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Published On: Mon, Feb 18th, 2019

Everything you Need to Know About PRINCE 2

Have you heard of terms such as PMP or PRINCE2 and wondered what they are? In the world of project management, these terms represent the methodologies used to manage medium to large projects. These projects are substantial in size and scale, employing hundreds or thousands of people.

While PMP (Project Management Professional) is a training and certification programme, Projects IN Controlled Environments or PRINCE2 is more of a project management discipline, with its own PRINCE2 certification in place. Many budding project managers face the dilemma of choosing one over the other in the race to reach the top of the ladder. Knowing more about PRINCE2 should make things a lot easier and will help you make an informed decision.

photo Gerd Altmann via pixabay

What is PRINCE2?

The origins of PRINCE2 date back to 1989, when it introduced as a government standard in the UK. However, it is currently managed by AXELOS. It is a joint venture between the Cabinet Office and Capita PLC, established in 2013. It superseded PRINCE, which in itself was based on a separate project management methodology called PROMPT.

AXELOS develops various frameworks for best practices in the information technology sector. It also maintains and evolves methodologies for project management among other things. PRINCE2 is one of many such frameworks. However, it is ahighly structured project management approach, which concerns itself with public sector projects. It is said that although it is ideally suited for large projects, it can be easily adapted to other projects.

The ‘Three Sevens’

This framework operates with a three-pronged approach. The base or the pillars of its operation are the ‘three sevens’. The first pillar is called ‘seven principles’, which are:

  1. Continued Business Justification – The project under consideration should have a tangible return on investment of time and resources.
  2. Learn from Experience – Project teams should continuously evolve and improve based on lessons from earlier projects.
  3. Defined Roles and Responsibilities – Every person in the project team should have clearly defined borders of operation. Each member should know who they are, what they do and have knowledge of the decision makers.
  4. Manage by Stages – Bigger or difficult tasks should be segregated into manageable stages.
  5. Manage by Exception – Intervention from management or senior management is only necessary in exceptional cases.
  6. Focus on Products – Product requirements should be known to everyone on the team beforehand, and should define the work.
  7. Tailor to the Environment – Adjust the framework according to the project at hand, forgoing rigidity.

The second pillar is called ‘seven themes’. Themes allow a project to be monitored and kept on track properly. They are:

  1. Business Case – Determines the feasibility of the project.
  2. Organisation – A concrete hierarchy of team members on record.
  3. Quality – Defined before the project starts off.
  4. Plans – Determines the strategies to effectively manage the deliverable, cost, time, quality and benefits.
  5. Risk – Comprehensive risk assessment ensures contingencies in every possible case.
  6. Change – Agree on the changes required in the project beforehand to manage such requests effectively.
  7. Progress – Monitoring progress allows project managers to keep the project from going off rails and record all tasks.

The third one is called the ‘seven processes’. These define how a project is carried out from start to finish:

  1. SP (Starting Up a Project)
  2. IP (Initiating the Project)
  3. DP (Directing a Project)
  4. CS (Controlling a Stage)
  5. MP (Managing Product Delivery)
  6. SB (Managing Stage Boundaries)
  7. CP (Closing a Project)

Benefits of PRINCE2

PRINCE2 creates innate benefits to the project managers and organisations that manage to adopt it successfully. For individuals, it inculcates a sense of efficiency in controlling projects and managing resources. For organisations, PRINCE2 brings orderliness and consistency to the projects. In turn, this means better choice of projects and enhanced return on investments in those projects.

Training and certification for PRINCE2 is an exhaustive process, but the returns in employability and quality in project management are well worth it. It has held its own position in wake of other project management methodologies, which proves its timeless value.

Author: Merin Mathew

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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