Portfolio, programme, and project offices (P30) Glossary of Terms

F - Full-time Equivalent (FTE) to O - organization Portfolio Office

This is an A-Z glossary of terms, for Project Offices. P3O Project Office model provides a decision enabling and delivery support structure for leading change within an organization.View the Agile Dictionary. Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) Dictionary. Full ITIL glossary of terms. See also Project Management Dictionary and Risk Management Dictionary.

A - E - Aggregated Risk to Expert Reference Group | F - O - Full-time Equivalent (FTE) to organization Portfolio Office
| P - R - P3M3 to Risk potential assessment (RPA) | S - Z - Scale of risk to Zero-based Cost Centre

Full-time equivalent (FTE)

A technique used to measure human resource involvement in a project, programme or operational activities. It is required generally where human resources are allocated across multiple roles (e.g. 70% allocated to a project and 30% allocated to business operations). An FTE of 1 means that a person or the sum of all people's effort is 100% allocated to an activity, based on the number of working hours available, treatment of overtime and other parameters.

Gated Review

Structured reviews of a project, programme or portfolio as part of formal governance arrangements that are carried out at key decision points in the lifecycle to ensure that the decision to invest as per agreed Business Cases and plans remains valid.

Governance (business change)

Encompasses the structures, accountabilities and policies, standards and process for decision-making within an organization for business change to answer the key strategic questions of 'Are we doing the right things?', 'Are we doing them the right way?', 'Are we getting them done well?' and 'Are we getting the benefits?'

Health check

A health check is a quality tool that provides a snapshot of the status of a project, programme or the portfolio. The purpose of a health check is to gain an objective assessment of how well the project, programme or portfolio is performing relative to its objectives and any relevant processes or standards. A health check differs from a Gated Review in that it is a tool used for assurance purposes by the P3O to inform specific actions or capability maturity development plans, whereas a Gated Review is part of formal governance arrangements.

Hub and Spoke

A term to describe a system of organizational design for P3O where there is a centralized office (the hub) connected to a number of smaller decentralized offices (the spokes) each with a sub-set of the centralized office's business objectives, functions and services. All information and processes (connections) are arranged so that they move along spokes to the hub at the centre. A Hub and Spoke model provides the benefit of scalability for large organizations and supports business ownership by maintaining a level of decentralization.

Information Hub

The centralized element of the Hub and Spoke model for P3O in terms of information flows (see Hub and Spoke definition). It supports highlight and exception-based reporting for projects, programmes and/or portfolios by amalgamating information with the process and information owned by the central office as the Information Hub.

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)

A set of guides on the management and provision of operational IT services.

Informed customer

An individual, team or group with functional responsibility within an organization for ensuring that spend on IS/IT or other resource is directed to best effect, i.e. that the business is receiving value for money and continues to achieve the most beneficial outcome. The term is often used in relation to the outsourcing of IT/IS. Sometimes also called 'Intelligent customer'.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

Metric (either financial or non-financial) that is used to set and measure progress towards strategic objectives for an organization.

Management Board

Generic term used to describe either project Management Boards, programme Management Boards or Portfolio management boards, or any combination based on the P3O context.

Management Dashboard

A technique to represent vast amounts of decision-support information at an amalgamated level using tabular and graphic representation such as graphs and traffic lights.

Managing Successful Programmes (MSP)

An OGC publication/method representing proven programme management good practice in successfully delivering transformational change, drawn from the experiences of both public and private sector organizations.


Information created externally to a project or programme that forms the terms of reference and is used to start up a PRINCE2 project or identify an MSP programme. A Mandate may be initiated through an unstructured approach, or it may be derived from strategic planning, business planning or portfolio management processes.

Matrix management

A type of organizational management in which human resources with similar skills are pooled together for the assignment of work to other parts of an organization. In this approach, there is a separation between line management and line of authority in that a person may report to several project, programme or business managers to undertake multiple work assignments at different times but have a line of authority to a different manager altogether.

Organization Portfolio Office

A type of P3O model that is designed to centrally manage the investment process, strategic alignment, prioritization and selection, progress tracking and monitoring, optimization and benefits achieved by an organization's projects and programmes on behalf of its senior management.

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