Portfolio Programme and Project Offices

4.5-day P3O Foundation and Practitioner Course Outline Public schedule available for individuals Available as an in-house course for organisations Includes examinations during the course Available as a residential course Course Dates

P3O® Foundation and Practitioner - Course Overview

This P3O® Foundation and Practitioner course is available on SPOCE's open public schedule, or can be held at your own premises.

A P3O® model provides a decision enabling/delivery support structure for all change within an organisation. This may be provided through a single permanent office which may exist under several different names, for example Portfolio Office, Centre of Excellence, Corporate Programme Office. It may otherwise be provided through a linked set of offices (portfolio office, programme offices, project offices). These offices could be permanent and temporary, providing a mix of central and localised services. Whatever the structure, a P3O® is essential for ensuring successful outcomes through the delivery of portfolios, programmes and projects

Who is the course designed for?

  • Managers who need a structure for working alongside corporate organisational investments (projects and programmes).
  • Individual who wishes to perform as an informed member of a P3O®. This will include individuals newly-appointed to portfolio, programme or project office roles or those wishing to gain a formal qualification after some support office experience.
  • Team members employed within or alongside a support office.
  • Anybody who needs to know the basics about providing portfolio, programme and project support.
  • Programme and Project Managers keen to develop their skills and identify opportunities for further career advancement.
  • Any Support offices may be known by a variety of titles such as; Portfolio Office, Centre of Excellence, Enterprise or Corporate Programme Office. This course will also benefit those aspiring to more senior roles.
  • Individuals who require the P3O® Foundation and Practitioner certificates.

What are the course objectives?

By the end of the course, delegates will be able to: 

  • Explain the P3O® model and describe the differences between portfolio, programme and project Management.
  • State the key functions and services of a P3O®.
  • Explain which P3O® model is most appropriate to your organisation‟s strategic objectives.
  • Know the arguments for establishing a P3O® model and measuring its success.
  • Learn to measure the value that a P3O® offers to an organisation.
  • Know the roles and responsibilities associated with a P3O® service.
  • Describe the tools and techniques used by a P3O®.
  • Understand and describe the relationships between strategy, portfolio, programme and project, and how these different relationships affect management issues.
  • Learn how to implement or revitalise a P3O®.

What is the course approach?

The P3O® Foundation and Practitioner course is a mixture of input and practical sessions, delivered by an APM Group approved trainer with practical experience of portfolio, programme and project management.

SPOCE's highly acclaimed event preparation is available to everyone attending this event. Delegates should spend approximately 10 hours studying this pre-course material in order to be well prepared for the course.

Due to the intense nature of this course, delegates should plan to commit approximately 1 hour each evening during the course for study and review.

SPOCE's flexible approach to the management of the course means that delegates can attend the whole 5 day Practitioner event or attend the 3 day Foundation event only and return at a later date to complete the Practitioner elements and Exam if they so wish.


What examinations are taken on this course?

P3O Foundation Exam: 1-hour, closed book exam consisting of 75 multiple-choice questions.

P3O Practitioner Exam: 2½ hours, open book (P3O® Guide only) consisting of 4 scenario- based objective test questions each comprising 20 question lines (80 question lines in total exam).


What does the P3O Foundation and Practitioner course cover?

This three-day course covers the P3O® Foundation syllabus, including the following topics:

Structured Approach to Managing Projects - Setting the scene for a structured approach to managing all projects; project.

Structured Approach to Managing Projects - Setting the scene for a structured approach to managing all projects; project.

Overview and Principles - Definitions: portfolio, programme, project; elements of a P3O® model; The decision-supporting role and governance responsibility of a P3O®; analysing the effectiveness of the P3O® in assuming this role and these responsibilities; Characteristics of a mature P3O®; The differences between portfolio, programme and project offices.

Business Case for a P3O® - Why invest in a P3O®?; “Doing the right programmes/projects” versus “doing programmes and projects right‟ and the differences between them; P3O® value matrix; KPIs and their measurement.

P3O® Models and Tailoring - Functional areas of a P3O®, including the skills and competences required; Functions and services delivered by a P3O®; Relationships with other corporate function offices; Information assurance, including resource provision by a P3O®; Sizing a P3O®, including different model types; Impact of maturity on P3O® implementation.

Implementation - 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.

Tools and Techniques - Utilisation of tools and standard P3O® techniques; CSFs for tools and techniques; Collaborative integrated tools; enterprise tools; Objectives and benefits of: portfolio prioritisation and optimisation; management dashboards; knowledge management; information portal; facilitation – workshop techniques; skills development and maintenance; Knowledge management techniques; Types of facilitated workshops; “Swimlane” models – benefits and use.

Roles - Management, generic and functional-based purpose of P3O® roles


What course materials are included?

P3O Event Preparation CD

SPOCE's highly acclaimed event preparation includes exam guidance, syllabus and an interactive sample exam questions module.

P3O® Manual

The official P3O® Manual, sent with your course joining instructions.

Course Handouts

  • P3O Pre-Course - This is an overview of the P3O method that is sent with your pre-course materials to guide you through your course preparation.
  • P3O Course Handout - Provided during the course, this handout includes the tasks used during the course, a copy of the slides used by the trainer, SPOCE's unique "P3O Road Map", and the APMG sample foundation exam paper.

P3O Foundation Exam

The 40 minute APMG Foundation Exam is held on the third day at 4pm. Results will be available within 30 minutes of the end of the exam.

P3O Practitioner Exam

2¼ hours, open book (P3O® Guide only) consisting of 7 scenario- based objective test questions. Exam papers are sent to APM Group for marking. Results are usually available within 3 weeks.


All courses include refreshments. Complementary lunch provided on courses outside London. Onsite accommodation is available at additional cost (except London) on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis. Optional accommodation can be added when making a booking.

Event Preparation

Event Preparation - Foundation Exam Simulation

P3O Manual

Delegate Feedback

The following is a list of feedback comments from customers attending recent SPOCE courses.


"Julia was fantastic and went over configuration management again and again until I finally got it!! So thank you ever so much. This will really help me in my daily working life" Rachel Cough

"Excellent Trainer/Course/Hotel Facilities - Great Knowledge and presentation skills of the trainer - very Enjoyable Course" Leanne Preuss

"Richard is a fantastic trainer and I would recommend him to anyone. Thanks!" Res Sembi

"Trainer was faultless, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, thorough etc. I would recommend collagues to attend the course with this trainer in particular" Andrew Willis

"Enjoyed the way the course was delivered with respect to interaction of delegates" Jason Bennett

"Mike was excellent. I think i'd have been worn out by about 10am on Monday if I were him" Sally Ragret

"Richard made a complex subject clear and got us up to speed in 3 days!" Paul Curtis

"The course surpassed my expectations. I'll totally recomend it to my colleagues" Marjuh Hernandez

"The trainer was outstanding, imformative, helpful, well prepared, able to tailor the course to particular requirements, and had a sense of humour!" Saminia Khan



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