PMO Course Deep-Dive – P3O® Foundation

We are back with the second instalment in the series of taking a deep dive into our PMO courses, bringing you one slide/topic to discuss, to give you a better understanding of the content we cover.

Check out the last article we released on the Essentials for PMO Managers here!

This week we are focusing on the P3O® Foundation course, which is one of the most popular courses for PMO professionals. The next virtual classroom course is also coming up on the 15th-17th of May.

P3O (Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices) is a three-day course which covers the fundamentals of P3O®, giving you a solid foundation in the P3O® model, the terminology, and concepts involved – the course also covers the key functions and services in a P3O® model – considered to be one of the most useful areas for a PMO practitioner. The course also covers the tools and techniques used in a P3O® and looks at the different types of PMOs with the model.

What are P3Os?

Here’s the definition from P3O Manual:

A decision-enabling and support business model for all business change within an organization. This will include single or multiple physical or virtual structures, ie offices (permanent and/or temporary), 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.

In essence P3Os are different types of PMOs – Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices.

Deep Dive into P3O Roles

On Day 2 of the course, we look at the three types of roles within a P3O.

There are 21 defined P3O roles and any P3O will be made up of a combination of roles. In the course, we outline that some are specific to management, generic and functional.

Each role should be defined with the responsibilities, skills, and competences required to perform the role successfully.

Below we will discuss one of each of the three types of roles within a P3O.


Within management there are three main roles – the P3O Sponsor, the Head of P3O and the Head of Programme or Project Office. Let’s take a look at that first one:

P3O Sponsor

The P3O Sponsor is a senior executive who is accountable for the establishment, operation, and performance of the P3O. The P3O Sponsor is responsible for providing the necessary resources, support, and sponsorship for the P3O to be successful.

The P3O Sponsor’s role is to champion the P3O within the organisation and ensure that it is aligned with the organisation’s strategic objectives. They are responsible for ensuring that the P3O is adequately resourced, and the necessary governance structures are in place to ensure that it delivers the expected benefits.

The P3O Sponsor is also responsible for ensuring that the P3O operates effectively within the wider organisational context. They must ensure that the P3O is integrated with other functions, such as Finance, Human Resources, and IT, to ensure that it can operate effectively and deliver the expected benefits.

Overall, the P3O Sponsor is a critical role in ensuring the success of the P3O. They provide the necessary leadership, support, and sponsorship.


Generic roles in a P3O structure are roles which can be found in any part of the P3O – there are three highlighted – the analyst, the officer and the specialist. Lets take a look at the first one:

Portfolio Analyst

The Portfolio Analyst is responsible for analysing data and information related to the portfolio of programmes and projects. They play a key role in providing accurate and timely information to support decision-making at the portfolio level.

The Portfolio Analyst plays a critical role in ensuring that the portfolio of programmes and projects is managed effectively and aligned with the organisation’s strategic objectives. They provide valuable insights and analysis to support decision-making and ensure that the portfolio is delivering the expected benefits.


The functional roles refers to a role that is focused on delivering a specific function or service to support project, programme, or portfolio delivery. There are 15 listed in areas such as risk, finance, planning, tools etc. The first listed is focused on benefits and value.

Benefits and Value Role

The benefits and value role exists to ensure there is a consistent approach to benefits and value management across the portfolio and programme. The role may be performed by the Portfolio Benefits Manager.

These roles are often seen in larger organisations where the P3O is supporting large programmes of work. They work closely with stakeholders across the organisation to ensure that benefits realisation is integrated into the planning and delivery of projects and programmes. By monitoring progress towards the realisation of benefits and implementing strategies to address any barriers or challenges, the Portfolio Benefits Manager helps to ensure that the organisation derives value from its investments in projects, programmes, and portfolios.

If you’re interested in learning more about Benefits Management, take a look at the specialist course we run, Benefits Management and the Role of the PMO.

Click here to buy a hard copy of the P3O Manual!

The P3O® Foundation course covers the different types of roles that can be found within the different types of PMOs enabling the PMO to be staffed by the right blend of responsibilities, skills, and competences in each person in order to deliver the different functions and services required by the organisation.

There is further detail on the Management, Generic and Functional roles outlined in the course and in Appendix A of the P3O Manual.

If you’re interested in what we have shared in the article and want to learn more, check out the P3O® certifications we offer and the range of ways to complete your certification. As well as our virtual classroom option we also have eLearning and a distance-learning option too. To find out more about when the courses are scheduled [take a look at the upcoming courses].

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The P3O® courses on this page are offered by PMO Learning. P3O® is a [registered] trade mark of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved. P3O® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. The Swirl logo™ is a trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.

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