Use and support of the PMI® OPM3® standard in conjunction with Siemens internal maturity in project management (MPM) assessment protocol and project management best practice methodology, PM@Siemens


Project management is a core competency of all Siemens companies. In 2000, the executive board of Siemens AG launched a corporate initiative to systematically and continuously improve its organizational project management maturity. This has been known as the PM@Siemens Initiative. The mission of the initiative is defined as follows:

  • PM@Siemens identifies best practices and, together with all the relevant participants, moderates the derivation of company standards with worldwide validity from these excellent examples.
  • PM@Siemens makes sure that all units handling project business introduce such standards and use this knowledge and experience at their own responsibility.
Key Areas of the Corporate Initiative PM@Siemens

Exhibit 1 – Key Areas of the Corporate Initiative PM@Siemens

Every quarter, the project management initiative collects essential project data from all the business units that handle project business and makes this data available to the Corporate Executive Committee, summarized in defined evaluations. This supports top management attentiveness to the importance of project business and shows the level of implementation of the PM@Siemens initiative in each Siemens business unit.

Siemens projects include a wide range of products, solutions, and service deliveries. More than 50% of the overall Siemens turnover is based on project business. Each company-wide approach to project management must be applicable to product engineering and development as well as customer delivery, installation, and commissioning projects. The same requirements are true for any maturity model evaluating and analyzing the capabilities of project management organizations.

To ensure that consistent measurement of organizational project management process maturity across all businesses, a comprehensive maturity model was needed that addressed the complexities of project management, engineering, and process management. This model also had to withstand the scrutiny of a worldwide customer base. Customers of Siemens expect a structured and transparent project management approach from the delivering business unit for complex solutions, such as power plants, complex railway transportation systems, or medical solutions. Furthermore, Siemens and its customers expect a continuous performance evaluation and improvement of processes and procedures to reduce potential risks in project delivery and to increase benefits, such as the reduction of nonconformance costs.

Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) is the organization within Siemens that is responsible for measurement and improvement of project management maturity within Siemens operating companies worldwide. To provide worldwide coverage and to establish regional expertise, Siemens CT established three regional offices in Munich, Germany, Princeton, New Jersey (part of Siemens Corporate Research), and Beijing, China.

Background and Development

OPM3® and OPM3® ProductSuite

In 2002, the Project Management Institute (PMI®) introduced the Organizational Project Management Maturity Model Knowledge Foundation (OPM3®), chartered in 1998, to help organizations translate strategy into successful outcomes, consistently and predictably (PMI, 2003, p. IX).

The systematic management of projects, programs, and portfolios in alignment with the achievement of strategic goals of the organization is defined as organizational project management. The basic idea of organizational project management is that there is a correlation between an organization's capabilities in project management, program management, and portfolio management, as well as its effectiveness in implementing strategy. The degree to which an organization practices this type of project management is referred to as its organizational project management maturity (PMI, 2003, p. XIII).

OPM3® Bridges the Gap Between Organizational Strategy and Successful Projects (PMI, 2003, p. XIV)

Exhibit 2 – OPM3® Bridges the Gap Between Organizational Strategy and Successful Projects (PMI, 2003, p. XIV)

The OPM3® Standard has three key elements (PMI, 2003, p. IX):

  • The Knowledge element describes organizational project management and organizational project management maturity. This element gives reasons why these are important and beneficial, and explains how project management maturity can be evaluated.
  • The Assessment element presents methods, processes, and procedures that can be used by each organization for self-assessment.
  • The Improvement element provides a process to organizations to move from its current maturity to an increased maturity.

It is quite comprehensible that the Knowledge element drives the Assessment element, which in turn is the key driver for the Improvement element.

Interrelationship Between Knowledge, Assessment and Improvement (PMI, 2003, p. XV)

Exhibit 3 – Interrelationship Between Knowledge, Assessment and Improvement (PMI, 2003, p. XV)

The purpose of OPM3® ProductSuite, which was released in 2006, is to provide a way to improve an organization's execution of strategy by increasing its degree of organizational project management maturity. It supports organizations to implement a comprehensive and broad-based set of organizational project management best practices through capability and outcome assessment. Furthermore, OPM3® ProductSuite helps organizations wanting to increase their organizational project management maturity to understand their current maturity and plan for improvement.

To achieve these purposes, OPM3® ProductSuite provides certification procedures for assessors and consultants, a web-based assessment, and improvement tools and methodology that allow rigorous assessment of total project management maturity, and services like a comprehensive assessment database.

To provide an organizational perspective and to include general management best practices and capabilities to promote organizational project management maturity, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) was used as a foundation of the OPM3® Standard. The OPM3® Standard serves as a foundation for OPM3® ProductSuite.

MPM Assessment Protocol

Siemens Corporate Technology has been performing process assessments since 1992. As a crucial part of the Siemens-wide project management initiative, a dedicated project management maturity assessment addressing the wide range of Siemens customer projects was introduced in 2002. To date, approximately 150 organizational assessments have been performed worldwide using this protocol.

Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI®) was chosen as the baseline process maturity model for engineering and process development best practices because its methodology, procedures, and results (for example, five different maturity levels) were accepted throughout almost all industries worldwide. Even though CMMI® has project management as one of its core process groups, best practices from the PMBOK® Guide were included in the Siemens maturity model to ensure even more thorough coverage and alignment with international standards of project management. In addition, organizational support infrastructure best practices were derived from lessons learned within Siemens and were included within the PM@Siemens model.

Benefits From Various Sources

Exhibit 4 – Benefits From Various Sources

The resulting framework was called the Maturity in Project Management (MPM) assessment protocol and is currently in its third revision. It consists of a detailed questionnaire and a Microsoft Excel-based spreadsheet application, which is used for rating purposes and which provides graphical presentations of the maturity level of each analyzed process area.

Furthermore, the spreadsheet application is used for the evaluation of the overall maturity level of the assessed organization.

Process and Sub-process Areas of MPM Assessment Protocol

Exhibit 5 – Process and Sub-process Areas of MPM Assessment Protocol

Siemens internal investigations have shown that the early phases (pre-acquisition and acquisition, including proposal development) are crucial for the successful delivery of the project. This is the main reason why the MPM assessment protocol includes a sub-process area, “Project Acquisition,” which takes all aspects of business development, customer relationship management, and offer preparation and bidding into consideration.

Furthermore, the MPM assessment protocol considers the appropriateness of used project management and other procedures in regard to the complexity of the delivery project. For example, it is obvious that a power plant project has quite different requirements for risk and quality management than a project for the installation of a private automatic branch exchange solution.

With the launch of the Organizational Project Management Maturity Model Knowledge Foundation (OPM3®) in 2003, the concept of incorporating an internationally accepted organizational project management best practice model into the MPM protocol was envisioned. OPM3® not only included the domain of project management processes, it also included organizational enablers that paralleled many of the organizational infrastructure concerns that existed at Siemens. OPM3® also enabled the ability to consolidate the three domains of project, program, and portfolio management into one tool. Further, with the launch of OPM3® ProductSuite in 2006, the architecture of the tool enhanced the ability to draw on the usefulness of the OPM3® Standard and directly align the OPM3® best practices with MPM.

Since PMI Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification is an important part of Siemens project management professional development criteria in many regions, alignment with OPM3® enables direct leverage of that knowledge base in providing project management process models and maturity improvement recommendations that are accepted and understood by both Siemens and our customers.

Comparison of OPM3® ProductSuite and MPM Assessment Protocol

An internal comparison and review project of the OPM3® Standard was initiated by Siemens Corporate Technology and executed in 2004 and 2007.

The following areas were considered:

  • Construct
    • Initialize, Plan, Execute, Control and Close-out (IPECC)
    • Standardize, Measure, Control, Improve (SMCI)
    • Domains
  • Best practices
    • Project, Program, Portfolio (PPP)
    • Organizational Enablers (OE)
  • Self-Assessment Module (SAM)
    • Usefulness as a self assessment tool
    • Comparison with MPM Assessment tool

The OPM3® ProductSuite is currently still being evaluated.


Both the OPM3® Standard and the MPM Assessment Protocol use specific questionnaires to gather detailed background information of the organization by using interview techniques. Both standards have a tool environment (web-based for the OPM3® Standard and Microsoft Excel-based for MPM Assessment) that is used for the evaluation and calculation of the organization's maturity level, and for documentation purposes.

The MPM Assessment Protocol and the OPM3® Standard require experienced assessors with mature project management and consulting competences to deliver the best benefit for the assessed organization, especially for low-maturity organizations. The assessors should have sound background experience in the business and market that the assessed organization is acting in.

At the moment, the current version of OPM3® does not include updated PMBOK® Guide (Third Edition) Program and Portfolio standards.

Inputs and Outputs

The scope of MPM Assessments in OPM3® terms is Project Management Domain and Organizational Enablers.

One of the results of the comparison project was that a large number of sub-process areas of the MPM Assessment Protocol had a significant alignment with OPM3® Standard.

Sub-process Areas of MPM with OPM3® Standard Alignment

Exhibit 6 – Sub-process Areas of MPM with OPM3® Standard Alignment

In the MPM process area Project Management, there were no substantial difference identified between best practices of OPM3® Standard and MPM Assessment. Concerning Organizational Enablers (OE), it would be helpful and beneficial if some more Siemens-specific enablers were addressed.

In Engineering, the OPM3® Standard supports Project Acquisition and Project Closeout. Whereas System Engineering, Installation and Test areas are not strongly aligned to the OPM3® Standard, they are supportive.

The Process Management process area is substantially aligned with the SMCI process maturity model of OPM3®.

Experiences from Assessments Done with OPM3® ProductSuite and MPM Assessment Protocol Benefits


During our assessment projects, the following benefits of the conjoint utilization of OPM3® ProductSuite and MPM Assessment Protocol were identified:

  • PMI standards, best practices, and maturity stages are globally recognized by both Siemens and by many of our customers.
  • The PMBOK® Guide is an ANSI standard. PMI is a member on the ANSI council.
  • OPM3® reinforces Siemens MPM best practices.
  • PMI PMP® certification, best practices, and training at Siemens align with the OPM3® maturity model – they share the same message.
  • PMI standard processes (inputs, tools/techniques, outputs) and the MPM assessment protocol can be adapted to a diverse set of organizations by a competent staff.
  • Best practices with constituent capabilities and outcomes are defined in OPM3® and can be readily used in improvement planning.
  • SMCI core capabilities directly support process management maturity and enable process improvement methodologies (for example, Six Sigma).
  • OPM3® enables scalability to the measurement of program and portfolio management maturity.
  • There is the potential for reduced internal burden of maintaining the maturity model.
  • There is benchmarking capability as data becomes available.


Based on the experiences drawn from the use of OPM3® ProductSuite and MPM Assessment Protocol, we can comment as follows:

  • OPM3® ProductSuite enables better understanding of the standard.
  • Organizational Enablers (OEs) do not capture all organizationally specific concerns and must be manually integrated into the methodology.
  • Linkage to best practices in industry-specific extensions to the PMBOK® Guide is desirable (such as Construction Extension).
  • Best practices in Engineering (such as requirements management, system engineering, requirements tracking, integration and test, and project installation and commissioning) are not addressed. It should be double-checked as to whether CMMI® could be used for handling overlaps.
  • In some regions, there is alignment with other professional project management standards organizations (such as APM and IPMA). However, PMI best practices are generally recognized and accepted.

Next Steps

Siemens Corporate Technology has decided to define the following action items:

  • OPM3® Standard and OPM3® ProductSuite is currently being used in conjunction with Siemens MPM assessments mostly in the US.
  • OPM3® 2008 Update will enhance program and portfolio management assessment capabilities and will be considered a core standard candidate for the next generation Siemens maturity model (MPM = OPM3® + Siemens best practices + CMMI®).
  • OPM3® ProductSuite is under evaluation for use as an organizational project management maturity assessment platform.


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

Siemens. (2006). Global project management. Best performance around the world. Erlangen, Germany: Siemens AG, Power Transmission and Distribution.

© 2008, Alf Mittelstaedt
Originally published as a part of 2008 PMI Global Congress Proceedings – Malta



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