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PRINCE2 - Managing Stage Boundaries (SB) part 7

Producing an Exception Plan (SB6)

Fundamental principles

A stage is deemed to be in exception as soon as current forecasts for the end of the stage deviate beyond the delegated tolerances boundaries.
The project is in exception if the whole project is likely to go beyond tolerance boundaries.

If either a stage or the project is forecast to deviate beyond its agreed tolerance boundaries, it no longer has the approval of the Project Board.
A new plan must be presented to take the place of the current plan.


The deviation should have been recognised during 'Controlling a Stage (CS)'.
The Project Manager will have brought the situation to the attention of the Project Board through an Exception Report.

The Project Board will have requested that the Project Manager produce an Exception Plan.
The Exception Plan will then be presented to the Project Board at an Exception assessment.

Process description

If a stage or the project is forecast to go outside the tolerances agreed with the Project Board when the plan was approved and the situation cannot be rectified within tolerance, the Project Manager has no further mandate to carry on with the work.

The Exception Plan will have the same structure as other PRINCE2® plans.
It should run from the present time to the end of the plan that it replaces.
If it is the Project Plan that is in exception, a revised Project Plan should be created, taking into account the actuals to date.

The Configuration Item Records of all products included in the plan being replaced must be checked.
Where the status shows that work is outstanding, the Exception Plan should include this work.


The Configuration Librarian will provide a Product Status Account of the products in the plan that is to be replaced.

The Project Manager is responsible for producing Exception Plans with the help of Project Support.

Those responsible for Project Assurance should check the plan.

Information needs
Management informationUsageExplanation
Current Stage PlanInputThis is the plan from which the deviation has occurred and that will define the tolerances and the extent of the deviation. It can also be used to extrapolate what would happen if the deviation were allowed to continue.
Exception PlanInputThis will contain details, such as recommended action, that will contribute to the Exception Plan.
Issue LogInputThis may contain details of the reasons for the project or stage being forecast to deviate beyond its tolerances.
Risk LogInputThis may contain details of the reasons for the project or stage being forecast to deviate beyond its tolerances.
Project PlanInputThis shows the products required from the stage.
Project Initiation DocumentInputContains the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the project and is the document that specifies the Project Board’s terms of reference.
Project Status AccountInputThis will provide information on products that are still incomplete.
Quality LogUpdateAdd details of any new quality checks planned.
Exception Plan ReportInputIf the response to the Exception Report (CS8) caused the Project Board to ask for an Exception Plan (DP4), this would be passed on by CS8 as the trigger to this sub-process.
Exception PlanOutputThe product of this sub-process, a plan that replaces the current Stage Plan.
Project management team structureUpdateThis should be updated with any changes for the remainder of the stage.

These are given in tabular form in the file ‘SB6 producing and exception plan.doc’ in the product package.

Key criteria

  • Has the deviation adversely affected the Business Case for the project?
  • What extra risks does the approved option bring?

If the project tolerances that are under threat, a revised Project Plan should be produced.

Where the project is part of a programme, the programme support office must examine the Exception Plan to ensure that the project remains consistent with the programme.

The Project Manager should be wary of overestimating the ability to recover from a forecast deviation.

This product contains EVERYTHING in the publications:

Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 - 2005 edition
Managing successful Projects with PRINCE2 – 2009 edition
Directing Projects with PRINCE2.
The Complete Project Management package.

And much more besides - at a fantastic price.