PRINCE2 Project Management. We hear this talked about in many organizations, but what is it really?
What is PRINCE2 Project Management?
The organization that sets the standard say that it is:
PRINCE2 (PRojects INControlled Environments) is a process-based method for effective project management. PRINCE2 is a de facto standard used extensively by the UK Government and is widely recognised and used in the private sector, both in the UK and internationally.
The PRINCE2 Project Management Methodology says that a project should have:
- An organised and controlled start ie. organise and plan things properly before leaping in
- An organised and controlled middle ie. when the project has started, make sure it continues to be organised and controlled
- An organised and controlled end ie. when you’ve got what you want and the project has finished, tidy up the loose ends.
Much like any good story or presentation. What defines a project from a non project or “business as usual” is the very fact that a project has a defined end point. It stops.
If it’s on going, it’s not a project
Key steps to understanding project management
Project management can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be. In any organization there will be several projects running at the same time. It makes sense to have some common approaches. This help succession planning across projects as well as providing some consistency and skills development. As you will see from this brief outline, the basic principles of PRINCE2 project management is to have a set of principles and structure. Also to embrace variety, diversity and flexibility to suit the nature and scope of the project in hand.
To help achieve this below are the 7x7x7 principles, roles and 7 phase process
Any project needs a business case or justification. The must be a clear goal and need. A known customer. Clear cost and risk assessment
project rarely go “right first time”. Things go wrong. What is important is how the learning is captured. How learning is shared and used to enhance future performance that makes the difference.
Everyone involved knows what they need to do and what they are responsible for. They also need to know what others on the project are responsible for.
An effective project is broken into manageable work phases. Regular and scheduled reviews ensure good communication and the application of lessons learnt. Progress towards targets are monitored and recorded.
Effective project boards set the standards. the Board process manages key stakeholders and keep the day-today of the project at arm’s length.
They are there for ensuring the deadlines, targets and costs are controlled and only intervene by exception.
All activities and deliverables are compared to stated requirements. Often a quality register is used to track standards and variances.
Principles not templates
No two projects are alike. PRINCE2 provides a set of principles and methodologies that need to be custom selected and applied to each project.
As well as the project board, project manager and project team, there are other roles that are required to achieve project success.
Customer – The person paying
User – The person that will use what the project delivers
Supplier – Often a subject matter expert providing expertise
Project manager – The person responsible for delivery and management at a project level
Project team – The people that get the work done. They deliver the project and day t0 day management and coordination.
Adminstrator – Managers the process of project management. Maintains the documentation, often manages the change process. It is not unusual for this to be a PMO or Project Management Office function.
7 Phases of projects
Start-up – SU
The process to approve a project mandate.
A project brief of who, does what where, when and for how much.
Project initiation document
Time, Quality, Cost
Scope, Risk & Benefits
Directing a project – DP
Governance of the project. Project viability, Project manager delegation and brief.
The project cannot progress until the board signs off.
Controlling a Stage CS
Once the project plan is written into stages or phases, the work packages are delegated to appropriate teams or sub teams.
Team managers liaise together and under the supervision of the Project manager.
Managing Product delivery MP
Delivery of the project against the agreed time scales, budgets and deliverables.
The management of any change processes if required.
Stage Boundaries SB
Setting the reference frames for each stage.
Project Close CP
Learn, document, transfer and manage the shutting down of the project and its resources. Transfer to “business as usual”
Understanding project management basics a step by step approach.