PRINCE2 is a process-based approach that focuses on organization and control over the entire project, from start to finish. That means projects are thoroughly planned before kick-off, each stage of the process is clearly structured, and any loose ends are neatly tied up after the project concludes.
The 7 principles of PRINCE2
- Projects must have a business justification.
Each project must have a clear need, a defined customer, realistic benefits, and a detailed cost assessment.
- Teams should learn from every stage.
Lessons are sought and recorded at every step in the PRINCE2 process and then used to improve future work.
- Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined.
Everyone should know exactly what they’re responsible for — and what their teammates are responsible for.
- Work is planned and managed in stages
PRINCE2 breaks a project up into more manageable stages. At the end of each stage, teams can record lessons learned and evaluate whether the project is on track.
- Manage the team by exception
The project board (senior managers) initially determines the time, cost, and other project requirements and then leaves day-to-day management to the project manager. If issues arise that impact the requirements, the project manager would inform the board.
- Stay focused on the products
The team should always focus on meeting project requirements and keeping the quality high.
- Tailor this approach to meet project requirements
The PRINCE2 method allows for better control of resources and better business and project risk management. PRINCE2 identifies who should be involved in the project and what capacity. If a project does not adhere to these basic principles, then PRINCE2 is not the right way to manage the project.
- Starting up a project
Create a project mandate that includes a brief explanation of achievable goals and the necessity of the project. Has the mandate assessed? If approved, create a more detailed project brief.
- Directing a project
The project board discusses the expanded project brief. If it’s approved, they then identify all needed resources and delegate them to the project manager.
- Initiating a project
The project manager creates a plan and timeline for the project. They include checkpoints for six targets: time, cost, quality, scope, risk, and benefits.
- Controlling a project
Divide the project into smaller tasks and assign them to the team manager and project team. The project manager will monitor progress and make changes as needed.
- Managing product delivery
Compare the project’s progress to the original project brief. Review completed project tasks. The project board will then approve.
- Managing stage boundaries
The project board and manager review every stage of the project for quality and adherence to the plan. The review is a chance for the project board to decide to move to the next stage of the project or pause progress altogether.
- Closing a project
The project board will give final approval once deliverables are met. The project manager will complete any remaining documentation and reporting.
7 roles of the PRINCE2 methodology
There are three primary roles within a PRINCE2 method project: the project manager, the project team, and the project board. The project board consists of the customer, the end-user, and the supplier.
- The customer: Whoever is paying for the project.
- The user: Anyone who will use deliverables or will become impacted by the project’s outcome. In some instances, the user and the customer could be the same individual.
- The supplier: An expert whose knowledge and skills are needed to create the final product.
- The project manager: The individual who organizes the projects, delegates work/assignments, and keeps the project on schedule.
- The project team: The group that does the actual work and completes project tasks.
- The team manager: The leader of the project team and reports to the project manager.
- The administrator Owns all documentation, meeting schedules, and overall project facilitation. Depending on the size of the project, the admin role could be assumed by the project manager.
Types of PRINCE2 method documentation
Keep detailed records throughout the life of a project. Use them to check deliverables, report/communicate to the project board, and serve as a roadmap for when and where to make changes.
- Business case: A document that explains why the project is necessary and what benefits end users can anticipate.
- Risk register: A stock of potential risks, their probability to occur, and anticipated impact.
- Quality register: A record of quality assurance checks performed during the project.
- Issues register A running log of concerns and/or problems observed by project team members.
- Lesson’s log: An account of lessons learned from the project that could be applied to future projects.
- Daily log: A daily record kept by the project manager detailing project progress and activity.
The best way to fully understand PRINCE2 methodology is to apply the steps to a project of your own. Various PRINCE2 training, qualification, and certificates are available. Frequent process review throughout the life of a project leads to stronger results.