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Tuesday, 27 July 2010 05:34

the P3O Practitioner certificate

Written by  Simon Buehring
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What is P3O? Project, Programme and Portfolio Office is the support office established to enable management of projects and programmes within an effective portfolio throughout a business or an organisation. The P3O training-course provides essential guidance for any individual involved in setting up project/programme management structures or a project and programme management support function within an organisation. Learning to organise and develop a range of projects and programmes for various purposes – business change, maintaining high quality standards, improving a service, developing new products, installing excellent training programs – is an essential component in the skill-set of the professional programme manager and business leader.

P3O (project, programme and portfolio management office) is the best practice management methodology developed by the OGC as an extension of the earlier project management and programme management guidelines (PRINCE2 project management, MSP programme management). It is compatible with both methodologies, as well as with the ITIL (IT service management) best practice guidelines.

In fact, not only is P3O compatible with these earlier methodologies, but by synthesising the knowledge, skills and organisational structures established through the more foundational management methodologies, it facilitates the consistent and effective application of these methodologies at every level of the organisation. Without an efficient support office for project and programme management, the project managers and programme managers are effectively lost at sea.

P3O Qualifications

The P3O Foundation certificate has been available since 2008, through the APM Group. Following accredited P3O training-course, P3O students are examined in the structures, roles and responsibilities of the P3O body of knowledge, and are tested in their ability to apply this knowledge to real-life business situations.

More recently, the APMG launched their long-awaited P3O Practitioner qualification. In January 2010 Richard Pharro, CEO of the APM Group, explained the rationale behind this new, higher-level certificate:

\"Since the launch of the method we have seen great interest in P3O and we are pleased to support people who want to demonstrate their understanding of P3O with a recognised, professional qualification. This should further underpin the value their organisation will get from adopting P3O\"

Whereas the P3O foundation-level qualification is ideal for those working with or in a Project, Programme and Portfolio Office structure, P3O Practitioner is designed for those responsible for setting up, managing, or improving a P3O structure.

P3O Practitioner Exam

Like the PRINCE2 and MSP practitioner examinations, the P3O practitioner exam is an objective-test style paper. P3O exam candidates have 135 minutes to answer 7 questions that test their understanding of when, how and why a P3O model becomes suitable for an organisation, the functions and techniques developed within the P3O guidance, and the value and strengths of the various P3O models.

What does this mean for you?

P3O is the next step after PRINCE2 and MSP in the development of management methodologies for more efficient business practice. This does not mean, however, that P3O can wait until the PRINCE2 and MSP management structures are running perfectly. Without a support office geared specifically to enable project management and programme management within an organisation, not only will your projects and programmes be hindered by the lack of a coherent framework for management, but those that do succeed may not fulfill your actual business needs. A solid P3O-modelled support office is the key to organising project- and programme-related activities on any large or long-term scale.


Simon Buehring is a project manager, consultant and trainer. He works for KnowledgeTrain which offers P3O training courses in the UK and overseas. He can be contacted via the knowledge train website.

Read 3841 times Last modified on Tuesday, 27 July 2010 13:01
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