P3O® (Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices)

The basics

P3O® (Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices) is a decision enabling/delivery-support model for all business change within an organization, typically providing support through a Portfolio Office, a Programme Management Office, a Project Support Office or any combination of these delivery support functions.



P3O (Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices) was first published in 2008 and is now owned by AXELOS. The latest edtion is the 2013 Edition.


P3O offers guidance for setting up and running support offices, for all levels of change within an organization. It offers advice to organizations on current best practice thinking about what previously was referred to as PSO (Programme or Project Support Office) or PMO (Programme or Project Management Office).


The main functions of a P3O/ PMO in an organization are to facilitate:

•   Informing senior management’s decision-making on prioritization, risk management and development of resources across the organization to successfully deliver their business objectives (portfolio management)

•   Identification and realization of outcomes and benefits through programmes and projects

•   Delivery of programmes and projects within time, cost, quality and other organizational constraints


As a decision-enabling/delivery support model, P3O may be a single permanent office, e.g. Portfolio Office (strategically focused), a Strategy or Business Planning Unit, a Centre of Excellence, or an Enterprise/Corporate Programme Office. It may also be a linked set of offices e.g. Portfolio Office,

Programme Offices and Project Offices; or it may be a permanent or temporary mix of central and localized services.


Target audience

Portfolio managers, senior managers, programme directors, consultants, portfolio-, programme- or project office managers who are involved in, or responsible for, optimizing, developing or re-energizing the organizational decision process to translate business strategy effectively into concrete actions, programmes or projects.

Scope and constraints

The scope of the method is the support structures and processes around strategic change initiatives and their delivery via programmes and projects within organizations.


P3O is part of the Best Management Practice methods owned by AXELOS. This means it is fully aligned with PRINCE2®, MSP® and MoP®.


The P3O guidance claims that the method can significantly increase an organization’s chances of successfully delivering its strategy, reducing the number of benefits not delivered and delivering programmes and projects more cost effectively. The approach is fairly new and not yet widely adopted.