PRINCE2 Project Management Methodology

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What Is PRINCE2?

PRINCE2 is an acronym for Projects IN Controlled Environments. It’s a process-based method for managing a project. As noted, it’s been mostly used by the government in the United Kingdom, but it’s also prevalent in the private sector in the United Kingdom and other places around the world. The key features of PRINCE2 focus on business justification, defining the structure of an organization for the project management team and using a product-based approach. There’s an emphasis on dividing the project into manageable and controllable stages, with flexibility. PRINCE2 provides great control over project resources and excels at managing business and project risk more effectively.

History of PRINCE2

First established in 1989 by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA), PRINCE2 was originally based on PROMPT, another acronym that stands for Project Resource Organization Management Planning Technique, which was created in 1975 and used by the United Kingdom for its information system projects. PRINCE2 was finally published in 1996, and surprisingly, it is in the public domain.

The PRINCE2 Process

The PRINCE2 process contains the steps that lead to the project objective. There are seven processes that guide the project, each with a set of related activities to help direct, manage and deliver the project.

  1. Start Up the Project

    This is where it’s determined whether the project is viable. Once confirmed, it must be approved by the project board. This includes a project brief which contains the business case, the best way to do the project, the name of the person chosen to execute it and a detailed stage plan, which indicates the work that needs to be done by the initiation stage. Activities of this process include the trigger, which is a high-level document stating the project’s mandate. Also, it’s important to do the due diligence before the project is executed to save time and money once the project has started.

  2. Initiate the Project

    During this process, several questions need to be addressed: What work must be done in the project? What are the reasons for the project, including risks and benefits and how they’ll be identified and resolved? To answer, define the project scope, including when the products can be delivered without compromising quality. Define how to monitor the project’s progress and who needs to know and how they’ll be informed. The activities associated with this process include constructing risk, configuration, quality and communications management strategies. Also, set up project controls, along with project plan and project initiation documentation.

  3. Direct the Project

    This process is to help the project board be accountable to the project through their decision-making. They have authority on initiating the project, delivering its product and closing the project. They also offer direction and control during the project. Additionally, they work with the corporate entities or program management and review post-project benefits. Activities related to this process include authorizing the initiation, the project itself and the stages of the project. Other direction is offered as needed until project closure is authorized.

  4. Control Stages

    This is where the project manager assigns tasks, monitors that work, deals with whatever issues arise and reports on its progress to the project board. Activities in this process include authorizing a work package with the team, reviewing its status and progress, and checking on its quality when complete. One must also review and compare progress to the project plan, capture any issues and risks and act to resolve them.

  5. Manage Product Delivery

    This process manages the delivery of the project product, controlling the work between the project manager and the team. Activities associated with this process include accepting the work package, executing the work package and delivering the work package to make sure it’s complete.

  6. Manage Stage Boundary

    There are two parts to this process: firstly, the project manager provides the project board with an overview of performance, updates the project plan and business case, and creates a plan for the next stage. Secondly, the information provided by the project manager will help the project board review the current stage, approve the next and review the updated plan. Activities include planning the next stage and reporting on the stage end.

  7. Close the Project

    This process is about making sure the project achieved its goals and objectives by the deadline. Sometimes project managers prepare the planned closure and the premature closure, but that’s not required. Mandatory activities include handing over the product, evaluating the project and recommending its closure to the project board to officially close it out.

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