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PRINCE2 - Planning (PL) part 3

Defining and Analysing Products (PL2)

Fundamental principles

By defining a plan in terms of the products to be delivered, the creation, quality and suitability of those products can be managed and controlled more easily. In addition, by defining the required products, everyone involved can see and understand the required outcome.


Once the decisions on the approach to planning have been made in Designing a Plan (PL1), this sub-process will be the normal starting point for producing the plan.

Process description

This sub-process is divided into three steps:

  1. Identify the specialist products and the management products to be produced
  2. Describe each of them in terms of their quality requirement and ensure that they are fully understood and agreed by everyone involved (this requires the creation of the necessary Configuration Item Record)
  3. Sequence them in their logical order of creation

These steps are described in more detail in Product-based planning().

Product Checklist

A draft of the Product Checklist can be created at this time from the information in the Product Breakdown Structure.
The Product Description is given in file ‘product checklist.doc’ in the product package.

It shows all the products of the plan with entries for the planned and actual dates when the product reaches key moments in its creation, such as ‘Draft Ready’, ‘Quality Check Done’ and ‘Product Approved’.
These are suggested events and can be varied according to the needs of the project.

The planned dates are added at the end of planning (PL) after scheduling and any adjustments for risk actions.
The Project Manager adds the actual dates as they are achieved and this can form a useful addition to the Highlight Report.

Use of the Product Checklist is optional in a project.


The Project Manager is responsible for the sub-process for Project and Stage Plans, Team Plans may well be produced by Team Managers for agreement by the Project Manager. There should be consultation with the customer, user(s) and specialists to ensure that all the required products are covered.

Those with Project Assurance responsibilities should vet the results.

The Configuration Librarian is responsible for the creation of Configuration Item Records for all necessary products, as specified in the Configuration Management Plan.

Information needs
Management informationUsageExplanation
Plan designInputThis defines the level of plan required, the tools and estimating techniques to be used, and the approach to change and contingency allowance.
Project Quality PlanInputThis will guide the selection and placement of quality control activities. Also contains the Configuration Management Plan. This will identify products which will require Configuration Item Record.
Product Breakdown StructureOutputA hierarchical table of all the products required to be created in the plan.
Product Description / Configuration Item RecordsOutputA description of each product plus its quality criteria. This is also the initial creation of the Configuration Item Records for the products.
Product ChecklistOutput(If used) A draft list of the major products of the plan.
Product Flow DiagramOutputA diagram showing the sequence in which the products should be produced.

These are given in tabular form in the file ‘PL2 defining and analysing products.doc’ in the product package.

Key criteria

  • Has the plan reached the agreed level of details?
  • Are all management products identified, as well as specialist products?
  • Are all management products / activities added correctly to the sequence of work?
  • Does the plan need any products from external sources?
  • Have these been shown correctly in the sequence of work?
  • Have known risk factors been identified?
  • Does the management of risks require any extra products?
  • Have these been shown correctly in the sequence of work?

A decision point can be associated with one or more intermediate products on which the decision will be based.

The list of products, their required sequence and their descriptions should all be quality reviewed for accuracy and completeness.

Required quality is a criterion against which the product will be accepted.
When working in a customer / supplier relationship, this may form the basis of project acceptance.

The definition of the major end products or results required to satisfy the business needs should be documented within the Project Initiation Document as part of the project objectives.

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.