Can newbies take the P3O Foundation? That was the question we got asked by Chris, our own PMO Flashmob Marketing Co-ordinator.
He’s completely new to the field of PMO and wanted to know whether (a) it would be useful for him? (b) that he would be able to do the course, understand it and pass the exam?
The great thing about the P3O Foundation is that it’s a good place to start if you’re wanting to understand the Who, What, Why, Where, When of PMOs. It’s a good course to do to get that grounding of the whole PMO landscape – gain an understanding of the major types of PMOs in organisations.
Here’s Chris reflecting on his experiences, as a newbie, with the P3O Foundation course:
I myself have had exposure to the world of PMO and Project Management for around 7 months having worked as Marketing Coordinator for PMO Flashmob.
So whilst I have been to a various number of Flashmobs, conferences and other events I have never worked in PMO itself or had any formal training. I was therefore familiar with a lot of the concepts in the pre-reading and preparation that we were asked to do.
However I was not familiar with a lot of the terminology that was being used (again because of no previous training). I made sure that I got to grips with the basic content the pre-reading provided and I found going into the course this really helped.
How was learning the content in a group of mixed experience?
There was quite a range of experience around the classroom, from a project management trainer (who was missing P3O from their portfolio) to PMO practitioners who were looking to take the next step in their career.
I initially was a bit overwhelmed, seeing everyone nod and look like they knew exactly what Eileen (our trainer) was talking about made me nervous. However, we were quickly into some group discussions and learning which was a great benefit for me.
This allowed me to put what we had gone through in context which helped me understand the material. It was also a chance for me to ask questions to both Eileen and the other delegates.
As the course went on I grew in confidence, the course is structured in a way that the more you learn the more you can start using that knowledge to understand the conversations that are happening around you.
That’s not to say that at times the conversation didn’t go over my head. There was often lively debates about certain subjects which I found myself just an audience member to. However I enjoyed being in that environment and taking it all in.
Taking the exam
The exam is a multiple choice consisting of 75 questions. Included in the exam are 5 “test” questions that don’t count towards the final mark. So the required pass mark is 35 out of 70.
Whether you pass the exam or not, the course itself provides a good understanding of P3O. However, only being 3 years out of university the routine of studying and preparing for an exam were still familiar, and I didn’t want to be the only person to fail!
When I first looked at the questions on the practice paper I felt like I didn’t know the answers, but after re-reading the days material and really thinking about the question I felt like I knew which box to tick. When I came to mark myself I was surprised at how well I did.
This filled me with confidence and made the daunting task of taking an exam less so. On the third and final day there was plenty of time allowed for final prep, reading and more mock papers before doing the final test.
The end result? I passed with a solid 39/70!
Overall I enjoyed the 3 days spent on the P3O Foundation course and I would recommend any beginner with an interest in PMO to come along and take the course.
It was a rewarding experience where I learnt a lot and made some PMO friends along the way.
The one piece of advice I would give to anyone taking the course is that you will get out of it what you put in. Make sure you do the pre-reading, activities and questions that the trainer gives you.
I would also recommend the PMO Flashmob’s website for more practical insights – videos, articles etc. It also has some great insights into PMO from real PMO practitioners.
If you would like to speak to me about my experience on the course or have any questions please feel free to add me on Linkedin!
About the P3O Foundation
The P3O Foundation is a 3 day course by AXELOS.
The purpose of the Foundation certification is to confirm that you have sufficient knowledge and understanding of the P3O guidance to interact effectively with, or act as an informed member of, an office within a P3O model.
Who is the course for?
The P3O Foundation is an entry level course looking into the model of P3O. AXELOS recommend this course specifically for:
- Those new to PMO looking to understand what the P3O model is and the services provided
- Those new to a career in PMO with previous PPM experience
- Those looking for a further career move to working in a PMO
- Experienced PMO Analysts looking to gain a formal certification and deepening their knowledge in PMO and the services provided
We advise the course for those working at Level 1&2 within PMO and is often taken after the entry level PPSO Essentials course. For more information on the levels of learning [take a look at PMO Learning & Development]