With the ever-increasing pressure to introduce change, organisations need to know how to deliver organisational change via projects and programmes in the most efficient and effective way as well as being confident these change initiatives are the right ones to deliver the strategic goals. A P3O® model provides a decision enabling and delivery support structure to deliver all change within an organisation, whether large or small.

The P3O guidance - aligned to other Cabinet Office Best Management Practice publications such as PRINCE2®, MSP®, M_o_R®, MoV® and MoP® - brings together in one place a set of principles, processes and techniques to facilitate effective portfolio, programme and project management.

This five-day combined Foundation and Practitioner course focuses on the concepts, structures and duties of a Portfolio, Programme and Project Office (P3O).

The purpose of the Foundation qualification is to confirm that you have sufficient knowledge and understanding of the P3O guidance to interact effectively with, or act as an informed member of, an office within a P3O model. The Foundation qualification is a pre-requisite for the practitioner qualification. The Foundation exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions to be answered in 40 minutes. It is a closed-book examination on the third afternoon of the course and has a pass mark of 60%.

The purpose of the Practitioner qualification is to confirm that you have sufficient knowledge and understanding of the P3O guidance and are able to apply to design, implement, manage or work in any component office within a P3O model. The Practitioner exam consists of seven objective testing questions, which are to be answered in two-and-a-quarter hours. It is an open-book exam which means candidates may refer to the P3O guide. 35 correct answers of 70 available are required to be awarded a pass.

The P3O Qualification Scheme is developed by the APM Group Ltd in partnership with the Cabinet Office and The Stationery Office (TSO).

P3O Practitioner training and qualification is aimed at participants who either aspire to be or who are already fulfilling roles such as Head of Portfolio or Programme or Project Office, Portfolio Analyst, Programme or Project Specialist, Programme or Project Officer.
It is also appropriate for those who are responsible for challenging the investment in projects or programmes and want to formalise their approach to providing scrutiny, challenge and oversight of the organisational change agenda by establishing or re-energising a Portfolio, Programme and Project Office.

By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Identify the most effective P3O model to adopt to ensure strategic objectives are delivered.
  • Understand the value a P3O can offer an organisation and how it can be measured.
  • Identify the functions and services a P3O would offer.
  • The roles and responsibilities needed to effectively deliver a P3O service.
  • Explore a range of strategic analysis and portfolio modelling techniques used within a P3O
  • Understand the relationship between strategy, portfolio, programme and project management.
  • How to implement or re-energise a P3O
  • Understand the business case for a P3O and how it integrates with P3M3 (Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model).
  • Prepare for and sit the P3O Foundation and Practitioner Certificate.

This is an intensive course and delegates are recommended to complete two to six hours of pre-course reading, to include the P3O guide. You will also have approximately one hour of homework each evening during the course.

P3O Overview and Principles

  • Definitions: portfolio, programme, project; P3O sourced in Glossary; elements of high-level outline P3O model
  • Decision-support role and governance responsibilities of a P3O, including analysing effectiveness thereof
  • Characteristics of a mature P3O and differences between portfolio, programme and project offices

The Business Case for a P3O

  • Elements that support 'doing the right programmes and projects' and those that support 'doing programmes and projects right' and the differences
  • P3O value matrix
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) - including their measurement

Re-energise or Implement a P3O

  • Components of the permanent P3O model lifecycle
  • Definition stage of the permanent P3O lifecycle
  • Capability maturity, P3O tools and techniques
  • Blueprint: information flows and reporting requirement
  • Temporary versus permanent P3O model
  • Key areas of focus of a temporary Programme or Project Office

P3O Models

  • Functional areas of a P3O including skills and competences required
  • Functions and services delivered by a P3O
  • Relationships with other corporate function offices
  • Information Assurance including resource provision by P3O
  • Sizing a P3O including different model types
  • Impact of maturity on P3O implementation

Function and Services

  • Knowledge management techniques
  • Types of facilitated workshops

Tools and Techniques

  • Utilisation of tools and standard P3O techniques
  • Critical Success Factors (CSFs) for tools and techniques
  • Individual, collaborative and integrated tools
  • Objectives and benefits of: portfolio prioritisation and optimisation; management dashboards; knowledge management; information

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Management, generic and functional based P3O roles

The Foundation and Practitioner Exam


This course is accredited by PeopleCert.