The Difference Between AIPMO-Foundation and P3O Foundation

Which should you opt for?

That’s the question I’ve been asked a few times from PMO practitioners thinking about their training budget spend – if you had to choose one of them, which would it be?

First of all, what’s the high level difference between them?

What’s the Difference?

AIPMOIn terms of the difference between the two – AIPMO is an international organisation, the certifications are about three years old. P3O has been around for longer, and is the most recognised – especially in the UK.

In terms of knowledge and teaching – both are certification courses. That means you’ll sit an exam during the training course and then – hopefully – receive a certificate from the examing bodies.

That’s AIPMO for the AIPMO IPMO-Foundation and Peoplecert for the P3O one.

The AIPMO IPMO-Foundation is aimed at PMO practitioners who are setting up and providing PMO services to their organisations. It goes into detail about what those services and capabilities are and how the PMO offers those.[The full syllabus shows more detail]

P3OThe P3O focuses more on the bigger picture of PMOs – for example – it covers why have PMOs, the different models and which services you would have in each different type of PMO but wouldn’t go into any of the ‘how’ details.

The best way to explain is in terms of project management qualifications – if you want to learn project management processes and techniques, you’d do the PMI PMP or APM qualifications – that’s like the AIPMO certification here for PMO practitioners. If you’re looking for a structure or framework approach to delivering projects you’ll opt for PRINCE2 – that’s the P3O equivalent here – you’ll learn about the different models and the services within them.

Which Should I Choose?

If you’re looking for a PMO certification to just put on your CV, opt for the P3O course. It’s the most recognised one in the UK.

If you’re looking for a training course that will better or improve your own PMO knowledge and potentially make a difference to your everyday role, read on.

AIPMO IPMO-Foundation

AIPMO IPMo-FoundationThis is the course to do if you’ve been working in PMO for a while now and working at the PMO Analyst, Project Support Officer, Project Co-ordinator type level.

You understand what PMOs are there to do – you’re already familar with P3O concepts and the different models – terms like ‘hub and spoke’ are already something you know about.

You’ll be working in a PMO role and be responsible for supporting projects or programmes. You’ll be doing a decent job of that but wanting to do better.

Perhaps you’d like to know how to improve the services you offer – or introduce new services and approaches alongside your PMO Manager.

This course is based on a combination of research and practitioner driven knowledge. You’ll be introduced to new PMO concepts – the course will likely challenge you in many areas.

The course is 4 days long with an exam on the last day.

P3O Foundation

P3O FoundationThe Foundation level P3O course is aimed at the same type of people as above – PMO Analyst, Project Support Officer, Project Co-ordinator type level. The next level – Practitioner is focused on PMO Managers or people who are tasked with setting up PMOs. A lot of people opt for the full 5 days and do Foundation and Practitioner together but it’s not compulsory. You can split them and do them at different points in your career.

The P3O Foundation is 3 days with an exam on the last day. You need to pass the Foundation before you can do the Practitioner.

The P3O Foundation is good for people who want to learn more about why PMOs exist and the different types of PMO configurations hence the project, programme and portfolio in the title.

PMO practitioners wanting to understand the bigger picture use this knowledge in their day to day role – why some services might be offered and others not for example.

Opting for P3O Foundation is all about setting the foundations of PMO so in lots of ways the P3O Foundation could be done before going on to do the IPMO-Foundation. Understand why PMOs are needed first before learning more about the practical side of providing PMO services is a good way to go.

Further Resources

We have a number of different resources to help you make your decision.


Want to learn more about the AIPMO certifications? Check out these resources:

[Take a look at the webinar that covers all the AIPMO PMO course levels]

The session below covers a Q&A session about all the qualifications:

Our webinar page has a further sessions to take a look at [PMO Learning webinars]

Read More

Here are some articles on P3O for you to take a look at:

Top Two Reasons for Doing a P3O Course \ P3O: Why PMO Practitioners Take the Training \  Why Should You Do the P3O Foundation?

And for AIPMO-Foundation too:

Why You Should Consider the AIPMO PMO Foundation Certification \ Working in a PMO?

We’ve got training justifications for P3O training available [take look]

Make sure you read through the full modules for each course – they’re at the bottom of the pages [IPMO-Foundation] and [P3O Foundation]

Contact Us

Please do get in touch and talk to us – we’ll be happy to give you the run down based on where you are in your career and have a chat about the options.

[Drop us a line here]


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