Saturday, 7 February 2015

AXELOS Global Best Practice Guidance
AXELOS is a new joint venture company, created by the Cabinet Office and Capita Plc to run the Best Management Practice portfolio, including the ITIL® and PRINCE2® professional standards. Our goal is to nurture best practice communities, both in the UK and on a truly worldwide scale, establishing an innovative and high quality, continuous learning and development destination that is co-designed by and co-created for those who use it.

1. PRojects IN Controlled Environments (PRINCE2®) – for project management
2. Managing Successful Programmes (MSP®) – for programme management
3. Management of Risk (M_o_R®) – for risk management
4. IT Service Management (ITIL®) – for IT service management
5. Management of Portfolios (MoP™) – for portfolio management
6. Management of Value (MoV™) – for value management
7. Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices (P3O®)
8. Portfolio, programme and project management maturity model (P3M3®)


Is a de facto standard developed and used extensively by the UK government and is widely recognized and used in the private sector, both in the UK and internationally. It embodies established and proven best practice in project management. PRINCE2® (PRojects IN Controlled Environments), is a widely used project management method that navigates you through all the essentials for running a successful project. PRINCE2 is a flexible method and is aimed at all types of projects. The development of PRINCE2 from the earlier PRINCE method was driven by user based improvements, project management specialists and a review panel of 150 public and private sector organizations. This end result is a generic best practice tool which is flexible enough to be tailored to your organization and used successfully for all types of project. MSP - Programme Management may be defined as the co-coordinated organization, direction and implementation of a portfolio of projects and activities that together achieve outcomes and realize benefits that are of strategic importance. Large, complex deliveries are often broken down
into manageable, inter-related projects. For those managing this overall delivery the principles of programme management are key to delivering on time and within budget. Cabinet Office Best Management Practice in this area is found in Managing Successful Programmes which was updated in 2011. Managing Successful Programmes comprises a set of principles and processes for use when managing a programme. It is founded on best practice although it is not prescriptive. It is very flexible and designed to be adapted to meet the needs of local circumstances.


The term 'management of risk' incorporates all the activities required to identify and control the exposure to risk which may have an impact on the achievement of an organization’s business objectives. M_o_R considers risk from different perspectives within an organization:
  1. Strategic, 
  2. Programme, 
  3. Project and 
  4. Operational
While it links to other AXELOS Best Practice, it respects the roles, responsibilities and terminologies used outside the disciplines of programme and project management. The M_o_R framework is based on four core concepts - 

M_o_R principles Principles are essential for the development and maintenance of good risk management practice. They are informed by corporate governance principles and the international standard for risk management, ISO31000: 2009. They are high-level and universally applicable statements that provide guidance to organizations as they design an appropriate approach to risk management as part of their internal controls.

M_o_R approach Principles need to be adapted and adopted to suit each individual organization. An organization’s approach to the principles needs to be agreed and defined within a risk management policy, process guide and strategies.

M_o_R process The process is divided into four main steps: identify, assess, plan and implement. Each step describes the inputs, outputs, tasks and techniques involved to ensure that the overall process is effective.

Embedding and reviewing M_o_R Having put in place an approach and process that satisfy the principles, an organization should ensure that they are consistently applied across the organization and that their application undergoes continual improvement in order for them to be effective.

® - Information Technology Infrastructure Library

ITIL is the most widely recognized framework for ITSM in the world. In the 20 years since it was created, ITIL has evolved and changed its breadth and depth as technologies and business practices have developed. ISO/IEC 20000 provides a formal and universal standard for organizations seeking to have their service management capabilities audited and certified. While ISO/IEC 20000 is a standard to be achieved and maintained, ITIL offers a body of knowledge useful for achieving the standard. It is the most widely accepted approach to IT service management in the world. ITIL provides a cohesive set of best practice, drawn from the public and private sectors internationally. IT Service Management (ITSM) derives enormous benefits from a best practice approach. Because ITSM is driven both by technology and the huge range of organizational environments in which it operates, it is in a state of constant evolution. Best practice, based on expert advice and input from ITIL users is both current and practical, combining the latest thinking with sound, common sense guidance. The ITIL framework is based on the five stages of the service lifecycle, with a core publication providing best-practice guidance for each stage. In addition to the core publications, there is also a complementary set of ITIL publications (to be withdrawn on 31st March 2015) providing guidance specific to industry sectors, organization types, operating models and technology architectures.


To be successful, organizations must evolve and this means improving how they run their business on a daily basis (business as usual) and adapting to emerging demands and expectations. Portfolio management helps organizations to make decisions about implementing the right changes to business as usual; those changes are delivered via projects and programmes. Decisions are made in the context of a ‘helicopter view’ that provides an overall picture of the organization’s change activities, including those in planning and delivery. This provides decision makers with a clear line of sight about what is in the portfolio, what it is costing, what risks are faced, delivery status, the impact on business as usual, and the contribution to the organization’s
strategic objectives. The new MoP guidance has been prepared to provide senior executives with an overview of portfolio management - the principles upon which it is based, some of the techniques used, and how you can get started and sustain progress. Management of Portfolios (MoP) is a set of guidance from the Cabinet Office. The first guide, for senior executives, published in June 2010 and was followed by the practitioner guidance early in 2011. The practitioner guidance is supported by a qualification scheme. The core guidance is aimed at the decision makers who have to prioritize investment across an organization’s Programmes and projects. The guide introduces the key concepts of portfolio management, its benefits to an organization, how it fits in with current business processes and how to get started.


Management of Value (MoV) has evolved from the tried and successful practice of value management across many sectors and over many years. The MoV guidance aligns the established methods with Cabinet Office P3RM Guidance. This new guide is aimed at all those involved in directing, managing, supporting and delivering portfolios, Programmes and projects. MoV is all about maximizing value in line with the programme and project objectives and the key stakeholder requirements. It is not simply about minimizing costs. MoV is relevant to portfolios, Programmes and projects. At the portfolio level it reflects the organization's strategic objectives and sets the agenda for the Programmes that deliver these objectives which, in turn, define the projects undertaken to achieve the required outputs.


The P3O guidance - aligned to the Cabinet Office's PRINCE2, MSP, and M_o_R - brings together in one place a set of principles, processes and techniques to facilitate effective portfolio, programme and project management through enablement, challenge and support structures. The purpose of the Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices (P3O) guidance is to provide universally applicable guidance that will enable individuals and organizations to successfully establish, develop and maintain appropriate business support structures that will allow Informed senior management decision making on strategic alignment, prioritization, risk management, optimization of resource etc to successfully deliver their business objectives (portfolio management) and identification and realization of business outcomes and benefits via Programmes and also successful delivery of project outputs that enable benefits within time, cost
and quality restraints.

The Portfolio, Programme, and Project Management Maturity Model (P3M3) has become a key standard amongst maturity models, providing a framework with which organizations can assess their current performance and put in place improvement plans. As organizations strive to identify and leverage competitive and performance advantage from improved efficiency and delivery, the importance of management models on which to assess this performance and identify
opportunities for improvement has increased. The updated second version of the Cabinet Office's Portfolio, Programme, and Project Management Maturity Model (P3M3) was released in June 2008, with a further update, version 2.1, being released in February 2010. The first version was released in early 2006 and was developed as an enhancement to the Project Management Maturity Model. The current version takes into account the maturing knowledge of programme management, and the evolving recognition and definition of portfolio management, across a number of industry sectors. It is fully compatible with the earlier version, so organizations that have already undertaken P3M3 assessments based on the first version will see the impact of their existing improvement plans reflected in future assessments made under the revised model. P3M3 is an overarching model containing three individual models:
  1. Portfolio Management Maturity Model (PfM3)
  2. Programme Management Maturity Model (PgM3)
  3. Project Management Maturity Model (PjM3)
The PRINCE2 Maturity Model (P2MM) is derived from the Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model (P3M3™). P3M3 is an overarching model containing three individual models:
  • Portfolio Management Maturity Model (PfM3)
  • Programme Management Maturity Model (PgM3)
  • Project Management Maturity Model (PjM3)
The P2MM can be used by organizations that have adopted PRINCE2 as the basis for their project
management method, in place of the Project Management Maturity Model. In line with the other models, P2MM uses a five-level maturity framework and the five Maturity Levels are:
  1. Level 1 – awareness of process
  2. Level 2 – repeatable process
  3. Level 3 – defined process
  4. Level 4 – managed process
  5. Level 5 – optimized process
P2MM focuses on the same seven Process Perspectives, which exist in all of the other three models and can be assessed against the five levels of maturity. The flexibility of the P3M3 approach allows organizations to review all seven Process Perspectives across all three models – portfolio, programme and project management – but they can also review just one (or several) of the Process Perspectives, whether across all three models or across only one or two of them. This can be useful to gain a better understanding of an organization’s overall effectiveness in, for example, risk management or resource management. The P2MM self-assessment questionnaire is one of a number of alternative ways for an organization to begin to explore the P2MM model. It introduces some of the core concepts such as the five Maturity Levels and seven Process Perspectives that are the foundations of the P2MM. By completing the self-assessment questionnaire, a relatively quick evaluation of the current organizational maturity with respect to PRINCE2 project management is obtained. Do remember though, that self-assessments tend to introduce a degree of optimism bias that is often removed through a facilitated assessment conducted by a competent third party. The questionnaire then contains seven questions, one for each of the Perspectives contained within P3MM covering:
  • Management Control
  • Benefits Management
  • Financial Management
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Risk Management
  • Organizational Governance
  • Resource Management
For more information on AXELOS Guidance and official publications, visit - 


Author - Vijayakumar Reddy, CTO & Lead Trainer, A2A IMTCS Pvt. LTD.
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