P3O® Frequently Asked Questions

What is P3O?

Portfolio Programme and Project Offices (P3O) is the latest guidance from AXELOS Limited, part of its Best Management Practice suite. A P3O model provides a decision enabling/delivery support structure for all change initiatives within an organisation. This may be provided through a single permanent office which may exist under several different names e.g., Portfolio Office, Centre of Excellence, Enterprise or Corporate Programme Office. It may otherwise be provided through a linked set of offices (portfolio office, programme offices, project offices), both permanent (enabling / supporting business objectives and consistency of delivery) and temporary (enabling / supporting specific programmes and projects), providing a mix of central and localised services.

P3O aims to:

  • provide industry referenced standards
  • provide a framework of best practice principles and concepts drawn from latest experiences and proven practice
  • enable practitioners to adapt the guidance to real life situations
  • be accessible by teams and organisations as well as by individual practitioners.
  • help practitioners improve their decision making and to become better at implementing beneficial change
  • enable individuals to demonstrate their level of knowledge and understanding of the each product by obtaining a globally recognised qualification.

What are the benefits of using P3O?

  • There are no fees or charges to use P3O
  • It is an internationally recognised framework for assisting organisational control over portfolios, programmes and projects
  • It provides a model for support offices that distributes responsibilities to the right levels of management
  • It provides a structured organisational framework
  • It supports control and direction at appropriate levels of authority
  • It provides a consistent, methodical and controlled approach to provision of centre of excellence functions, and portfolio, programme and project support functions
  • It is a flexible approach that can be tailored to suit the scale and complexity of any organisation
  • It encapsulates Good Practice in P3Os, and is refreshed every three or four years.

Do I/we need P3O?

Let us answer this question by asking you?

  • Do you need to provide support for a project, programme or portfolio, but don’t know where to start or how to justify it?
  • Are you unsure how to integrate the various support functions that may already exist in your organisation?
  • Do you need a ‘Centre of Excellence’ but don’t know how it fits with your organisation’s programmes and projects?
  • Do you know the differences between a permanent support office and a temporary support office?
  • Are you unsure about what functions and tools might provide early value?
  • Do you understand the close relationship between organisational management maturity and the nature of functions and tools that might work at this level?  Are you aware that some possible functions and tools that might be provided by a P3O may be counter-productive in a low-maturity organisation?
  • Are you able to justify the establishment or rejuvenation of a P3O?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions then you will benefit from the use of P3O.

What is an Accredited Training Organisation (ATO)

Only ATOs can offer accredited training in P3O.


All P3O Accredited Training Organisations are required to undergo a rigorous accreditation process to ensure that the quality of training materials and trainers is in keeping with P3O requirements as defined by APM Group. Course materials are regularly reviewed and re-assessed by APMG approved assessors.


All Goal trainers have undergone the P3O Trainer accreditation procedure. This involved successfully passing the Practitioner Examination at Trainer level, and undergoing an assessment by an P3O Assessor appointed by the international accreditation body for P3O, the Association for Project Management Group (APM Group). All P3O trainers are assessed every year and re-accredited every three years.

Where do I go if I still require further information?

Also here are some other key contacts on the Web:

APMG Australasia

Please contact APMG Australasia to arrange this on (02) 6249 6008, email them at accreditations@apmg-australasia.com or visit their website www.apmg-australasia.com.

APM Group

The accreditation body for P3O worldwide, they look after accreditation, exams and licensing of P3O. Telephone: +44 (0)1494 452 450 or visit their Web site at www.apmgroup.co.uk.


The Stationery Office publishes the P3O Manual and other supporting documents. They can be contacted at www.tso.co.uk.

P3O® is a Registered Trade Mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.