Join Claudine Peet for an in-depth discussion in this video The principles of PRINCE2, part of Learning PRINCE2.
- So what is it that makes PRINCE2 different from other methods? The basic foundations upon which PRINCE2 is built is what makes it unique. PRINCE2 first started by looking at why a project failed and then also by looking at why projects were successful and asking why were these successful? From the study, it identified that organizations needed to support a number of key principles in order for the project to be successful. If any of these principles were not supported by the organization, then the chances of success were a lot less likely.
Think of these as good solid foundations on which to build your successful projects. These will form the basis of your best practice approach to product management. PRINCE2 identified seven principles for successful project management. The first is ensuring continuous business justification. Imagine what would happen if your organization did not consider whether a project was worthwhile. It could mean that resources and money are being wasted by undertaking projects which have no benefit to the organization.
This principle, if supported, means the organization should first of all, insist on a business case being created before the project starts to justify it starting and then reviewing this regularly to assess if the project should continue. The next principle is learning from experience. We all know the importance of lessons learned and many of us write a lessons report post-project, but have you asked yourself, what happens to these reports? So, what could your organization do to support this principle? Well, how about having a lessons learned library or setting up a continuous improvement group that reviews the lessons and communicates them into the right areas of the business? Another important principle is to define roles and responsibilities.
Imagine what would happen if no one had responsibility or accountability for anything on the project. It would be chaos. Everyone involved in the project should know exactly what role they'll be fulfilling and the associated responsibilities for that role To support this principle, your organization should check that the terms of reference or role descriptions are provided to all team members and to allocate the correct level of authority to the project team members to perform their role. Furthermore, allowing those involved in the project the time to dedicate to the project will also be necessary.
Next, you need to manage by stages. Our organizations will want to see a plan. They wanna know how long and how much and when. However, while it might seem a good idea to have a detailed plan at the start of the project, it's often very difficult to plan in detail right at the beginning. PRINCE2 proposes that an organization should have a high-level plan covering the whole project, but the detail will only be added on a stage-by-stage basis. which makes committing resources and time much more accurate.
So, to support this principle, the organization will expect the detail to be agreed upon at designated stage breaks during the project. Also, you'll need to manage by exception. Making changes and dealing with issues can often mean that the project needs some more time or some more money. Do the decision makers in the project want to deal with each and every one of these every time it arises? Probably not. So, to overcome this and support this principle, your organization will provide the project with tolerances within which to work.
These provide some flexibility for the project teams to deal with these deviations. If the tolerances are exceeded, there's a clearly defined exception process that can be followed to authorize these. It's important to also focus on the products. There's nothing worse than delivering something to a customer and then they're unhappy with it because it didn't meet their expectations. Ultimately, the project needs to deliver a product or a deliverable that is fit for purpose. This principle can be supported by providing clear requirements and specifications for the deliverables and checking or ensuring that these are delivered to the customer at the end of the project.
Finally, you must tailor to suit the project environment. While the PRINCE2 provides best practice guidance on how to manage a project, it also acknowledges that not every business works the same way. To account for this, every organization would need to adapt the PRINCE2 approach to suit the environment in which they do work. You would have to consider what factors make a project unique and then decide how best to apply the PRINCE2 method. How many of these principles do you see present in your organization? Do you see the support of actions taking place? If not, they should be addressed by the senior management and by changing their behavior and supporting these principles by providing an environment that is conducive to delivering successful projects.
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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