I was travelling one evening on the train when I became aware of an ‘extended family’ sat across the aisle from me. There was a young boy travelling with his father, grandfather and great grandfather and I couldn’t help but notice how at ease in conversation; the young boy was with each of them.
He was gathering information for a history homework assignment and was initially, deep in conversation with his father, probing his knowledge about when he was growing up, ‘It wasn’t all bad’ said his father. ‘In fact, it wasn’t that bad at all – especially as a kid. Sure, we didn’t have the Internet, PlayStations or Justin Bieber. But we did have Play School, Dymo label makers and SO much more.
Having moved onto his grandfather and asking the same question, he was treated to some older words of wisdom. ‘I guess when I was growing up in the 50s life was simpler. We had one TV that got 3 stations and was black and white. We didn’t have video games to sit in front of for hours so we made our own fun and activities with friends, playing in the open air’.
His great grandfather completed with, ‘School was not an exciting place where the wonders of the world would be explained like they are today but merely somewhere to go to learn to read and write. Home life was very basic with no luxuries and money was in very short supply but our parents would manage to take us to see the acrobats and clowns when the circus came to town once a year’
I couldn’t help but think how all 3 were supporting him in pursuit of his task and I began to consider the similarity with P3O, taking guidance, assistance and support from three generations of knowledge and experience.
The P3O model overall objective is to provide an organization with the structure, governance, functions and services required to define and deliver change in a consistent and manageable way, irrespective of the tool used to deliver that change. It is all about setting up a successful environment for the running of multiple programmes and projects, ensuring change is balanced with business as usual. And could therefore, successfully take many forms or put another way ‘it can be whatever the organization needs it to be’.
Many forms are explored within the P3O® guidance (first published in 2008).
What do PMO’s do?
Guidance – Centre of Excellence:
Business Leadership (Portfolio Office) – build portfolio tools, processes, structures – govern funding, provide metrics, test benefit assumptions _ adding scrutiny and challenge to aid decision-making, especially in regard to resource and change capability / capacity.
What is the value we get from them?
Typically improved project / programme success rates with reduced implementation costs, improved quality, reduced complexity, consistency, standardization and greater maturity.
What are we really talking about here?
‘The decision-enabling and support business model for all business change within an organization. This will include single or multiple physical or virtual structures, providing a mix of central and localized functions and services, and integration with governance arrangements and the wider business such as other corporate support functions’
• Organization portfolio office: A permanent office set up to support the definition and delivery of a portfolio of change across the entire organization or enterprise
• Hub portfolio office: A permanent office set up to support the definition and delivery of a portfolio of programmes and projects within a department, division, geographical region or business unit
• Programme office: A temporary office set up to support the delivery of a specific change initiative being delivered as a programme
• Project office: A temporary office set up to support the delivery of a specific change initiative being delivered as a project
• Centre of excellence (CoE): A portfolio, programme and project management standards office, which defines standards (processes, templates and tools), skills and training, manages knowledge and may provide independent assurance. The CoE may be part of a portfolio office or exist as a separate independent office.