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The inherent nature of a project, programme or portfolio is derived from its objectives and how they will be achieved. Some objectives are clear and well defined, with the way they are produced using tried and tested methods and technology. Other objectives are ambiguous and the way they should be produced is uncertain due to unfamiliarity or innovative technology.
These factors are collected together under the title of complexity. This broadly equates to a measure of how difficult the work will be to manage and therefore influences the methods that should be used and the necessary competence of the management team.
The external factors that influence the nature of the work include commercial, organisational, geographical and so on. These collectively form the environment.
Whether to govern the work as a project, programme or portfolio is a decision made early in the life cycle and is closely associated with complexity. Once that decision has been made it then forms part of the context in which the Praxis knowledge functions, processes and competencies are applied.