OGC released guidance last week about managing Portfolio, Programme, and Project Offices (or P3O(r)). It was a low-key event held at a great location south of the river, right next to Tate Britain, which is beautiful at night. Frances Scarff, OGC’s head of best management practices, did the introductions. She also explained what to do in the event of a bomb threat. We should stay put as the room was designated safe haven. It reminded me of Denver International Airport’s toilets, which all have a ‘Tornado Shelter” sign.
Sue Vowler, Project Angels director and lead author of P3O(r), then gave more details about the guidance and the goals they set when the project began in October 2006. The first conversations were to find out if there was any market for this type of guidance. Sue Vowler received her mandate to move forward in mid-2007. Sue admitted to being happy to see the book’s end, and it is now out.
The P3O(r), guidance is practical and provides a guideline for good practice. Anthony Close, Sue’s co-author, is based in Brisbane. They have done a great job of including case studies that will help people understand the process of running a Portfolio, Program, or Project Office.
The book is not tied to any particular standard or methodology, even though it comes from the OGC stable. Sue is currently working with one company to implement it in an Agile environment. It does, however, complete the puzzle and fill a gap. It’s also aligned with the OGC Gateway, Management of Risk and Managing Successful Programmes, and ITIL(r) in terms of language terms. Future-proofed, the P3O(r), work is compatible with the next version PRINCE2 (r), due out soon.
Sue stated that her time in the project support office was a stepping stone to becoming project manager. This role was filled by junior staff who did administrative tasks. This is no longer true. Ex-project managers are the best people to provide oversight, challenge, and scrutiny. Portfolio management is a new skill that requires juggling many elements. With the economic downturn, I believe there will be more emphasis on the value of doing the right projects.
After Sue’s presentation, we went out to take a look at the framed copies on the walls of Private Eye and enjoy a glass of wine. The OGC team brought along several PCs so that we could take the Foundation P3O(r). I breezed through the sample questions, and passed – just. Although I don’t pretend I’m a P3O(r), I can’t help but think that the wine must have hindered my performance.