New to the PMO or Projects World? I Did Lots of Nodding in My First Few Weeks!

January 12, 2021

Check out the terms and acronyms that I was googling in my first few weeks of being with LPS!

I won’t lie that in my first few weeks with LPS, I gave Google a good hammering!! I had worked in and around the Technology space for a good 15 years and thought I knew a little bit. How wrong was I!!

Below are some terms and acronyms that hit me in my first few weeks!

ICR – Investor Confidence Rating. ICR is a NZ Treasury initiative and key govt agencies get assessed every 3-years. ICR’s provide an indication of the level of confidence that investors (such as ministers and cabinet) have on an agency’s ability to realise promised investment returns

P3M3 – Portfolio, Programme and Project Management Maturity Model! It provides a framework for companies to look at themselves and baseline themselves for future improvement.

BBC – Better Business Case. NZ Treasury have taken what the UK government originally put in place. This framework tries to answer five key questions:

  • What is the compelling case for change?
  • Does the preferred option optimise value for money?
  • Is the proposed deal commercially viable?
  • Is the investment affordable
  • How can the proposal be delivered successfully?

Want to learn more about Better Business Cases? Our sister company LPS offers accredited training courses in Better Business Cases. Learn more at

Portfolio vs Programme

  • Programme – this discipline involves managing several ongoing projects at once. Overseen by a Programme Manager rather than a Project Manager, the Programme Manager focuses on how a group of projects impact / affect an organisations goals and tries to remove challenges with internal silo’s.
  • Portfolio – not to dissimilar to Programme but provides a higher-level overview. Provides insights into big picture budget and resource allocation. Typically, is more strategic looking and provides insights into where smart investments can be made.

WBS – Work Breakdown Structure. It’s a tool that demonstrates the relationship between the project deliverables (product or service) and the agreed scope (work to be executed).

Three Point Estimating – A simple but useful approach to estimate the time or cost of work items. It involves three different estimates that are usually obtained from SME’s.

  • Optimistic estimate
  • Pessimistic estimate
  • Most likely estimate

SoW – Statement of Work. It’s a heavily used document in the project and services world. It covers the working agreement between two parties, the client / the buyer / the govt department and the agency / vendor / contractor. It can cover scope of work, project objectives, tasks, deliverables, payment terms and expected outcome.

MoSCoW – it is a popular prioritisation technique for managing requirements. Used with and for key stakeholders to understand the significance of initiatives in a specific project or release:

  • Must have
  • Should have
  • Could have
  • Will not have

Schedule Baseline – is the original approved project schedule which is agreed to and signed off by project sponsors / stakeholders before the initiative kicks off

PEST – a tool used to organise, discover, evaluate and track macro factors which can have an impact now and in the future. It looks at threats due to Political, Economic, Social & Technological forces

PPM – Project Portfolio Management – it’s a central way to manage projects. The projects may or may not be related to one another, but they are managed under one umbrella to provide oversight and to manage competing resources.

Please feel free to share other goodies that I have missed or terms that you had to learn quickly!!

Written by

Nathan Masters