PRINCE2 is a process-based approach for project management providing an easily
tailored, and scaleable method for the management of all types of projects.
Each process is defined with its key inputs and outputs together with the
specific objectives to be achieved and activities to be carried out.
describes how a project is divided into manageable stages enabling efficient
control of resources and regular progress monitoring throughout the project.
The various roles and responsibilities for managing a project are fully
described and are adaptable to suit the size and complexity of the project,
and the skills of the organization. Project planning using PRINCE2 is
product-based which means the project plans are focused on delivering results
and are not simply about planning when the various activities on the project
will be done.
A PRINCE2 project
is driven by the project¡¦s business case which describes the organisation¡¦s
justification, commitment and rationale for the deliverables or outcome. The
business case is regularly reviewed during the project to ensure the business
objectives, which often change during the lifecycle of the project, are still
Diagram: Scope of
different groups of people involved in projects: the customer, one or more
suppliers, and of course the user. PRINCE2 is designed to provide a common
language across all the interested parties involved in a project. Bringing
customers and suppliers together typically involves contracts and contract
management, although these aspects are outside the scope of PRINCE2, the
method provides the necessary controls and breakpoints to work successfully
within a contractual framework.
PRINCE2 is a structured method providing organizations with a standard
approach to the management of projects. The method embodies proven and
established best-practice in project management. It is widely recognized and
understood, and so provides a common language for all participants in the
benefits to the organization, as well as the managers and directors of the
project, through the controllable use of resources and the ability to manage
business and project risk more effectively. PRINCE2 enables projects to have :
A controlled and organized
start, middle and end;
Regular reviews of progress
against plan and against the Business Case;
Flexible decision points;
Automatic management control
of any deviations from the plan;
The involvement of management
and stakeholders at the right time and place during the project;
Good communication channels
between the project, project management, and the rest of the organization.
What is PRINCE2?
Before we go into
the specifics of PRINCE2, there are some general points about the subject of
project management, which should help put everything into context...
Why project management is important
Whenever we decide we want to do something, go somewhere, build something,
achieve something, we need to know the answer to some questions. What are we
trying to do? When will we start? What do we need? Can we do it alone, or do
we need help? How long will it take? How much will it cost? These are typical
questions asked at the start of any project and the answers are the building
blocks of project management - defining what we want to do and working out the
best way we can do it.
Structured project management means managing the project in a logical,
organized way, following defined steps. A structured project management method
is the written description of this logical, organized approach. PRINCE2 is a
structured project management method.
We have briefly covered what structured project management, and hence PRINCE2,
are all about. Now for some more details about the PRINCE2 method.
PRINCE2 says that
a project should have:
An organized and controlled
start, i.e. organize and plan things properly before leaping in;
An organized and controlled
middle, i.e. when the project has started, make sure it continues to be
organised and controlled;
An organized and controlled
end, i.e. when you¡¦ve got what you want and the project has finished, tidy
up the loose ends.
In order to
describe what a project should do when, PRINCE2 has a series of processes
which cover all the activities needed on a project from starting up to closing
Organizing and controlling a project means that we need to have someone
responsible for doing the organizing and controlling - this person is called
the Project Manager. The Project Manager will select people to do the
work on the project and will be responsible for making sure the work is done
properly and on-time. The Project Manager draws up the Project Plans that
describe what the project team will actually be doing and when they expect to
who is paying for the project is called the customer or executive. The person
who is going to use the results or outcome of the project, or who will be
impacted by the outcome of a project, is called the user. On some projects,
the customer and user may be the same person. The person who provides the
expertise to do the actual work on the project (i.e. will be designing and
building the outcome) is called the supplier or specialist. All of these
people need to be organized and coordinated so that the project delivers the
required outcome within budget, on time and to the appropriate quality.
project will have a Project Board made up of the customer (or executive),
someone who can represent the user side and someone to represent the supplier
or specialist input. In PRINCE2, these people are called Customer, Senior User
and Senior Supplier respectively. The Project Manager reports regularly to the
Project Board, keeping them informed of progress and highlighting any problems
he/she can foresee. The Project Board is responsible for providing the Project
Manager with the necessary decisions for the project to proceed and to
overcome any problems.
independent view of how the project is progressing is the job of Project
Assurance. In PRINCE2, there are three views of assurance; business, user and
specialist. Each view reflects the interests of the three Project Board
members. Assurance is about checking that the project remains viable in terms
of costs and benefits (business assurance), checking that the users¡¦
requirements are being met (user assurance), and that the project is
delivering a suitable solution (specialist or technical assurance). On some
projects, the assurance is done by a separate team of people called the
Project Assurance Team, but the assurance job can be done by the individual
members of the Project Board themselves.
projects there is a lot of administrative work needed, keeping everyone
informed, arranging meetings, keeping plans up-to-date, chasing things up,
keeping files, etc. Project Managers often do all this work themselves,
particularly on smaller projects. But if there are a number of projects going
on at the same time, a Project Support Office can be setup to help the Project
Managers with this work.
describing the different people involved on a PRINCE2 project, and what they
are each responsible for, the method also explains how to manage risk, how to
manage quality, and how to control change on the project. Risk Management is
about working out what could go wrong and planning what to do if it does.
Quality Management is about checking the quality of work done on the project,
either by testing it or reviewing the work in some way. There are always lots
of changes during the life of a project; people change their minds, other
things happen, which affect what the project is doing. PRINCE2 has a technique
of controlling the way changes impact the project in order to prevent the
project going off in the wrong direction.
is a method for managing projects. It helps you work out who should be
involved and what they will be responsible for. It gives you a set of
processes to work through and explains what information you should be
gathering along the way. But PRINCE2 doesn¡¦t do the work for you, it cannot
guarantee that your projects will be successful. Good projects, which deliver
quality results, on-time and within budget are dependent on the quality of
people involved from Project Board down to individual team members.