An Introduction to PRINCE2
PRINCE, which stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments, is a project management method covering the organisation, management and control of projects. PRINCE was first developed by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA, now part of the Office of Government Commerce) in 1989 as a UK Government standard for IT project management and is now owned by a public-private partnership in the form of AXELOS Ltd. Since its introduction, PRINCE has become widely used in both the public and private sectors and is now the UK’s de facto standard for project management. Although PRINCE was originally developed for the needs of IT projects, the method has also been used on many non-IT projects. PRINCE2 TM, was designed to incorporate the requirements of existing customers and to enhance the method towards a generic, best-practice approach for the management of all types of projects.
PRINCE2 TM is a process-based approach for project management providing an easily tailored, and scaleable method for the management of all types of projects. Each process is defined with its key inputs and outputs together with the specific objectives to be achieved and activities to be carried out.
The method describes how a project is divided into manageable stages enabling efficient control of resources and regular progress monitoring throughout the project. The various roles and responsibilities for managing a project are fully described and are adaptable to suit the size and complexity of the project, and the skills of the organisation. Project planning using PRINCE2 TM is product-based which means the project plans are focused on delivering results and are not simply about planning when the various activities on the project will be done.
A PRINCE2 TM project is driven by the project’s business case which describes the organisation’s justification, commitment and rationale for the deliverables or outcome. The business case is regularly reviewed during the project to ensure the business objectives, which often change during the lifecycle of the project, are still being met.
There are often different groups of people involved in projects: the customer, one or more suppliers, and of course the user. PRINCE2 TM is designed to provide a common language across all the interested parties involved in a project. Bringing customers and suppliers together typically involves contracts and contract management, although these aspects are outside the scope of PRINCE2TM, the method provides the necessary controls and breakpoints to work successfully within a contractual framework.
Benefits of PRINCE
PRINCE2 TM is a structured method providing organisations with a standard approach to the management of projects. The method embodies proven and established best-practice in project management. It is widely recognised and understood, and so provides a common language for all participants in the project.
PRINCE2 TM provides benefits to the organisation, as well as the managers and directors of the project, through the controllable use of resources and the ability to manage business and project risk more effectively. PRINCE2 TM enables projects to have :
- a controlled and organised start, middle and end;
- regular reviews of progress against plan and against the Business Case;
- flexible decision points;
- automatic management control of any deviations from the plan;
- the involvement of management and stakeholders at the right time and place during the project;
- good communication channels between the project, project management, and the rest of the organisation.
PRINCE2 TM is based around seven key principles, themes and processes:
The Seven principles are:
- Continued Business Justification
- Learn From Experience
- Defined Roles And Responsibilities
- Manage By Stages
- Manage By Exception
- Focus On Products
- Tailor To Suit The Project Environment.
The Seven themes are:
- Business Case
The Seven processes are:
- Starting Up A Project,
in which the project team is appointed including an executive and a project manager, and a project brief is produced
- Initiating A Project,
in which the business case is completed and Project Initiation Documentation assembled
- Directing A Project,
which dictates the ways in which the Project Board oversees the project
- Controlling A Stage,
which dictates how each individual stage should be controlled, including the way in which work packages are authorised and distributed
- Managing Product Delivery,
which has the purpose of controlling the link between the Project Manager and the Team Manager(s) by placing formal requirements on accepting, executing and delivering project work.
- Managing Stage Boundaries,
which dictates how to transition from one stage to the next
- Closing A Project,
which covers the formal decommissioning of the project, follow-on actions and evaluation of the benefits.