Friday, 8 June 2012

PRINCE2 project management basics

PRINCE2 project management methodology is a Registered Trade Mark (Crown Copyrighted) of the Office of Government Commerce in the United Kingdom and other countries. Due to this fact I am only going to share some basics of PRINCE2. The following article is not to be considered as a substitute of the official PRINCE2 documents but just to serve as a basic source of information and also to provoke your further interest in PRINCE2. It is highly recommended to purchase additional materials and courses and also to visit the official PRINCE2 site for more information.

PRINCE2 introduction

The Projects in a Controlled Environment is effective and widely used Project Management methodology. It is a structured method and could be incorporated in the management of very huge and expensive projects in different fields. PRINCE2 is also pretty much traditional kind of approach – very structural and the idea is to ensure that the project is broken down into stages and each stage is delivered in terms of scope, cost and due time.

PRINCE2 principles

There are seven basic PRINCE2 principles:
- Business justification at all stages of the project
This is to ensure that the final product delivered by the project should remain valuable at all project stages. The product idea should constantly be checked regarding the environment and if any changes and updates need to be introduced – they should be. It is imperative that the product/change is still important and valuable for the company while the project runs – otherwise the project should be canceled.

- Adjust and learn from experience
It is important for the PRINCE2 team to learn from the experience of the past projects. And it is even more important to adjust the current project management style based on the experience with the current team and project scope.

- Clearly defined roles and responsibilities
It is pretty much self-explanatory. All the roles and responsibilities should be defined in a clear manner.

- Manage by stages
As a traditional project management methodology – PRINCE2 – encourages the project manager and the project board to break the project into stages and implement them one after another (using waterfall method).

- Define management boundaries
For example the project manager could be allowed to do some changes in the scope of the project if they are not going to cost more than certain amount or take more time to be developed than certain time frame.

- Focus on product
The focus should always stay on the product that is supposed to be delivered/achieved by the execution of the project.

- Tune up to the specific project needs
As PRINCE2 methodology could be used to manage small and huge projects – the method could be tuned to fit the current project needs.  Some projects could just incorporate some parts of PRINCE2, for example the project management team structure.

PRINCE2 themes

- The Business Case
The business case is usually the initial idea of product/change that needs to be introduced for the organization. It pretty much answers the question “why should we do this?”

- Organization
The project is always a temporary organization. The sponsoring organization needs to ensure that the proper team members are assigned and available to participate in the project. It should answer the question – “who is involved in the project?”

- Project scope and quality boundaries
The project scope should outline what needs to be delivered in details.

- Planning
The planning is very important part of PRINCE2 project management. All the plans should include the costs, the teams involved and the due dates for all the stages.

- Risk management
Just like in any SWAT analysis - it is important to identify the potential risks/threats for the project and to assess the impact if a particular risk situation happens. There should also be a backup plan “what to do if there is a significant threat to the project”.

- Change management
Although PRINCE2 is a traditional project management method – it allows introduction of “change” in all project stages. The project scope, specifications, team and developments - could all be a subject of change.

- Keep track of the project progress
Following a PRINCE2 project roadmap, the project manager should always be aware of “where is the project now”, “what should be done next” and “what was already done”.

PRINCE2 team

There are four major parties involved in PRINCE2 project management.
- Corporate and Programme management
These are usually the stakeholders or the board of directors of the company. They are responsible for authorizing and funding the project. They also need to delegate the proper management rights to the Project Board.

- Project Board (directing project management)
The company directors – like the CEO, OPS director, Business development director, other directors, senior users of the product, etc... They are responsible for the major project directing and need to authorize the project initiation, the different project stages and to quality check the completed stages in terms of the project scope.

- Project Manager (project management)
The project manager is responsible for the daily project management. The project manager is the liaison between all the involved parties and reports directly to the Project Board.

- Team Manager and The Team (delivering management)
There could be several team managers. Development team manager, design team manager, Q/A team manager, etc... The project manager should delegate the proper development and implementation of particular tasks to the team managers/leaders. The team managers are responsible for the development of the product in terms of costs, due dates and quality assurance.


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  6. Risk management attempts to plan for and handle events that are uncertain in that they may or may actually occur. These are surprises. Some surprises are pleasant. We may plan an event for the public and it is so successful that twice as many people attend as we expected. A good turn-out is positive. However, if we have not planned for this possibility, we will not have resources available to meet the needs of these additional people in a timely manner and the positive can quickly turn into a negative.

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