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What is P3O?

P3O®, an abbreviation for Portfolio, Programme, and Project Office, is a structural recommendation that encourages a high-level management ‘office’ that makes prominent decisions regarding the continuation and variation of projects within a portfolio. The P3O® enables executives to receive informed reports of what projects are running and how effectively they are operating, in order to make overarching portfolio decisions.

 

Devised by the Office of Government Commerce, a government entity, the P3O® guidance is designed to be versatile in order to be tailorable, regardless of business size or portfolio complexity. The framework includes guidance on:

  • Making a difference to a portfolio, programme, and project environment

  • How to utilise and maximise the value of the P3O® guidance

  • The various P3O® models

  • The constituents, techniques, and functions that comprise a portfolio office

 

P3O® is congruent with a variety of project management methodologies including PRINCE2®, MSP®, and M_o_R®, meaning that an organisation can continue to use their pre-existing ‘best industry’ project management framework. The conjoint utilisation of both a P3O® and the best-practice project management framework ensures that an organisation can comprehensively establish a standardised framework and determine the scope of each methodology in operation.

 

The term ‘office’ does not specifically delineate the presence of an administration department, it can refer to a set of interlinked departments within an organisation that oversee the strategic operations within a portfolio - the structure of the P3O® can therefore be tailored to the requirements of an individual organisation. The development of a P3O® can help to answer questions such as:

  • Are the portfolio's projects and programmes operating to full capacity?

  • Is project x really necessary and does it add business value?

  • Is a project financially viable, with an appreciation for the required resources?

  • Are the projects of an equal quality - are they consistent?

  • Are projects being managed using a common and standardised methodology?