The way a project, programme or portfolio is governed and managed will depend upon many different external factors. These must be understood by the P3 sponsor and manager at the outset so that the work is managed in an appropriate manner.

The relationships between the host organisation and its component projects, programmes and portfolios have multiple layers. A portfolio will always sit within a ‘host organisation’ e.g. a company, government department or charity.

Some organisations may provide no co-ordination across projects and programmes at all, in which case each project or programme stands alone within the organisation. Some programmes will be part of a portfolio and some projects will be within a programme. Other projects may simply be part of the portfolio.


P3 environment


From a contractual point of view, projects are often delivered by a contracting organisation on behalf of a client. The contracting organisation is given a contract to deliver an output and its involvement ends with the handover of the completed deliverables. The contractor’s project may well be a sub-set of the client’s project or programme. In such circumstances a project may be part of two separate portfolios, the client’s and the contractor’s.

Large, complex projects or programmes may be beyond the capability of any one organisation and require the creation of a joint venture. This can make funding, apportionment of benefits and stakeholder management much more complex.

Projects, programmes and portfolios exist in both the public and private sectors and may be for commercial or not-for-profit organisations.

All these aspects of the environment have a significant influence on how risk, innovation and value are perceived.

These are just a few of the many factors that make up the P3 environment. Others may include:

  • the commercial sector, i.e., construction, IT, ship building, pharmaceuticals etc;

  • multi-national work with different geographical locations and operational languages;

  • regulated environments where outputs, outcomes, benefits and the way work is performed must conform to published standards;

  • the particular needs for accountability and transparency in the public sector.

These factors can combine in a myriad of ways to create unique influences on the way a project, programme or portfolio is governed and managed.

The management team need to assess the environment as early as possible in the life cycle. A typical technique for this assessment is PESTLE, which stands for political, economic, sociological, technical, legal and ecological factors.

As well as considering the effect that the environment has on the project, programme or portfolio, it should also consider the impact of the work on its environment. This principle is inherent in functions such as stakeholder management and change management.

As the work progresses its interactions with its environment will develop and change. The management team must monitor this and identify issues and opportunities that arise.



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9th February 2015Link to Italian translation added
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