The project management methodology PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments version 2) is designed to manage projects and groups of projects within the organization.
The project management method PRINCE 2 defines the organization, management and control over the execution of projects. PRINCE2 was developed by CCTA (Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency) as the UK government standard for the management of projects in information technology. Currently PRINCE2 is one of the most popular project management methodologies used as a project management standard in the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, Croatia, Poland and some other countries.
PRINCE2 is a process-oriented project methodology that focuses on top-level processes (management, organization, control), rather than on lower tasks (decomposition of works, development of graphs). The PRINCE2 methodology is based on seven principles, seven themes and seven processes. Principles are the central element of the methodology: if at least one of them is not fulfilled, then it can not be said that the project is being implemented within PRINCE2.
Each project causes three different expectations. The customer imagines the finished result and how it will benefit him. The artist thinks about the challenges that await him. There is also a consumer whose opinion must be foreseen – how he will perceive changes or a new product.
These three points of view become an integral triangle thanks to the governing body in PRINCE2 – the Project Committee. It includes the Customer, Senior User and Senior Executive.
The Project Manager is subordinate to them. The project committee is vested with responsibility, it checks at every stage how much the interests of business, consumers and performers are observed. Power and resources are transferred to the Project Manager.
His work begins after the approval of the Internal Project Document.
Organization of the PRINCE2 methodology
To present a quick scheme of Prince2, what it is and how it works, it is very convenient to distinguish three “seven”: 7 components, 7 processes and 7 principles. All of them must fit into 6 restrictions: time, money, risks, benefits, quality and content of the project.
The structure of PRINCE2
Here is an example of how the PRINCE2 methodology justifies these limitations. We want to increase the production of our products and thereby improve our profits from sales – to get benefits. When working on a project, you must be prepared for the risks. You need to meet at a certain time, since there is already planned to enter the market, or at another time of the year the construction will be delayed. And then more money will be needed, especially if we have incorrectly calculated the expenses – but the budget is limited. We need certain materials, products, and performers with specific skills – this is the content of the project. These resources and services must be of the quality we need, otherwise the products will be more expensive or worse than the competitors.
Components of the methodology
- Project Justification. In detail, consider whether it is worthwhile to run it, whether it will be possible to do it and by what methods. If the answer is positive, then further analyze the cost of the project, the time of its implementation and waiting for risks.
- Organization. The project committee monitors the work of the project manager and reports to corporate management.
- Plans. Make up at different stages of the project. One of the properties of Prince2 – planning based on the characteristics of the product: why it is created, what materials or skills are needed. This allows you to immediately focus on the desired result, and not then make hasty changes.
- Control. Make sure at this stage that the project meets the specified criteria, it does not take more time and money than planned, and the chances of bringing the case to a victorious end are also high.
- Management of risks. Carry out a risk analysis in advance, or unpleasant surprises you should be shaken up.
- Quality. The consumer should receive exactly the product described in the Characteristics.
- Changes. They, like risks, are unavoidable: it is hardly possible to prepare an entirely predictable project. At some point, it turns out that production requires more resources, research has dragged on, your team does not work in a coordinated manner. Do I need to change the plan, or is it temporary hitching – the decision should be made in favor of the project.
- At each stage, check whether the project remains appropriate.
- Learn from the mistakes. Record them in a separate list to prevent the next stage and the next project.
- Clearly specify the roles and responsibilities.
- Manage step by step. Even very complex projects can be brought to an end, if we follow the scheme of processes.
- Manage as needed. There is no need for constant meetings with the team or standing in the wards over the soul – they have enough to give out the exhaustive tasks. Interfere when one of the six restrictions is violated.
- Concentrate on the product. Each stage must be completed with an intermediate result to make sure that you are heading in the right direction and do not depart from the plan.
- Be flexible. If the preparation of documents on the work done takes an unreasonably long time, then you can simply report orally to the committee or send them an e-mail. The PC itself is also able to simplify its life if the topic concerns only one of its members. Then, instead of voting, you can simply trust someone who is closer to the customer, the senior executive or the senior user.
The scheme of processes Prince2
- The beginning of the project. Create a project committee.
- Initiating the project. The project committee and the project manager make up a “contract” – an internal project document. It prescribes key, but general details of the project. At this stage, you should have an idea of how the work will be carried out as a whole.
- Project management. As depicted in the diagram above, this process is higher than the others and interacts with them. This is the only stage in which the project committee takes part – the rest are given to the project manager and his team. All Prince2 processes are “locked” to “Project Management”.
- Control over the stages. The project manager accepts the current work, makes changes as necessary, solves the problems or reports serious difficulties to the project committee.
- Team management. The project manager issues assignments to the clients and ensures that they carry out the work according to the plan.
- Go to the next stage. Make sure that the process is completed within the plan, and approve the transition to the next level with the project committee. Also write down the lessons that were made at this stage: what was not calculated, what needs to be given more attention and time, how to motivate the performers better.
- Close the project. The work done should suit the customer and consumers, and the final result can already be used.
Advantages and disadvantages of PRINCE2
We have already revealed the strengths of the methodology earlier. It is distinguished by its clear management through a structure where everyone knows what to do with it.
Participants in the process are not kept in a nervous state due to constant “gliders”. The project manager intervenes only when there are alarm signals – the team has gone beyond the limits, and you either need to return or make changes.
The project committee represents the interests of business, consumers and executors, therefore decisions are taken in a balanced manner. If you do not forget, moreover, about the principles of Prince2, you will always stay close to the “center of gravity” of the project.
PRINCE2is a reliable methodology that gives serious guarantees of success. It is constantly updated taking into account the experience of recent projects, it has a large user community and high-quality technical support.
PRINCE2 was created for large-scale government projects, but thanks to its flexibility now serves the business. The methodology easily connects different departments. It can also be used with other methodologies: MSP (Management of successful programs) and ITIL – library for managing IT services.
- The drawbacks of PRINCE2 can be attributed to the fact that sometimes it is bad for small projects. When flexibility is needed, requirements constantly change – the methodology will not give the desired result. Colleagues will not have time to react to the changes filling in the packs of reports and error lists.
- Sometimes the weak point of the methodology is considered to be its limited use – PRINCE2 declared himself mostly in English-speaking countries.
- Beginning project managers can get confused in terms, and then the work of the entire organization will slow down.
More experienced project managers note that PRINCE2 poorly reveals the skills of “soft management” – conflict management and communication with project management. Also, the PRINCE2 method is accused of giving more attention to reports than to leadership. And this can lead to poor team work, when it communicates with its members insufficiently or weakly motivates them.
PRINCE2 is a methodology that is constantly fueled by information from successful projects. It built a powerful framework of principles and processes that are limited by limitations. Learn PRINCE2 both independently with the help of books, and after going through official courses. Having mastered the methodology, you better work together in a team, distribute responsibilities and will conduct not strict, but effective control over the processes.
PRINCE2 is sometimes accused of lack of flexibility and bulkiness for small projects. Developers of the methodology, obviously, hear critics, so they created a format PRINCE2 Agile, which can be combined with other methods.
Practice shows that PRINCE2 provided the completion of projects in new areas related to the software. The developers of the methodology themselves are encouraging users – do not be afraid to experiment and adjust the “Prince” for the needs of your project.