The following section is no longer applicable for PMBOK v6.
You can think of this document is a long word document that has words written in a typical legal language generally agreed between two parties while getting into a business agreement. In projects, the project SOW is created by the customer or sponsor describing:
Requirements / Needs
How the project fits into the strategic plan
During the Develop project charter process, this document is still at a high level. It only gets refined and further detailed in the project scope statement during project planning.
Charter with Work Under Contract
All projects have charters. On projects where there are two parties from different organizations, both organizations would create project charters that have different points of view. One organization may focus to achieve a particular product scope while meeting project constraints. Another organization might focus on increasing revenue, enhancing reputation, or gain additional work from the buyer.
Enterprise Environmental Factors
Company cultures and existing systems are major environmental factors for any organizations. They could be environmental impediments for the progress of the project or could also be catalysts for a positive impact. These factors are constantly bothering project manager since the beginning of time. They are inputs to develop project charter or many other processes. The trick is to identify the context of these environmental factors – are they organizational impediment that the project has to deal with OR are they positive catalyzing effect that the project can make use of.
Project Management Information System (PMIS)
One of the critical parts of an organization’s environment system is its Project Management Information System (PMIS). PMIS include automated tools, such as file sharing spaces, scheduling software, analytical statistical software, process mapping software, configuration management system, a shared workspace for file storage or distribution, and other such systems.
Organizational Process Assets
Organizational Process Assets are existing processes, procedures, and historical information. They help the project benefit from past company experience. From PMP Exam perspective, it is advisable to think of these as given processes, procedures and historical information.
Historical information is a record of past projects. It is used to plan and manage future projects, thereby improving the process of project management.
Historical information can include:
Dashboards and Reports
Project Management Plans
Processes, Procedures, and Policies
Organizations develop processes, procedures, and policies that have been tested over a period of time and have proven to be best practices. Such information is key towards organizational process assets.
Corporate Knowledge Base
The creation of a corporate knowledge database of historical information and lessons learned is the responsibility of the organization. For the PMP exam, please assume that the organization has information such as historical records and lessons learned from previous projects and that the company has incorporated those records into an indexed corporate knowledge base available to all.