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Portfolio, Programme and Project (P3O®) Offices study guide mind map by Mind Map: Portfolio, Programme and Project
(P3O®) Offices study guide mind
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Portfolio, Programme and Project (P3O®) Offices study guide mind map

P3O® is a registered trademark of AXELOS Limited. P3O® logo courtesy of the AXELOS Limited. Trademarks are properties of the holders, who are not affiliated with mind map author.

P3O® - standard, framework, model and body of knowledge (not methodology or mthod) for general (not industry specific e.g. IT) Project, Programme, Portfolio Offices. P3O® provides a decision enabling/delivery support structure for all change within an organisation. P3O® is one of the 12 recognized globally and practically proven management standards from AXELOS® Global Best Practice family of UK standards.

P3O® v1 was published in 28.10.2008.

P3O® v2 was published in 2013.

How P3O® fits into AXELOS® Global Best Practices family of UK standards.

P3O® in AXELOS® Global Best Practices family

AXELOS® Global Best Practices family of standards from UK.

PRINCE2® Agile, see PRINCE2® Agile mind map

ITIL®, see ITIL® mind map

M_o_R® - Management of Risk, see M_o_R® mind map

MoV® - Management of Value, see MoV® mind map

MoP® - Management of Portfolios, see MoP® mind map

MSP® - Managing Successful Programmes, see MSP® mind map

PRINCE2® - PRojects IN Changing Environments, see PRINCE2® mind map

P3O® - Portfolio, Programme and Project Office, see P3O® mind map

yet remember - "In reality there are no such things as best practices. There are only practices that are good within a certain context."

Since 2000 the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), former owner of PRINCE2® (and other Best Management Practices) has been the custodian of the portfolio on behalf of UKG. In June 2010 as a result of UKG reorganisation the Minister for the Cabinet Office announced that the PRINCE2® functions have moved into Cabinet Office.

AXELOS are a new joint venture company, created by the Cabinet Office on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) in the United Kingdom and Capita plc to run the Best Management Practice portfolio, now called AXELOS Global Best Practice

P3O® consists of: 6 Principles, 5 Models, 6 Definition Activities (simply process), 21 Roles, 11 Techniques.

P3O® Principles for Extracting Value (6)

What are principles?

Principles are universally applicable statements., Principles are generic principles - the way in which they are applied must be tailored to suit the organizational circumstances, whilst ensuring the underlying rationale is maintained., Prainciples are the common, universal and high-level factors that underpin success., They provide guidance to organizations., They guide the organization on what to aim for.

1. Govern Effectively

Ensure correct governance, e.g. ensure that each Project has a correctly functioning Project Board as its decision authority. Ensure that timely and accurate data is collected to support decision making.

Supporting SROs and Senior Management.

Ensuring issues, risks and changes escalated to right level.

Providing Stage Gate Review coordination and assurance.

Collecting complete, timely and accurate data.

Amalgamating & analysing data to enable quality decision making.

P3O® can help by:, Providing support to senior management, Supporting governance: making sure that issues, risks and changes are escalated to the right level of authority., Making sure that accurate and timely data is collected to enable quality decision making

2. Hold people to account

Ensure correct governance, e.g. ensure that each Project has a correctly functioning Project Board as its decision authority. Ensure that timely and accurate data is collected to support decision making.

Providing standard role descriptions and Terms of References (ToRs) for boards.

Providing support, coaching and training for all levels of role.

Providing decision support to Senior Management (analysis of options and consequences).

Ensuring right decisions escalated to the right people.

P3O® can help by:, Providing senior managers with decision support - analyzing options and consequences, Providing support, coaching and training to all levels of role, Providing standard role descriptions and terms of reference for project and programme boards

3. Prioritise investment, align and adjust to business strategy

Prioritise all business change and ensure a balanced portfolio which is aligned to strategy, but also supports mandatory changes (e.g. regulatory or “must do” maintenance projects).

Providing decision support to Senior Management (analysis of options and consequences).

Maintaining portfolio register of all programmes and projects (including ideas in ‘the pipeline’).

Facilitating & supporting pre-programme and pre-project scoping workshops.

Providing ‘fast-track’ mobilisation service ensuring scope & plans are aligned to strategic and BAU priorities.

Maintaining awareness of upcoming strategy changes, business issues, delayed decisions and their impact.

P3O® can help by:, Maintaining a register of all programmes and projects in teh portfolio, including ideas in the pipeline, Facilitating pre-programme and project scoping workshops, Supporting risk identification workshops across the portfolio, Scanning the business horizon for upcoming changes to strategy, business issues or delays and analyze the probability and impract of risks on the portfolio

4. Safeguard value

Ensure all investments have a business case. Maintain a focus on benefits e.g. ensure that every Programme measures benefits using a robust and usable process.

Supporting the Business Case process.

Providing benefits tracking service to programmes and projects.

Ensuring a robust and useable measurement process.

Ensuring benefits aren’t double-counted.

P3O® can help by:, Supporting the business case process, Providing a benefits tracking process to business owners, Helping to identify potential opportunities to be realized, exploited or enhanced as part of risk analysis

5. Invest in people and process

Use best practice approaches to P3, such as PRINCE2®, MSP® and MoP®. Develop training and coaching. Measure organisational P3 maturity.

Developing tailored approaches based on Cabinet Office guidance.

Developing training, coaching & mentoring approaches for all P3RM roles.

Advising on skills and capability assessments and training plans (using Cabinet Office P3RM Skills model).

P3O® can help by:, Developing training, coaching and mentoring for all roles, Advising on skills and capability assessments

6. Track progress through highlight and exception based reporting

Ensure management time is used appropriately, by using management by exception. Focus on key risks and issues by using management dashboards and highlight reports.

Providing reporting and exception management service for all levels.

Developing management dashboards.

Ensuring data collection processes operate correctly.

P3O® can help by:, Providing a reporting and exception management service from project to portfolio level, Developing management dashboards to engage senior managers on key risks, issues and progress

P3O® Models (5)

Model are not to be used "as it is".

As a name model suggests, models must by tailored to specific organization requirements and capabilities.

P3O® Model

May be a single permanent office

May be through a linked set of offices

P3O® means “Offices” for P3. The Centre of Excellence (CoE) also known as Centre of Competence is a special type of office.

Portfolio Office, A permanent structure to support the management of an organisation’s projects and programmes., Includes the investment process, strategic alignment, prioritisation, progress tracking and the monitoring of benefit realisation., Focus on change., Establish structures for programme / project selection., Ensure alignment with strategic objectives / targets., Assess organisational capability / capacity / maturity., Allocate appropriate resources to programmes / projects., Ensure scrutiny and challenge., Identify / manage dependencies between programmes & projects., Resolve resourcing conflicts., Assist identification of threats / opportunities and evaluation of aggregate risks., Monitor progress & ensure successful delivery of programmes & projects., Adopt value management., Ensure portfolio balance to minimise disruption to BAU., Achieve VFM savings and efficiency gains from programmes and project rationalisation., Link benefits of change to the performance management structure., Ensure investment in R&D activities for long-term organisation survival., Length, Permanent Office

Programme Office, The function providing the information hub and standards custodian for a programme and its delivery objectives. Normally temporary., Can exist as a permanent office to provide support for more than one programme., Length, Permanent or Temporary Office

Project Office, A temporary office set up to support the delivery of a specific change initiative being delivered as a project., If used, the project office undertakes the PRINCE2® role of Project Support., Provide support to the Project Manager and Board with:, Planning, Risk management, Issue resolution, Change management, ..., May act as Information Librarian, Length, Temporary Office

Centre of Excellence (CoE) / Centre of Competence, Watch: Centers of Excellence - Latte experience of P3O® from CC Learning (by Elissa Farrow), Provides standards, consistency of methods and processes, knowledge management and training., Its scope depends on the P3O® model, and will cover all or some of P3 (portfolios, programmes and/or projects)., It may provide standards, consistency of methods and processes, knowledge management, assurance and training., It may also provide strategic oversight, scrutiny and challenge across an organization’s portfolio of programmes and projects., It may be a function within a wider scope of P3O® or may be the only function of a P3O®., This function provides a focal point for driving the implementation of improvements to increase the organization’s capability and capacity in programme and project delivery., Methods, Skills, Knowledge Management

In general there is NO clear model or template for a PMO.

Organization Portfolio Office Model

Permanent office set up to support the definition and delivery of a portfolio of change across the entire organization or enterprise

Single permanent organization level office.

Temporary programme and project offices set up for new initiatives.

Focused on:, Strategic portfolio support., Planning., Delivery support., CoE functions.

Hub and Spoke Model

Large organization model.

Multiple decentralised permanent hub portfolio offices.

Focused on:

Temporary Office Model

No permanent office exists.

Set up to support a new initiative and may be a team for a large programme or a single person supporting a Programme or Project Manager.

Temporary programme and project offices (or individuals with support skills) set up for new initiatives., Only exist for the life of the delivery of the programme or project and they may be staffed from a central flexible resource pool or use locally sourced people who follow standards set by the Centre of Excellence.

Focused on:

Virtual Office Model

No physical central office.

Functions carried out by business or functional units.

Focused on:

Small Organization Model

Very small office.

Even single individual.

Focused on:

Large organization P3O Model

Mature P3O® models provide:

Governance, Supporting governance (including structures and accountabilities) through scrutiny and challenge, ensuring return on investment through effective management of delivery and risk, Establishing decision enablement rules, Ensuring information is appropriately escalated and cascaded

Transparency, Relevant, accurate and timely information (single source) to support decision-making

Delivery support, Ensuring programme, project managers and operational business managers do things right (competency and skills) and do them well (assurance), reducing bureaucracy and encouraging consistency, Ensuring competency and skills of:, Encouraging achievement of:, Consistency, Reduced bureaucracy, Comprehensive data for decision making, Expertise and competence to advise Management Boards, Defined standards for:, Information management, Methods of working (tailored as appropriate), Tools for roll-up of information

Reusability, Embedding industry and sector best practice and sharing lessons learned

Traceability, History and documentation

P3O® Definition Activities (6)

1. Establish the implementation team

It is critical that the right mix of capabilities are in place and include the following areas (a.k.a. POTI):, Processes, Organizational, Technology, Information

2. Identify and analyse stakeholders

Stakeholder analysis, engagement strategy, communication planning:, Stakeholder analysis, A key success factor is to enthuse a champion (P3O sponsor), Effective Communication Plan, Marketing plan, Don’t just communicate once – use regular programme / project management forums

3. Refine the vision statement

Ensure that the outline Vision statement developed to start the P3O change initiative is refined to include a high-level view of the outcomes that will be achieved across, Processes, Organizational, Technology and Information (POTI) once the programme is completed.

4. Develop the P3O blueprint

The Blueprint will describe the future state of the P3O model, either to be met in a single tranche of delivery or through multiple tranches.

It should include the following sections:, Processes, Organization, Tools and Technologies, Information Flows, Operational costs and performance levels

5. Develop, model and validate the benefits

Refine Business case, develop Benefits Profiles and Benefits Management Strategy

Some of the benefit drivers which translate into Benefit Profiles that a P3O® may provide:, Improved costs savings, Improved cost avoidance, Increased strategic alignment, Increased programme and project throughput, Optimization of benefits, Improved portfolio management, Reduction in threats to the organization, Maximization of opportunities, More effective use of resources

7. Plan stages or tranches of delivery

Adopt an incremental opposed to a ‘big bang’ approach

Each P3O® initiative will have its own unique phasing to achieve a future-state P3O® operating model as defined in the Blueprint

Use P3M3 assessment to identify the largest capability gaps and senior management concerns to drive priority

Early P3O® ‘quick wins’ could fund later tranches so making P3O® evolution self-financing

Design the implementation or improvement plan with focus on early critical improvement

P3O® Roles and Responsibilities (21)

Management Roles

P3O® Sponsor, Champion and direct the establishment and evolving operation of the P3O®, Responsibilities, Provide leadership by articulating outcomes, Develop and maintain a viable business case, Work in partnerships with senior managers in business areas, Manage key strategic risks, Directs and champions the establishment and evolving operation of the P3O®

Head of P3O® (Permanent Office), Responsibilities, Establishes and runs the office.

Head of Programme or Project Office (Temporary Office), Responsibilities, Establishes and runs the temporary office.

Generic roles

Portfolio Analyst, Responsibilities, Facilitates the development and ongoing management of an optimised portfolio.

Programme or Project Specialist (Internal Consultant), Responsibilities, Promotes programme and project management methods, their roll-out and monitoring.

Programme or Project Officer (or Coordinator or Administrator), Responsibilities, Collects & maintains data in a consistent form.

Functional roles

Benefits and value, Responsibilities, Provides benefits realisation support.

Commercial, Responsibilities, Ensures that practices and decisions meet standards and offer ‘value for money’.

Communication and Stakeholder Engagement, Responsibilities, Ensures a stakeholder analysis is created and maintained., Creates Communication Plan.

Information Management, Responsibilities, Custodian of all master copies., Linked to Change Control and Issue roles.

Consultancy and Performance Management, Responsibilities, Internal consultancy and P3RM / P3M3 expertise.

Finance, Responsibilities, Timely funding for portfolio, programme or project & financial control.

Issue, Responsibilities, Processes to identify, monitor and resolve issues., Linked to Information Management and Change Control roles.

Change Control, Responsibilities, Processes to identify, monitor and deliver changes., Linked to Information Management and Issue roles.

Planning, Responsibilities, Facilitates the development and maintenance of portfolio, programme or project plan.

Quality Assurance, Responsibilities, New products or services are fit for purpose and capable of delivering the required benefits.

Resource Management, Responsibilities, Enough staff with right skills for programmes and projects used efficiently.

Risk, Responsibilities, Effective processes for PPP management, access to risk information, deals with risks.

Reporting, Responsibilities, Service to PPP, collates data and generates reports.

Secretariat / Administrator, Responsibilities, PPP administrative support.

Tools Expert, Responsibilities, Software tool expert, training and coaching to PPP.

P3O® Official publications

Copyright © AXELOS Limited.

Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices

ISBN-13: 978-0113312740

Published: 2010

Pages: 154

The most important, key position on P3O® preparing for exams Foundation and Practitioner.

P3O® Official resources

Copyright © AXELOS Limited.

P3O® sample exams, available online

P3O® Foundation,

P3O® examination syllabus

P3O® glossary



P3O® White Papers

Business Benefi ts of P3O® Implementation,

P3O® website

P3O® Tools

Tools can be used in the following ways:

Individual, e.g., Word processing, Spreadsheets., Project planning software., Only one person using the tool (usually the Project Manager), May be multiple installations across the organisation, Generally one-to-one (i.e. one business change initiative to one user)

Collaborative, e.g., Web-based portals., Applications that share information through a centralised server., Multiple people accessing single set of information through a tool, May be multiple installations across the organisation, Generally one-to-many (i.e. one business change initiative to multiple users)

Integrated, e.g., Enterprise P3RM or PPM software distributed across an entire organisation., Multiple people accessing multiple sets of information through a tool, Generally single installation across the organisation, Partitions for business change initiatives, Ability to link information hierarchically, Multiple business change-to-multiple users

8 Key strategic benefits of Using Tools & Techniques

1. Automation of Business Processes.

2. Improved Compliance to Business Processes.

3. Improved Timeliness of Decision Support Information.

4. Improved quality of decision support information.

5. Improved decision making.

6. Improved management across geography.

7. Improved staff competencies.

8. Rationalisation of legacy systems..

P3O® Tools (divided by categories)

Organization, Skill Assessment Matrix, Computer based training, Project Management, Programme Management, Risk Management, Organization Change, HR software with:, Accountability mapping software, Roles and responsibilities, EPM software with:, Resource types, Governance, Workflow, Control and Approvals

Portfolio Management Approach, Strategic planning software, Business planning software, Portfolio Registers, EPM software with:, Portfolio schedule and planning, Portfolio categorization, Portfolio prioritisation, Portfolio segmentation, Portfolio tracking, Portfolio review and optimization, Asset or application portfolio management

Leadership and Stakeholder Engagement, Corporate Intranet, EPM software with:, Governance, Project Portal, Collaboration, Survey software, Email applications, Stakeholder Registers

Benefits Realization Management, Performance Management software, Business Intelligence (BI) software, EPM software with:, Benefits Management, Design / Enterprise Architecture tools with:, Business Process Modelling (BPM), Business Process Modelling (BPM) software

Blueprint Design and Delivery, Information Management, Enterprise or Systems architecture software, Configuration Management software, Design / Enterprise Architecture software

Planning and Control, Plans, Control, Simple calendar planners, Project Management software, EPM software with:, Planning and Scheduling, Resource Management, Financial Management, Reporting, Forecastizg, Scenario Analysis, Capacity Planning, Timesheeting and Expenses

Business Case, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) software, EPM software with:, Proposal Management, Business case Management

Risk Management, Issue Management, Change Control, Risk Registers, Risk Analysis Tools such as (PERT, Monte Carlo, Event Chaining), Risk Management Systems, EPM software with:, Risk Management, Issue Resolution, Change Control, Design / Enterprise Architecture tools with:, Change Control

Quality Management, Quality in a Project Environment, Information or Document Management software, EPM software with:, Configuration Management, Document Management, Version Control, Design / Enterprise Architecture tools with:, Configuration Management, Traceability Management, Requirements Management

Integrated PPM, MSP® Transformational Flows, PRINCE2® Processes, Business Process Modelling software, EPM software with:, Workflow Management, Standard template repositories, Project Management Guides, Knowledge Management Applications with:, Lessons learned, Case Studies, Best Practice samples, Contract Management software, Estimation software

P3O® Techniques (11)

Project Complexity Modelling

goal, To provide the appropriate level of governance to the project or programme once the complexity has been determined.

Management Dashboards

goal, Key decision support information across a portfolio.

Knowledge Management

P3O® Information Portal

goal, Easy access to PPP / PPM information by the P3RM community.

Facilitated Workshops

goals (selected), Brainstorm options and consider options for the programme or project solution., Involves identifying the planned benefits and then determining the dependency network for the identified benefits.

Skills Development & Maintenance

goal, Ensure that the appropriate competencies are available across the organisation to match against project, programme or portfolio requirements.

Business Process Swimlanes

goal, Document standard and repeatable business processes with appropriate linkages and agreed accountabilities.

Capacity Planning for Resource Management

goal, To understand the resource capacity and competency supply and demand levels.

Assurance, Gated Reviews and Healthchecks

goal, To check the quality of the decision support information being provided to the P3O® for amalgamated reporting., To ensure that programmes and projects remain on track to deliver to plans and realize benefits.

Tailoring of Approaches

goal, To ensure that the proposed project or programme is objectively assessed so that the governance path and requirements subsequently applied to a project or programme are fit-for-purpose.

Portfolio Prioritization and Optimization

goal, Determines where investment should be directed.

Basic Definitions (according to AXELOS®)

Portfolios / Programme / Project Management

Portfolio Management, A coordinated collection of strategic processes and decisions that together enable the most effective balance of organizational change and business as usual (BAU).

Programme Management, The action of carrying out the coordinated organization, direction and implementation of a dossier of projects and transformation activities to achieve outcomes and realize benefits of strategic importance to the business.

Project Management, The planning, delegating, monitoring and control of all aspects of the project, and the motivation of those involved, to achieve the project objectives within the expected performance targets for time, cost, quality, scope, benefits and risks.

Project / Programme / Portfolios

Portfolio, An organization’s change portfolio is the totality of its investment (or segment thereof) in the changes required to achieve its strategic objectives.

Programme, A programme is a temporary, flexible organization created to coordinate, direct and oversee the implementation of a set of related projects and activities in order to deliver outcomes and benefits related to the organization’s strategic objectives., 3 types of programmes, Vision-led programme, Emergent programme, Compliance programme

Project, A temporary organization, usually existing for a much shorter time than a programme, which will deliver one or more outputs in accordance with a specific business case., A particular project may or may not be part of a programme., Whereas programmes deal with outcomes, projects deal with outputs., 5 types of projects, Compulsory project, Not-for-profit project, Evolving (Agile, RUP) project, Customer/supplier project, Multi-organization project

Output, Capability, Outcome, Benefits

Output, The deliverable, or output developed by a project from a planned activity. Any project's specialists products. (tangible or intangible), e.g., A new just-in-time stock control system, A new IT system, Staff training programme, Revised process

Capability, The completed set of project outputs required to deliver an outcome; exists prior to transition., e.g., The combination of the outputs ready to ’go live’.

Outcome, A new operational state achieved after transition of the capability into live operations. Result of the change derived fron USING the project's outputs., e.g., The right materials are available, at the right time, and in the right place

Benefit, The MEASURABLE improvement resulting from an OUTCOME perceived as an ADVANTAGE by ONE or MORE of stakeholders, which contributes towards one or more organizational objectives(s)., e.g., Fewer stock-outs and consequent interruptions to production., Reduced obsolescent stock and hence lower write-offs., Reduced stock holdings and so less working capital tied up.

Dis-benefit, An outcome perceived as NEGATIVE by ONE or MORE stakeholders. Dis-benefits are actual consequences not risks.


The decision-enabling and support business model for all business change within an organization. This will include single or multiple physical or virtual structures, i.e. offices (permanent and/or temporary), providing a mix of central and localized functions and services, and integration with governance arrangements and the wider business such as other corporate support functions.

Interactive P3O® Glossary

Interactive P3O® Glossary

This freeware, non-commercial mind map (aligned with the newest version of P3O®) was carefully hand crafted with passion and love for learning and constant improvement as well for promotion the standard, model and framework P3O® and as a learning tool for candidates wanting to gain P3O® qualification. (please share, like and give feedback - your feedback and comments are my main motivation for further elaboration. THX!)

Questions / issues / errors? What do you think about my work? Your comments are highly appreciated. Please don't hesitate to contact me for :-) Mirosław Dąbrowski, Poland/Warsaw.


Watch: P3O®: The Big Picture (by Patrick Mayfield)

Watch: Benefits of P3O® for individuals (by Harold Petersen)

P3O® KPIs (examples)

Reduced benefits loss, % increase in actual portfolio benefits delivered (rather than planned benefits).

Fewer programmes and projects started for the wrong reasons - number of projects stopped.

Organisational P3RM Maturity level of 3 (or more) by target date.

Predictability of delivery - % increase in number of programmes and projects delivering to time.

Predictability of cost - % decrease in cost overruns on programmes and projects.

Reduction in overall resource costs to deliver the portfolio.

Reduced staff turnover and subsequent reduction in recruitment and training costs.

Happy scale - increased customer satisfaction scores.

Reduced number of programmes and projects scoring amber or red on gated reviews.

Increased overall P3RM skills score of programme and project management community.