The Project Environment – Internal and External

the project environment internal environment and external environment - The Project Environment - Internal and External

Projects do not operate in a silo and a Project Manager shouldn’t wear a ‘blinder’ to ‘focus’ just on project outcomes. Projects are seldom a standalone endeavor. Projects exist in an environment that is much larger than itself. The environment can be classified as internal and external with varying degrees of influence (both favorable and unfavorable) on the project activities and thus the value being delivered.

Internal Environment

‘Internal’ refers to organization and not just the project. So internal environment encompasses the organization itself and the portfolios, programs and projects within the organization

  • Important factors of the internal environment,
  • Process assets – Tools, methodologies, templates, approaches, frameworks, patterns and other PMO resources
  • Governance documentation – Internal policies and processes
  • Data assets – Databases, document libraries, metrics, data and artifacts from previous projects
  • Knowledge assets – Tacit knowledge (personal and difficult to express like insights, experience and ‘know-how’) of project team members, SMEs and other employees
  • Security and safety – Procedures and practices for facility access, data protection, levels of confidentiality and proprietary secrets
  • Organizational culture, structure and governance – Vision, mission, values, beliefs, cultural norms, leadership styles, hierarchy and authority relationships, organizational style, ethics and code of conduct
  • Geographic distribution of facilities and resources – Work locations, virtual projects teams and shared systems
  • Infrastructure – Existing facilities, equipment, organizational and telecommunications channel, IT hardware availability and capacity
  • IT software – Scheduling software, configuration mgmt. systems, web interfaces to automated systems, collaboration tools and work authorization systems
  • Resource availability – Availability related to both people and materials including contracting and purchasing constraints, approved providers and subcontractors
  • Employee capability – Expertise, skills, competencies, techniques and knowledge

External Environment

External factors can enhance, constrain or have a neutral influence on project outcomes

Important factors of the external environment,

  • Marketplace conditions – Competitors, market share, brand recognition, technology trends and trademarks
  • Social and cultural influences and issues – Political climate, regional customs and traditions, public holidays and events, perceptions
  • Regulatory environment – National and regional laws and regulations related to security, data protection, business conduct, employment
  • Commercial databases – Standardized cost estimating data and industry risk study information
  • Academic research – Industry studies, publications and benchmarking results
  • Financial considerations – Currency exchange rates, interest rates, inflation, taxes and tariffs
  • Physical environment – Working conditions and weather

Check more articles on The Standard for Project Management

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