A Guide on How to Use PRINCE2 Project Management
Today's project manager has various tools and techniques to choose from, some more well-known than others. If you haven't heard of PRINCE2, you're probably not alone. Since its establishment in the United Kingdom more than thirty years ago, it has mostly been used there. However, its benefits are considerable, and it may provide you the tools you need to take your business or organization to the next level.
What is PRINCE2 project management?
PRINCE2 stands for Projects IN Controlled Environments and focuses on segmenting projects into controllable and manageable stages. Based on an earlier project management tool, PROMPT, PRINCE2 was first established in 1989 by the British Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency. The full PRINCE2 methodology was published in 1996, and it remains publicly available for those who wish to use it.
PRINCE2 is particularly helpful for those wishing to identify logical steps in each project and use those as the basis for an organized project management plan. It involves clearly defined roles, starting with the project manager and including a project team, project board, and customer.
There are seven principles of PRINCE2, which include:
- Continued Business Justification: The business case is continually updated at each stage of the project to ensure continued viability.
- Learn From Experience: Each stage should include referring to the notes and lessons learned from the previous stage.
- Defined Roles and Responsibilities: Roles are clearly defined and not tailored to individuals.
- Manage by Stages: Each PRINCE2 project is divided into clearly defined stages that are continually monitored and assessed.
- Manage by Exception: PRINCE2 projects are expected to be managed within certain tolerances that, when exceeded, trigger review by a manager for decision-making.
- Focus on Products: PRINCE2 projects focus specifically on the customer's quality requirements and fulfillment.
- Tailor to Suit Project Environment: As a methodology, PRINCE2 is to be tailored to the complexity of the project at hand.
PRINCE2 also involves seven processes that are interrelated and occur largely in parallel:
- Start-Up the Project
- Initiate the Project
- Direct the Project
- Control Stages
- Control Stages
- Manage Stage Boundary
- Close the Project
How PRINCE2 project management works
When the first process, Start Up the Project, commences, a project brief, including a business case, is developed if the project has been determined to be viable via due diligence performed at this stage. The Initiate the Project process involves detailing the project scope and answering questions such as what work must be performed to complete the project and what are the benefits and risks. Quality assessment and monitoring measures throughout the project are also established.
The third process, Direct the Project, empowers the Board to take ownership of the project through decision-making, whether authorizing the project's initiation or various stages of the project. Control Stages refer to the project manager's oversight of the project through progress reports to the Board, monitoring of progress, and the assignment of tasks to the project team.
When the product is complete, Manage Product Delivery involves the project manager and team handling all aspects of the product's delivery, including quality assurance checks to packaging to physical delivery. The sixth process, Manage Stage Boundary, involves the project manager debriefing with the Board about each stage and developing a plan for the next one, while the Board reviews reporting and data from each debrief and makes decisions about each stage accordingly. The final process, Close the Project, involves a formal closing process in which the project managers and Board assess whether the project is complete and met all of its objectives, then ending the project.
PRINCE2 practitioners use many data visualization tools common to project managers, such as GANTT charts, PERT charts, and critical path analysis. Because of how central processes are to PRINCE2, process diagrams are also critical. If you're thinking about adopting PRINCE2 for your next project, consider purchasing MindManager first. MindManager provides project managers with effective data visualization and analysis tools that can be made simply by dragging and dropping your desired elements on the screen. MindManager can help you clearly delineate the processes, tasks, and flows of your next project to develop a solid project plan and clearly communicate it to your team and other stakeholders.