PRINCE2® (Projects in a Controlled Environment) is a structured project management method based on experience drawn from thousands of projects and many contributors.
It is designed for:
It covers questions frequently asked by people involved in project management and support roles.
These questions include:
A key challenge for organizations in today’s world is to succeed in balancing two parallel, competing imperatives:
To maintain current business operations – profitability, service quality, customer relationships, brand loyalty, productivity, market confidence etc. What we term ‘business as usual’.
To transform business operations in order to survive and compete in the future – looking forward and deciding how business change can be introduced to best effect for the organization.
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 managing business as usual and managing project work.
A project is a temporary organization that is created for the purpose of delivering one or more business products according to an agreed Business Case.
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 definition above 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.
Project management is the planning, delegating, monitoring and control of all aspects of the project, and the motivation of those involved, to achieve the project objectives within the expected performance targets for time, cost, quality, scope, benefits and risks.
It is the development of the project’s deliverables (known as products in PRINCE2) that deliver the project’s results.
A new house is completed by creating drawings, foundations, floors, walls, windows, a roof, plumbing, wiring and connected services.
None of this is project management – so why do we need project management at all?
The purpose of project management is to keep control over the specialist work required to create the project’s products or, to continue with the house analogy, to make sure the roofing contractor doesn’t arrive before the walls are built.
Additionally, given that projects are the means by which we introduce business change, and that project work entails a higher degree of risk than other business activity, it follows that implementing a secure, consistent, well-proven approach to project management is a valuable business investment.
PRINCE2® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce in the United Kingdom and other countries.