PRINCE2 Methodology in Project Management – A Complete Overview
PRojects IN a Controlled Environment (PRINCE2) is a process-based project management methodology that aims at improving the organization, management, and control of the project phases from beginning to end.
The approach in PRINCE2 with agile project management is outcome-based which means that more emphasis lies on the end result rather than planning out the project meticulously.
Originating from the United Kingdom in the ’80s, PRINCE2 has become a popular project management methodology worldwide.
The 7 principles of the PRINCE2 methodology
Like all other methodologies used in managing projects, PRINCE2 carries some fundamental principles which form the backbone of all projects carried out through PRINCE2. Adhering to these principles ensures that PRINCE2’s best practice is incorporated efficiently.
1. Business justification for projects
A fundamental principle at the heart of PRINCE2 is that each project must have a clearly defined objective, a goal, a customer, tangible benefits or profits, and a comprehensive cost assessment of the project. This helps the team to stay focused towards a clear goal and allows them to work towards a clear benefit and incentive.
2. Continuous learning
The PRINCE2 project management methodology highly regards continuous learning for teams. At each stage of the project, teams should take note of the key lessons learned and make sure that they incorporate them at the later stages or even in future projects.
3. Clear distinction of roles and responsibilities
At each stage of the project, the roles and responsibilities should be clearly defined for individuals and teams. This cuts the clutter and everyone is clear about what they’re responsible for and what is expected of them. This also gives a clear performance metric for all team members.
4. Phase-wise Approach
In the PRINCE2 methodology, each project is divided into distinct phases and at the completion of every phase, phase outcomes and lessons learned are noted. This also helps to keep track of the direction in which the project is heading.
5. Manage by exception
The board of directors over any project doesn’t have enough time to delegate project tasks daily. They manage this situation by assigning the baseline requirements of projects.
These requirements can be cost, time, risk assessment, and managing project scope. Guided by these baseline metrics, the project supervisors can intervene if the project phases are going overtime or over budget but if such issues arise.
This can disturb the established baseline requirements, and then these issues must be dealt with by the board of directors themselves, in whatever manner they think is suitable.
6. Focus on product quality
Teams must ensure that there is no gap between the project deliverables and the project requirements. For this, the quality of the deliverables must be constantly checked and measured by the teams.
7. Custom approach for projects
With the PRINCE2 Methodology, the approach for different projects can be tailored according to the resources and time available. Different parameters such as the number of team members and the amount of oversight and planning for each phase of the project can be customized.
The 7 themes of PRINCE2 Methodology
PRINCE2 Methodology themes guide the project planners as to how the principles are put in practice. Let’s look at the themes that preset at the start of the project and adhere during the course of the project:
1. Business Case
This helps to decide whether the project at hand is deliverable, viable, and worthwhile.
This theme guides the project managers to clearly delegate and keep track of the roles and responsibilities of teams and individuals.
It helps to deliver the best quality product by clearly defining what would constitute the best quality product or service being delivered.
This theme provides a roadmap as to how the targets will be achieved. Different parameters such as benefits, cost, and quality are considered under this theme.
A risk log is drafted in which the potential risks are identified and categorized. Risks may come in the form of threats and opportunities where the former case is referred to as negative risks and the latter as positive risks.
This theme helps to adapt. Change can come in the form of both project requirements or implementation strategies. The idea is that each change is agreed upon before work starts towards incorporating it.
The project progress is determined by comparing where the project should be according to the plan. By working on this theme, it can be identified whether the project is on track or off the rails.
The 7 processes of the PRINCE2 methodology
The PRINCE2 project management methodology gives a series of processes in a sequence through which each project has to go to achieve maximum efficiency.
1. Starting up a project
Here a customer submits a request for a new project which is called a project mandate. This mandate is then evaluated and it is determined whether or not the company can take up the project.
Once approved, the customer submits a detailed proposal regarding the resources, actions, and other information about the project.
2. Directing the project
Now the viability of the project is analyzed and the project is assigned to a project manager.
3. Project initiation
The project manager prepares a plan in which different parameters such as the cost, time required, quality, advantages, risk, and project scope are covered.
4. Stage control
The project is subdivided into stages and teams are assigned for each stage. The project manager tracks the performance and issues of each stage.
5. Product delivery management
The project manager makes sure that there is no gap between deliverables and quality expectations. The project board makes a final evaluation and either approve the product or request revisions.
6. Managing stage boundaries
At the closing of each stage, the manager and the board will review the outcomes of that stage to ensure that the project is on the right track.
7. Project closing
Project closing marks the closing of the outcomes, documentation, and reporting.
Documentation types in the PRINCE2 methodology
Documentation is a key part of the different stages of any project. This helps in keeping the project on track and submitting information to the board for review and quality checks.
Some of the types of documents in PRINCE2 project management methodology include:
Explains the need for the project and what benefits it can bring to the company and the user.
The chances of risks and opportunities and their effect on the project are maintained here.
This log is to make sure that there are no gaps between expectations and deliverables.
Used to list all the issues highlighted by team members.
It contains a record of the lessons learned from previous stages.
Written by the manager himself, it contains the daily report on performance and outcomes.
Pros and cons of the PRINCE2 methodology
|1. The entire framework is so flexible that it can be incorporated in just any type of project.||1.if you don’t like excessive documentation, then PRINCE2 isn’t for you.|
|2. For better communication and accountability in your projects, then PRINCE2 project management is among the best for you.||2. At every stage, there’s loads of documentation to maintain and update.|
|3. It focuses more on outputs and provides for continuous improvement so progress and results are guaranteed.||3. Due to the lack of involvement and time the senior management usually has, this inevitably slows down the project.|
As a project manager, the bulk of your focus goes into choosing the right project management methodology for your team. A methodology typically gives you a framework involving techniques, practices, principles, and ideals to guide the way the project needs to move forward. PRINCE2 has proven its success and has become a renowned approach to handling projects. With the above points in mind, you can decide if PRINCE2 is the right fit for their projects and teams.
If you feel, this may not be the right framework, here are other popular methodologies:
Popular project management methodologies include,
It’s the project manager’s decision whether or not to go with any particular approach and that decision can be best made after evaluating the project’s requirements, the available resources, and the project team’s ability to adhere to the methodology.