What’s the Difference Between PMO and P3O?

If you’re currently working in a PMO, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of P3O. It’s not a number 30, as it is often referred to!

We often have delegates approach us when looking to complete certification training, “I’m working in a PMO – is that different from P3O?” We’re hoping to provide a little more clarity on the definitions of both PMO and P3O, so you can understand the benefits of completing P3O certification training.


When talking about PMOs we can be talking about three different definitions:

  • Project Management Offices
  • Programme Management Offices
  • Portfolio Management Offices

PMOs act as a decision-enabling service within an organisation, and offers various services and functions in order to support this business change, and it is imperative that it integrates with upstanding governance arrangements and wider functions within the business, for example, Finance, or HR.

One of the most important aspects of the PMO is that no two are the same, and each PMO is tailored to the individual needs of an organisation.

So, where does P3O come in?


P3O is a best practice theoretical structure of PMOs, which talks of integrated PMOs including Project, Programme and Portfolio Management Offices, as well as Centre of Excellence. P3O best practice outlines the structure of PMOs within an organisation, demonstrating the different types of PMOs (for example hub-and-spoke, temporary etc.)

If you want to learn more about P3O certifications, click here.

P3O® is a registered trademark of AXELOS

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