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PRINCE2 2009 - Principles part 6

Manage by exception

A PRINCE2® project has defined tolerances for each project objective to establish limits of delegated authority.
PRINCE2 enables appropriate governance by defining distinct responsibilities for directing, managing and delivering the project and clearly defining accountability at each level.

Accountability is established by:

  • Delegating authority from one management level to the next by setting tolerances against six objectives for the respective level of the plan:


Plus or minus an amount of time on the target completion dates


Plus or minus an amount of the planned budget


Plus or minus degrees off a quality target (e.g. a product that weighs a target 300 g, with an allowed -5 g to +10 g tolerance)


Permissible variation of the plan’s products (e.g. mandatory requirements plus or minus desirable requirements)


Limits on the plan’s aggregated risks (e.g. cost of aggregated threats to remain less than 10% of the plan’s budget) or limits on any individual threat (e.g. a threat to operational service)


Plus or minus degrees off an improvement goal (e.g. 30–40% cost reduction)

  • Setting up controls so that if those tolerances are forecast to be exceeded, they are immediately referred up to the next management layer for a decision on how to proceed
  • Putting an assurance mechanism in place so that each management layer can be confident that such controls are effective.

This implementation of ‘management by exception’ provides for very efficient use of senior management time as it reduces senior managers’ time [see 'The Complete Time Management package'] burden without removing their control by ensuring decisions are made at the right level in the organization.

PRINCE2 2009 manages issues through the Change process.

Issue and change control procedures ensure that all issues and changes which may affect the project’s agreed baselines are identified, assessed and either approved, rejected or deferred.
[see Change - Change defined - Issue and change control]

The project’s controls for issues, changes and configuration management will be defined and established by the Initiating a Project process and then reviewed and (if necessary) updated towards the end of each management stage by the Managing a Stage Boundary process.
[see Change - The PRINCE2 approach - Establish controls]

PRINCE2® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce in the United Kingdom and other countries.

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.