete the program plan, and undefined time. These problems are just the same problems that project pass through, and the main cause of almost all of them was the lack of planning. PMI has developed a model, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), and the main dilemma was to emphasize that planning is one of the most important phases of a project life cycle.

A correct planning execution would bring a lot of benefits to the project and organization, define scope, identify stakeholders, mitigate risks, define the project schedule and budget, develop a communication plan, and more items that would fix all problems. Based on this concept, a project plan, containing all knowledge areas, has to be created, prepared and detail the project.

A project plan is formal and approved document, which define how the project will be executed, monitored and controlled. It can be resumed or detailed and contains deliverables of all knowledge areas. (PMI, 2004, p. 88)

The challenge was launched, to create a project plan, in one month, that would define Braskem methodology and maturity model.

This paper will present all project plan deliverables, the project charter, scope statement, WBS, responsibility assign matrix, project schedule, OBS, communication plan, and mainly the maturity model develop, that would fix exactly on Braskem petrochemical production needs, created based on PMI model OPM3, including specific petrochemical tools and techniques in the maturity levels. At the end, the attendee will be able to understand the benefits of the development of models and proper standards, from standards developed by the PMI, constructing it own OPM3 model. Will be able also to analyze the beneficial results of the development of a custom maturity model.


Crawford, K. J. (2002) Project Management Maturity Model: providing a proven path to project management excellence. New York: Marcel Dekker.

Foti, R (2002, September) Maturity, PM Network 16 (9) 38-43

Garfein, S. (2005) Strategic Portfolio Management: A smart, realistic and relatively fast way to gain sustainable competitive advantage. 2005 PMI Global Congress Proceedings. Toronto – Canada. Set.

Jugdev, K.; Thomas, J. (2002, December) Project Management Maturity Models: The Silver Bullets of Competitive Advantage? Project Management Journal 33 (4) 4-15.

Kerzner, H. (2005) Using the Project Management Maturity Model: Strategic Planning for Project Management (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Project Management Institute. (2004) A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK®) (3rd ed.). Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

Project Management Institute. (2003) Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3®) Knowledge Foundation (2003). Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

Project Management Institute. (2005) Portfolio Management Standard. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

Project Management Institute. (2005) Program Management Standard. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI or any listed author.

2006, Jose Genaro Linhares Jr.
Originally published as a part of 2006 PMI Global Congress Proceedings – Santiago, Chile



Related Content

  • PM Network

    Built for Speed

    By Wilkinson, Amy High-speed internet access can be a game-changer for developing countries. And in Sri Lanka, the need was critical. Decades of bitter civil war left the island nation lagging far behind other parts…

  • PM Network

    Medical Migration

    By Wilkinson, Amy Life-or-death decisions sometimes hang on whether doctors and nurses have safe, secure and swift access to patient records. That’s especially true for Adventist Health, one of the largest rural…

  • PM Network

    Remote Access

    By Wilkinson, Amy Saudi Arabia is home to some of the most remote oil fields in the world—and Saudi Aramco’s Shaybah reserve is no exception. Located deep in the Rub’ al-Khali desert, the field is more than 500 miles…

  • PM Network

    Premium Perspective

    Putting the customer first in the financial sector means building a better digital experience across the enterprise—a transformation that European insurance broker Génération began in 2018. Looking…

  • Project Management Journal

    Major Knowledge Diffusion Paths of Megaproject Management member content locked

    By Wu, Hengqin | Xue, Xiaolong | Zhao, Zebin | Wang, Zeyu | Shen, Qiping | Luo, Xiaowei This article integrates social network analysis and main path analysis to investigate progress in megaproject management (MPM) from the perspective of knowledge diffusion. After measuring three…