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PRINCE2 - Controls part 1


There are key reasons for maintaining project control.

It ensures that:

  • The project remains viable against the Business Case
  • It produces products which meet the defined quality criteria
  • The project is on schedule in accordance with the resource plan and within budget

Control exists in a loop comprising Plan Monitor Control Plan etc.
This process can cause modifications to the plan owing to problems found during the monitoring stage.

Control integrates with a hierarchy management levels.

In each case the next level of management up can:

  • Monitor progress
  • Compare achievement with plan
  • Review plans and options against future situations
  • Detect problems and identify risks
  • Initiate corrective action
  • Authenticate further work

Any control process must be able to monitor and capture information external to the project.


Control can exist in a variety of forms and at different levels.
In the main controls are either ‘event’ or ‘time’ driven.


These would normally occur on the completion of an event. For example, the end of a stage (milestone), the completion of the Project Initiation Document, the creation of an Exception Plan.


These would include regular progress reports at various levels of management.

The overall project is under the control of the Project Board which receives reports from the Project Manager (and possible Project assurance roles)

PRINCE2® uses the concept of ‘management by exception’ for the Project Board.
In this situation the Project Manager is allowed to get on with it and would only formally meet with the Project Board if the plan deviates.
In practice, due to Project Assurance responsibilities, there will be regular contact of the Project Manager with other team members.

Action should be taken on any deviation that forecasts exceeding plan tolerance.
Good control allows for early detection of such circumstances so that action can be taken early at less cost.

A controlled closure of a project can only occur if the Project Manager can assure the Project Board that the project has met the specified objectives set out in the Project Initiation Document. This mechanism stops the project from drifting on.

Project Board

The Project Board controls will be as part of the following processes:

Authorising Initiation (DPI)

Has the project a full and firm foundation to justify proceeding into the initiation phase?

Authorising a Project (DP2)

Should the project be undertaken?
Has it an acceptable Business Case?
Are the risks acceptable?

End Stage assessment [see Authorising a Stage or Exception Plan (DP3)]

Has the stage been successful?
Is the project sill on course?
Is the Business Case still viable?
Are the risks being managed?
Should the next stage be undertaken?

Highlight Reports

Regular progress reports during a stage.

Exception Reports

Early warning of any forecast deviation beyond tolerance levels for the Stage of Project.
The Project Board jointly considers what action to take in response to the forecast deviation.

Exception assessment [see Authorising a Stage or Exception Plan (DP3)]

The Project Board meets to review and approve an Exception Plan.

Project Closure [see Confirming Project Closure (DP5)]

Has the project delivered everything expected?
Are any follow-on actions necessary?
What lessons have been learned?

The Project Board should also monitor the environment outside of the project and bring any matters to the attention of the Project Manager.

Project Manager

Provided the project stays within the tolerances approved by the Project Board and the Business Case remains valid the Project Manager is able to modify the plan on a day-to-day basis as he or she sees fit.

The Project Manager is responsible for monitoring progress and may receive assistance from Project Support as necessary.

Work Package authorisation is the method by which the Project Manager allocates work to individuals or teams.

It will include controls on:

  • Quality
  • Time
  • Cost plus
  • Reporting and handover requirements

These must be reflected in the associated Team Plan which will be approved by the Project Manager.

The work is monitored via the Work Package with feedback to the Project Manager occurring through:

Checkpoint Reports

This a progress report from the Team Manager to the Project Manager at an agreed frequency as part of the Work Package.

Risk ‘triggers’

By updating the Quality Log

The Project Manager will enter any agreed quality checks as part of the Work Package.
The Team Manager will update these entries as the checks are carried out.
These are checked in Assessing Stage Progress (CS2).

The Work Package will indicate any tolerances.

It is an important element with external suppliers as it will cover:

  • Agreement on the work to be done
  • Product Descriptions
  • Reporting
  • How quality is checked

All project staff should be trained in how to raise a Project Issues.
Submission of these will further aid project control.

The Risk Log also aids control by capturing analysing risk issues.

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.