Alexander and the Indian King: Part 4



By John Schlichter

Georgia, USA




PMI’s decisions regarding OPM3’s Capability Statements and subsequent standards pertaining to OPM degraded PMI’s ability to achieve its purpose and set the stage for a new level of commercialism, which is explained in empathy episode #6, the culmination of all previous empathy episodes: the cru de ta. The episodes leading up to this one demonstrated PMI’s logic, which has conflated advocacy for project managers with expanding commercial endeavors associated with professional services for organizations that implement strategies through projects, e.g. ProductSuite and HSI. This conflation appears to have resulted in gaps between PMI’s current strategy and its execution, which PMI has not clarified adequately despite repeated requests for answers (which creates the risk of a fallacy of ambiguity, reification, or hypostatization). I have tried and failed repeatedly to obtain answers from PMI that would mitigate this risk.

My firm, OPM Experts LLC, abandoned OPM3 when PMI bought HSI, and we developed a proprietary model to replace OPM3, which is the Strategy Implementation Maturity Protocol for Learning Enterprises (SIMPLE®). From the first day OPM Experts began marketing SIMPLE® in 2016, the firm has used the image of a maze with a vivid red arrow cutting through it as the only image to brand the offering (Figure 4). Soon thereafter, despite the PMI BOD’s apparent strategy to pivot away from organizational consulting and back to helping individual practitioners of project management demonstrate their professionalism individually, PMI launched a marketing campaign in the latter part of 2017 called the “Brightline Initiative” designed to “generate interest in and demand for project management capability within organizations.” PMI’s Brightline website emphasized “smart simplicity” as a key principle of its campaign and used the image of a maze with a bright line cutting through it to convey this idea.

Indeed, Brightline’s lead consultant narrated a video rendering of a bright arrow cutting through a maze to bridge the gap between strategy design and execution, emphasizing the word “Brightline” in punctuated plosives suggesting the “Brightline” brand’s derivation from an image of this vivid arrow cutting through a maze. In effect, OPM Experts LLC, widely known for having led the creation of OPM3 and for being a leading provider of maturity assessments and capability development programs pertaining to bridging the gap between strategy design and strategy execution, created an alternative to OPM3 that emphasizes simplifying strategy implementation in smart ways and branded that with a bright line cutting through a maze, and immediately thereafter, PMI did precisely the same thing. I know great minds think alike, but naturally I had some concerns.

Figure 4: Before PMI created Brightline and began marketing the need to simplify strategy implementation, which was a message PMI paired with the image of a bright line cutting through a maze, OPM Experts LLC had already launched SIMPLE© to propose simplifying strategy implementation, using the image of a bright red line cutting through a maze.

PMI’s officials and the consultants PMI had hired to carry out the Brightline Initiative appeared to me at first to present Brightline and PMI discretely, framing Brightline as its own thing though Brightline was conceived by PMI and funded by PMI to advance PMI’s interests. Many people were shocked to learn Brightline was a PMI action when I began telling them so as I wrote this article, but PMI’s corporate communications about Brightline have since improved on the specific point of clarifying the relationship between PMI and Brightline. At the bottom of the “About” page on the Brightline website, PMI has stated clearly that the Brightline Initiative is led by PMI. Overall, this appears to have been a rebranding effort, paving the way for PMI to embark on various sorts of commercialism, including some varieties PMI has tried before and other varieties that are unprecedented in PMI’s history (per Figure 5).


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How to cite this article: Schlichter, J.  (2019). Alexander and the Indian King: Part 4; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VIII, September. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/pmwj85-Sep2019-Schlichter-Alexander-and-the-Indian-King-Part4-1.pdf



About the Author

John Schlichter

Atlanta, GA, USA




John Schlichter coined the term “Organizational Project Management” or “OPM,” which is the system for implementing the business strategy of an organization through projects. OPM became a global standard and is how companies throughout the world deliver projects valued in billions if not trillions of dollars. “John has contributed greatly to PMI,” Greg Balestrero, CEO, PMI Today, 2002. “In John’s role as the leader of PMI’s OPM3 program, he has immeasurably contributed to the growth of the profession,” Becky Winston, J.D., Chair of the Board of Directors, PMI Today, 2002. Having created OPM3© (an international standard in project, program, and portfolio management), John founded OPM Experts LLC, a firm delivering OPM solutions and a leading provider of maturity assessment services. Industry classifications: NAICS 541618 Other Management Consulting and NAICS 611430 Training. John is a member of the adjunct faculty of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

John can be contacted at jschlichter@opmexperts.com or frank.john.schlichter.iii@emory.edu.

To view more works by John Schlichter, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/john-schlichter/