The mysteriously-named P3O (which stands for 'Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Offices') is the most recent new branch of best management practice guidance to emerge from the UK Government's Office of Government Commerce (OGC). OGC is also responsible for commissioning PRINCE2, MSP and M_o_R.
The point is that P3O has been generating quite a number of growing enthusiasts since its launch about 12 months ago. We have already helped several organisations use this management framework to improve their delivery of programmes and projects.
Over the last year we have welcomed quite a broad church of delegates: some were senior managers directly involved in shaping and implementing strategy, others were logistical support people in project offices. This led to a few interesting challenges in designing and delivering a learning experience that engaged everyone, but without exception every P3O Foundation course we have run has stimulated and stretched everyone involved.
We launched our P3O training to the only syllabus and qualification available at the time - Foundation level. The Foundation paper is a set of multiple-choice questions testing one's knowledge of the P3O guide. Our experience has been that nearly all of our delegates really appreciate what P3O has to offer, but the Foundation exam? Well, they find it slightly 'under-whelming'. People want to go deeper and apply it.
On Friday I and few other training leaders were invited by APM Group to be briefed on the new P3O Practitioner qualification. If you have taken a PRINCE2 or MSP Practitioner exam recently you will be familiar with the format: a realistic scenario against which questions explore the application the framework, as well as testing one's evaluation against P3O work done by people within the scenario.
We sat two papers, the first as a 'warm up', and we sat the second knowing that we had score 66% or more to qualify. (No pressure, then!) The exam paper has 7 question categories, with 10 questions within each. We found the questions varied in difficulty and covered all the syllabus areas, as well as testing us on application at the portfolio level, as well as at the programme and project levels. We were given two hours (2 1/4 hours normally) and I found this more than adequate - I had half an hour left to spare.
On the basis of this, we will be designing and launching a combined P3O Foundation and Practitioner course shortly - probably a public course for December or January. My initial thoughts are that this combined course will be about 4 days duration - but don't hold me to that!
If you would like to be kept notified of course for this Practitioner level exam, please register your interest here.