The Four Keys to Successful Portfolio, Programme and Project Management (P3M) Performance

Organisations that consistently deliver their portfolios of programmes and projects on an ongoing basis, do so by deliberately developing four crucial key areas.

  1. Process

The methods by which programmes and projects are selected and delivered have been properly thought through and defined, based on methodologies such as MoP®, MSP® and PRINCE2®. They, therefore, have a bespoke framework of processes and templates in place that are appropriate to the organisation, which work well together, are fit-for-purpose and easy to use.

  1. People

The people involved in selecting and delivering the organisation’s portfolios of programmes and projects have strong capabilities to do so. As such, roles are clearly defined and understood, and the individuals fulfilling each role have been trained appropriately.

  1. Organisation

There is an organisation structure in place that enables effective governance, assurance and support across portfolios, programmes and projects.

  1. Technology

Robust software tools have been carefully selected and are in place that enables easy and efficient application of the organisation’s portfolio, programme and project management (P3M) framework.

If any one of the above four key areas are not addressed, then organisations will continue to struggle to gain the benefits (financial and otherwise) that they expect from the investments they make in their portfolios of programmes and projects.

Where to start

At some point in time, maturing organisations usually come to a realisation that they struggle to deliver new capabilities through what they might call projects and/or programmes. There is generally a frustration that what is delivered by their projects and/or programmes is not what was expected, that they cost a lot more money and resource time than was imagined and they finish much later than they should.

It may be that a framework has been defined, but nobody is following it; or that project and/or programme managers have been trained in PRINCE2® and/or MSP® but are working within an environment that is not set up to enable their skills to be applied; or that there is tight monitoring of projects and/or programmes (especially spend against budgets) with ongoing disappointment at monthly status reviews; or it may be that a project management software tool has been put in place but it is not being used effectively. These are all example of one of the four keys being place without the others, resulting in ineffective selection and delivery of an organisation’s portfolios of programmes and projects.

The notion of improving can feel daunting and is often attempted in an ad-hoc, disorganised and lengthy manner. So how can this be avoided? How do you start? In short, with an assessment such as P3M3®. This will provide a measure of an organisation’s current portfolio, programme and project management (P3M) capabilities and enable a vision and improvement plan to be created.

Understanding the current state of your organisation’s portfolio, programme and project management (P3M) capabilities

Within a few days of effort, a certified assessor (such as myself) will be able to conduct a P3M3® assessment to evaluate the current levels of organisational capability.

P3M3® is an acronym for ‘Project, Programme and Portfolio Management Maturity Model’. The high-level

structure of P3M3® consists of three ‘models’ and seven ‘perspectives’:

Each model and perspective combination is evaluated, by scoring from 0 to 5, and then represented in a chart, for each of the three models, similar to this:

The findings behind the results then lead into a logical next step to describe a vision of an improved organisational state, that should be aspired to, that achieves agreed higher P3M3® levels. A plan to achieve this over a realistic timescale should then be developed as part of an improvement project or programme.

P3M3®, PRINCE2®, MSP®,MoP®, P3O®, MoR® and MoV® are registered trademarks of AXELOS Limited. All trademarks are used under the permission, and remain the property, of their respective owners and are used for identification purposes only.

Author Adrin Shaw

Adrian Shaw, key P3M3 consultant for SPOCE project management developed his project management capabilities over 27 years within the automotive engineering industry where he implemented successful project management frameworks first at (Aston Martin) Tickford and later Cosworth Technology.

Since 2007, Adrian has been providing consulting services to organisations (both public and private sector) across all business sectors, where he enjoys helping others to define and implement project management frameworks appropriate to their particular business and current maturity level. His clients have included Princes Ltd, 3UK and Allerdale Borough Council.

Along the way, Adrian has acquired project management certifications (PRINCE2®, MSP®, MoP®, P3O®, MoR®, MoV®), and has also carried out formal P3M3® assessments, but is primarily a pragmatist.

Adrian’s book “Simple Project Management for Businesses” published by Book Publishing Academy is available now.

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