Monday, May 26, 2014

Prince 2 Overview

What is PRINCE2?

PRojects IN Controlled Environment [PRINCE2] is a non-proprietary method used extensively in more than 150 countries around the world, and its take-up grows daily. It is widely considered as the leading method in project management, with in excess of 20,000 organizations already benefiting from its pioneering and trusted approach. This is largely due to the fact that PRINCE2 is truly generic: it can be applied to any project regardless of scale, type, organization, geography or culture.
PRINCE2 comprises a set of principles; a set of control themes, a process lifecycle and guidance on matching the method to the project’s environment (see Figure 1). PRINCE2 provides a process model for managing a project. This consists of a set of activities that are required to direct, manage and deliver a project.

Benefits of PRINCE2

PRINCE2 provides the following benefits:

  • PRINCE2 can be applied to any type of project
  • It provides a common vocabulary and approach
  • PRINCE2 integrates easily with industry-specific models
  • The product focus clarifies for all parties what the project will deliver to agreed quality standards
  • PRINCE2 applies ‘management by exception’ providing efficient use of senior management time
  • It ensures a focus on the continuing viability of the project
  • It provides explicit definitions of roles and responsibilities so that everyone understands what


The PRINCE2 principles are the guiding obligations for good practice that a project should follow if it is using PRINCE2. These are derived from lessons, both good and bad, that have affected project success.
The principles provide a framework of good practice for those people involved in a project – ensuring that the method is not applied in an overly prescriptive way or in name only, but applied in a way sufficient to contribute to the success of the project.

Figure 1 Structure of Prince 2

Continued business justification
A PRINCE2 project has continued business justification
Learn from experience
PRINCE2 project teams learn from previous experience (lessons are sought, recorded and acted upon throughout the life of the project)
Defined roles and responsibilities
A PRINCE2 project has defined and agreed roles and responsibilities with an organizational structure that engages the business, user and supplier stakeholder interests
Manage by stages
A PRINCE2 project is planned, monitored and controlled on a stage-by-stage basis
Manage by exception
A PRINCE2 project has defined tolerances for each project objective to establish limits of delegated authority
Focus on products
A PRINCE2 project focuses on the definition and delivery of products, in particular their quality requirements
Tailor to suit the project environment
PRINCE2 is tailored to suit the project’s size, environment, complexity, importance, capability and risk


The PRINCE2 themes are those aspects of project management that need to be addressed continually throughout the project lifecycle (i.e. not once only). They provide guidance on how the process should be performed. For example, numerous processes in PRINCE2 involve creating or approving plans and explanatory guidance on this can be found in the plans theme.

The set of PRINCE2 themes describes:
·         How baselines for benefits, risks, scope, quality, cost and time are established (in the Business Case, quality and plans themes)
·         How the project management team monitors and controls the work as the project progresses (in the progress, quality, change and risk themes).
The organization theme supports the other themes with a structure of roles and responsibilities with clear paths for delegation and escalation.

 Questions answered by the theme
Business Case
 How? How much? When?
 What if?
 What’s the impact?
 Where are we now? Where are we going? Should we carry on?


Figure 2 Prince 2 Process Model

PRINCE2 provides a process model for managing a project. This consists of a set of activities that are required to direct, manage and deliver a project.
Starting up a Project:  Covers the pre-project activities required to commission the project and to gain commitment from corporate or programme management to invest in project initiation by answering the question: ‘Do we have a viable and worthwhile project?’
Directing a Project:  Describes the Project Board’s activities in exercising overall project control. The activities focus on the decision making necessary for Project Board members to fulfil their accountabilities successfully while delegating the day-today management of the project to the Project Manager.
Initiating a Project:  Describes the activities the Project Manager must lead in order to establish the project on a sound foundation. Every PRINCE2 project has an initiation stage. The key deliverable from this stage is the Project Initiation Documentation, which includes an overall Project Plan and defines baselines for the six project performance targets of time, cost, quality, scope, risk and benefits.
Managing a Stage Boundary:  Describes the activities the Project Manager must undertake to provide the Project Board with sufficient information to enable it to review the success of the current stage, approve the next Stage Plan, review the updated Project Plan and confirm continued business justification and acceptability of the risks.
Controlling a Stage:  Describes how the Project Manager manages the project execution/delivery activity during a stage, and reports progress and exceptions to the Project Board.
Managing Product Delivery:  Addresses the Team Manager’s role in supervising the detailed work of creating the project’s products and provides the link between the Project Manager and the teams undertaking the project work.
Closing a Project:  Describes the closure activity towards the end of the final stage of the project. The Project Manager leads the process which provides for an orderly decommissioning, including any remaining project acceptance and handover requirements.

The project environment

It is a PRINCE2 principle that the method must be tailored to suit the particular project context.
Tailoring refers to the measures taken to apply the method properly to an individual project, ensuring that the amount of governance, planning and control is appropriate – neither too burdensome for a simple project nor too informal for a large or complex project.

The adoption of PRINCE2 across an organization is known as embedding.

Embedding (done by the organization to adopt PRINCE2)
Tailoring (done by the project management team to adapt the method to the context of a specific project)
Focus on:
Focus on:
·         Process responsibilities
·         Scaling rules/guidance (e.g. score card)
·         Standards (templates, definitions)
·         Training and development
·         Integration with business processes
·         Tools
·         Process assurance
·         Adapting the themes (through the strategies and controls)
·         Incorporating specific terms/language
·         Revising the Product Descriptions for the management products
·         Revising the role descriptions for the PRINCE2 project roles
·         Adjusting the processes to match the above

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