PRINCE2® (Projects in a Controlled Environment) is a structured project management method based on experience drawn from thousands of projects – and from the contributions of countless project sponsors, Project Managers, project teams, academics, trainers and consultants.
This training information is designed:
It covers the questions frequently asked by those people who sponsor or direct projects:
It is important to emphasize that PRINCE2 is not a rule book prescribing a one-size-fits-all approach to projects but a flexible method that can readily be tailored to the context of a specific project.
It is not expected that this training information will be read from start to finish.
Sections covering ‘Starting up a Project’ to ‘Reviewing benefits’ are designed as ‘point in time’ reference guides that Project Board members can dip into for guidance which is pertinent to the activity that the Project Board is expected to perform.
Each of these chapters contains:
The appendices provide additional reference material to help Project Board members review and approve management products (Appendix A, see folder ‘Product Description outlines’ as part of the product package); to understand the totality of the responsibilities for each role in the project management team (Appendix C, see folder ‘Roles and responsibilities’ as part of the product package); and to understand the specific use of project management terms used in a PRINCE2 project (Glossary).
Those people unfamiliar with PRINCE2 should read the rest of the sections covering ‘Introduction’ and ‘Overview of PRINCE2’, ‘Project Board duties and behaviours’ and ‘Tailoring PRINCE2’ fully.
Project Managers, Team Managers, Project Assurance and Project Support personnel should read Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 (2009) which describes the method specifically for their roles.
Senior managers are accountable for two aspects of an organization’s performance:
As the pace of change (technology, business, social, regulatory etc.) accelerates, and the penalties of failing to adapt to change become more evident, the focus of management attention is inevitably moving to achieve a balance between business as usual and business change.
Projects are the means by which we introduce change - and, while many of the skills required are the same, there are some crucial differences between directing business functions and directing project work.
There are a number of characteristics of project work that distinguish it from business as usual:
Projects are the means by which we introduce change.
As the section covering ‘Key definitions’ states, projects are temporary in nature.
Once the desired change has been implemented, business as usual resumes (in its new form) and the need for the project is removed.
Projects should have a defined start and a defined end.
Projects involve a team of people with different skills working together (on a temporary basis) to introduce a change that will impact others outside the team.
Projects often cross the normal functional divisions within an organization and sometimes span entirely different organizations.
This frequently causes stresses and strains both within organizations and between, for example, customers and suppliers.
Each has a different perspective and motivation for getting involved in the change.
Every project is unique.
An organization may undertake many similar projects, and establish a familiar, proven pattern of project activity, but each one will be unique in some way: a different team, a different customer, a different location.
All these factors combine to make every project unique.
Clearly, the characteristics already listed will introduce threats and opportunities over and above those we typically encounter in the course of business as usual. Projects are more risky.
Given that (1) projects are the means by which we introduce business change, and that (2) project work entails a higher degree of risk than other business activity, it follows that implementing a secure, well-proven project management method is a valuable business investment.
PRINCE2 is a non-proprietary method and has emerged worldwide as one of the most widely accepted methods for managing projects.
This is largely due to the fact that PRINCE2 is truly generic: it can be applied to any project regardless of project scale, type, organization, geography or culture.
PRINCE2 achieves this by isolating the management aspects of project work from the specialist contributions, such as design, construction etc.
The ‘specialist activities’ would clearly be different in, say, a hospital construction project from those for an aircraft procurement project.
The specialist aspects of any type of project can be easily plugged into the PRINCE2 method.
This means that industry-specific models - variously known as ‘engineering models’ or ‘project lifecycles’ - can be used, alongside PRINCE2, to provide the most secure framework possible for project work.
Moreover, any specialist project lifecycle defined in terms of its products can very easily be integrated in a PRINCE2 framework as the method facilitates the integration of the management and specialist activities through its focus on products.
PRINCE2 defines all the management products that will be required (Business Case, plans, roles, reports, registers etc.) to manage the project adequately and provides a reliable product-based planning technique that creates a set of Product Descriptions for the project’s deliverables.
Each Product Description defines the purposes, composition, derivation (source inputs), quality criteria and quality methods that will apply to the product concerned - so that there is an unambiguous, common understanding of the work involved.
Because PRINCE2 is generic and based on powerful structural concepts, organizations adopting the method as a standard can substantially improve their organizational capability and maturity across multiple areas of business activity, such as business change, construction, IT, mergers and acquisitions, research, product development and so on.
Before introducing the structure of the method, it is worthwhile reviewing the key benefits of adopting PRINCE2:
All references above are in Directing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 unless stated otherwise.
PRINCE2® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce in the United Kingdom and other countries.