PRINCE2: An Introduction to the Project Management Methodology

By Piyush Bhatia 21-Dec-2022
PRINCE2: An Introduction to the Project Management Methodology
PRINCE2 is an acronym for Projects in Controlled Environments, one of the world's most used project management methodologies. In fact, project management teams across 150 countries use it. 

The Principles of PRINCE2

The PRINCE2 methodology is built on seven fundamental principles.

The projects must have a rational justification.

Every project needs to have a defined target audience, clearly defined purpose, rational and emotional benefits and a detailed budget.

Every stage is a learning process. 

There is something to be learned at every step of the process, and these lessons need to be recorded. This will allow improvement in work in the future.

Every role is clearly defined.

Each person who is part of the project knows what they are working on and their teammates' task responsibilities. 

Execution is done in stages.

PRINCE2 ensures that a project is divided into more minor work phases. There are also regular reviews to record learnings and ensure the project is on track.

The project board manages by exception.

Project board members are almost always senior business executives. Since they don't have time to manage daily operations, they draw up fixed requirements such as the scope of work, time, costs, risks, etc. and delegate it to the project manager for overseeing the project. Project managers have the power to direct the team if the project is exceeding the budget or timelines. However, if there is a change in the fixed requirements that the board sets up, it is the board that decides the way forward. 

There is a constant focus on quality.

There are regular quality checks to ensure the project is on track.

The methodology is customised for different projects.

The PRINCE2 methodology has room for adjustment depending on the needs of different client projects. Changes are made based on the oversight of planning required for the project, the work delegation, team size, and other relevant factors.

The PRINCE2 Process

The PRINCE2 methodology is made up of steps that ultimately help you achieve the project goal. There are seven steps to the project that all have a dedicated set of actions that help to direct and deliver your project.

Step 1: Plan the Project

This is the first step, and it's where the project board and manager decide if the project is viable. Once the project is confirmed, the board needs to approve it. At this step, a business brief is needed containing the best way forward, the execution plan, the name of the executive, and a thorough stage-wise plan of execution. It's best to carry out due diligence before starting so that time and money can be saved.

Step 2: Start the Execution

At this step, there are many questions to be addressed. For instance, what is the objective and reason behind doing the project, the benefits and risks, and how can you find and resolve them? To find these answers, define the scope of your project, which includes a timeline for delivering quick results without compromising on the quality. It would help if you also established how the project's progress should be defined and how to inform the executives. The various activities in this step are risk construction, configuration, and communication, including quality management strategies. You also need to establish controls along with the plan and project documentation.

Step 3: Direct the Project

This step aims to hold the project board accountable for the project because they take all the guiding decisions. They have the authority to start the project, deliver the resulting product and close the project. The project board also offers control and direction throughout the project. They also review the benefits of the project by working closely with program management and corporate entities. 

Step 4: The Control Stage

At this step, the project manager delegates tasks and responsibilities to tackle issues that arise and reports the project's progress to the board. The actions under this step are the authorisation of a work package, review of the project's status and progress, and quality analysis on completion. Project managers also compare progress and review the project plan, document any issues that arise, and resolve them. 

Step 5: Product Delivery Management

This process in the PRINCE2 methodology involves managing the project product delivery and controlling the work between the team and the project manager. Activities under this step include acceptance and delivery of the work package and ensuring its completion.

Step 6: Stage Boundary Management

This step has two parts. First, the project board gets a performance overview by the project manager, along with updates on the project plan and business cases and a plan of action for the final next step. Next, the information that the project manager provides helps the project board to review the present stage, approve the next stage, and review the latest plan. Activities in this step are planning for the next stage and reporting on the end of the stage.

Step 7: Closing the Project

The final process aims to ensure that the project has achieved all its goals within the stipulated timeline. Project managers may prepare planned and premature closure on certain occasions, but it's not always required or mandatory. The required actions during this stage are handing over the final product, evaluating the final product and project, and recommending to the project board to close the project officially. 

Getting a PRINCE2 Certification

The PRINCE2 methodology can be learned by acquiring a certification credential. This is done by studying a training course with an organisation like Koenig and passing an exam conducted both offline and online. The PRINCE2 certifications come in 4 stages:
  • PRINCE2 2017 (Foundation)
  • PRINCE2 2017 (Practitioner)
  • PRINCE2 Agile (Foundation)
  • PRINCE2 Agile ( Practitioner)
These certification courses and the exam fees can be anywhere between $550 and $1000 based on the level and the certification organisation you decide on.

The Main Roles in PRINCE2

The three primary roles in the PRINCE2 methodology are the project board, project manager and project team. There are also many additional supplemental roles that help meet requirements and standards throughout the course of the project.
  • The customer is the one who pays for the completion of the project.
  • The user is the one who will use the deliverables and end product or be impacted by the outcome. 
  • Suppliers are the subject matter experts who come with the knowledge required to finish the project. They help to design or build the end product.
  • The project manager is in charge of the organisation, planning and overseeing of the project work. The project manager selects and manages those in charge of project tasks and is responsible for ensuring work is done correctly and on time. 
  • The project team and manager are the ones responsible for executing the project tasks. The team manager looks at detailed aspects of daily work and directly reports to the project manager. 
  • The administrator is responsible for setting up meetings, keeping everyone up to date, tracking documentation and other roles. For smaller projects, this role is carried out by project managers themselves. But on larger projects, this is not always possible. 

ALSO READ: 6 Major Factors Affecting Project Management Success in your Organisation

Want to know more about the PRINCE2 methodology and explore the stellar career prospects it offers? Get enrolled in a training course with Koenig today. 

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Piyush Bhatia

Piyush is a highly-accomplished PMP Certified Project Manager Trainer with a verifiable track record of managing complex IT and Financial projects. He has extensive experience in the implementation of Business Analysis tasks, Client Management, Financial Accounting, and Risk Management.