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- You may be wondering why use a project management methodology. Surely it's just common sense. However, sometimes what makes sense to one person is not necessarily sensible for another. PRINCE2 is a framework designed to help project managers understand what they should be doing and when they should be doing it. It's a bit like a route planner that plots a journey from A to B. It may show places of interest along the way, but it doesn't provide detailed information about each attraction. Before we get into talking about the PRINCE2 framework, I'd like you to understand what PRINCE2 doesn't cover.
It doesn't focus on techniques or try to prescribe how to do something. For example, PRINCE2 suggests that you should do an investment appraisal as part of your business case, but there are no specific instructions as to how this should be done. This is because every organization will tackle this in a different way. So the important thing is that it is done. PRINCE2 also excludes specialist aspects such as procurement, HR, legal, or financial, because by defining approaches in these areas, the method would no longer be generic and applicable to all project environments.
Finally, another exclusion is the management of people. We all know that managing our teams and stakeholders is an important aspect of project management. But again, PRINCE2 will not prescribe how we should do this, as again, each organization may do this in a different way. What PRINCE2 does include is a framework based on sound principles or best business practice that provides a business environment suitable for delivering successful projects. With these principles in place, an organization will be exhibiting specific behaviors to support the project.
For example, to support defined roles and responsibilities, an organization would insist on every project having role descriptions written and agreed to by all team members. It also acknowledges that there are a number of common areas that need to be addressed for every project, which PRINCE2 calls Themes. These will set out how certain areas of the project environment should be managed continually throughout the project. For example, one Theme is called Plans. In PRINCE2 you don't create a plan at the beginning of the project and then just leave it.
It should be continually updated and reviewed to assess progress against actuals. Finally, there are Processes which provides guidance on activities that should be happening through the project life cycle. This means that we know what activities we should be doing at the beginning of the project, in the middle of the project, and at the end of the project, which are all going to be different. So you may be wondering why should I use PRINCE2. Maybe you already use another method such as PMP or APM or Agile or iTool for example.
PRINCE2 doesn't intend to be used instead of these methods but as a complement to them. Many of these methods focus on techniques specific to an industry, which PRINCE2 doesn't. PRINCE2's only concerned with the process of managing the project, so you'll find that you can easily combine these other methods with PRINCE2. There are some great benefits of using PRINCE2. First, it's widely used in a large number of countries and is a mature, proven method which originated in the UK government in the 1980s.
It's also applicable to any type of project in any environment, as it's truly generic, as it does not focus on specific techniques. It complements the use of other methodologies, as it's mainly process-driven, identifying what and when activities need doing. It's a highly adaptable approach, which can be tailored to suit a small project or scaled up to manage a large, complex project. It's focused on processes, but it's still based on proven principles.
And it uses common terminology, which provides clarity and understanding to all involved. So as you can see, PRINCE2 is a highly adaptable framework which can complement any other methodology that you're currently using to increase your chances of project success. As we proceed through this course, consider a project you may be working on or have worked on and how the framework could be beneficially applied.
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- Tailoring PRINCE2 for your projects
- Understanding the themes: quality, risk, change, and more
- Initiating a project
- Managing stages
- Delivering a product
- Closing a project