PRINCE2 - a robust Project Management methodology

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First things first – what is Project Management?

A project by definition is a temporary organisation or an actionable team that function with a defined beginning and marked ending, functioning within constraints such as scope, time and budget. It is undertaken to achieve unique set of goals and objectives. Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, securing, and managing resources to achieve specific goals, typically to bring about beneficial change or added value. The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast with business as usual (or operations), which are repetitive, permanent, or semi-permanent functional activities to produce a product or service. The ambitious challenge is to optimise the allocation and integrate the inputs necessary to meet pre-defined objectives.

 

What is PRINCE2®?

PRINCE2 is a process based methodology that helps effective project management. It is a simple hands-on method with a structured and controlled start, middle and end to a project.

 

PRINCE2 was established in 1989 by CCTA (the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency - UK government agency providing computer and telecoms support), since renamed the OGC (the Office of Government Commerce) and quite recently named Cabinet Office (CO). PRINCE2 was earlier abbreviated form of PRojects IN Controlled Environments. It is the standard for Project management in UK and is now gaining popularity world-wide by sheer effectiveness.

 

Is PRINCE2 comparable to PMP?

Yes and No. Both are project management frameworks, comparable and most importantly complement each other. The difference lies in their approach – PRINCE2 is a general flexible framework while PMP is about tools and techniques.

 

What are the advantages of PRINCE2?

The key advantages are:

·         Logical project flow – makes it highly advantageous for easy adoption and implementation

·         Flexible to adapt and adopt, can be used in industry of any size and type

·         Practical and structured approach of processes

·         Project organisation is better defined and supportive of measurable project success

·         The product-based planning ensures high quality product delivery through constant Quality Reviews

·         Structure is based on `what’ needs to be done rather than `how’ to do it (tools & techniques e.g., PMP)

 

When is a project said to follow a proper PRINCE2 framework?

A proper PRINCE2 framework consists of 8 Processes, 8 Components and 3 Techniques.

 

8 Processes

8 Components

3 Techniques*

Starting a project

Business case

Product based planning

Directing a project

Organisation

Change control

Initiating a project

Plans

Quality review

Managing stage boundaries

Controls

 

Controlling a stage

Management of risk

 

Managing product delivery

Quality in a project management

 

Planning

Configuration management

 

Closing a project

Change control

 

*There can be multitude of techniques like managing team, calculate costs, evaluate risks, evaluate progress, etc which PMP covers in much more detail. The flexibility of PRINCE2 is that any of these techniques could be built into the project plan.

There is also no such thing as `almost' PRINCE2 methodology, it is either a full methodology or none at all. 

 

Where to make a start?

Study

First, study if you have multiple projects or a single running long term project. This will help in understanding the stability of project dynamics, planning and identifying crucial members of the project team.

Qualification

The next step is to make sure that every proposed team member undergoes proper training and attaining PRINCE2 Practitioner. This is at a qualification level and who by experience gains expertise. There are two levels in the qualification:

PRINCE2 Foundation

PRINCE2 Practitioner

 

The trainings are provided by Accredited Training Organisations. These are professional training organisations who are accredited by APMG. On completion of the training (usually between 2 – 3 days for Foundation level and 3 – 5 days for Practitioner level0, delegates take the exams designed and offered by APMG, and administered by the ATOs. On successful completion delegates receive the appropriate certificate from APMG-International.

 

Project development

Subsequent to having a qualified project team, the corporate which defines the general framework appoints the Project Board including the Executive who is accountable to the Corporate for the project success. The Project Manager is appointed to manage the project, optionally a Project Assurance team is appointed and so also a Team manager. On appointment, the roles and responsibilities are clearly defined including who is accountable to who. During the progress of the project, there is a mechanism for continuous monitoring for quality and speed of the project. There can be continuous improvement plans as well.

 

Completion of the project

On completion of the project, there will be a formal closing to the project. The project can be successful depending on whether the scope of the project has been met and success derived. If at any stage of the project if it is found to be not viable, there is a mechanism to formally close the project.

For further reading / understanding of PRINCE2 or the qualifications you may visit the following web pages:

-       http://www.apmg-international.com/home/Qualifications/PRINCE2Qual.aspx

-     http://www.apmg-international.com/home/AO_Search/apm_Search.aspx?txtCompanyName=&ddlProductCategories=493%7CPRINCE2%C2%AE&ddlCountries=&lstLanguagesOffered=

or visit the webpage: http://www.apmg-international.com/home/offices/offices.aspx

or call APMG-India on +91 80 65836280

- by Manoj Sethu

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