Complete project management training and guide based on PRINCE2
Complete project management training and guide based on PRINCE2. Today, the knowledge, and skill of project management have become key skills among managers and experts. Even if our work is not directly project management, the knowledge of project management shows itself everywhere in our profession. Maybe that’s why project management is the starting point for many who think about management. PRINCE2 (Prince) is one of the most common methods for project management, developed by AXELOS Institute. In this article, we will review PRINCE2.
What is PRINCE2?
PRINCE2 stands for Projects IN Controlled Environment. It is a process-based approach to project management. As mentioned, it is mostly used by the government in England, but it is also popular in the private sector in England and other parts of the world.
Key features of PRINCE2 focus on business justification, defining the organization structure for the project management team, and using a product-based approach. Emphasizes dividing the project into manageable steps, with flexibility. PRINCE2 has great control over project resources and excels in managing business and project risk more effectively.
History of PRINCE2
PRINCE2 was first developed in 1989 by the Central Computer and Communications Agency (CCTA), based on the older method PROMPT, which stands for Project Reservation Organization Planning Technique. This method was created in 1975 and was used by England for its information system projects. PRINCE2 was finally made available to the public in 1996.
The PRINCE2 method
The PRINCE2 method is used to answer and structure fundamental project management questions, including:
- What are you trying to do?
- When do you start it?
- What do you need to implement it?
- Do you need help?
- how long does it take?
- how much does it cost?
By organizing the project into logical stages, PRINCE2 requires a framework that has a regular and controlled plan before it starts, a framework that maintains organization in the middle stages of the project and its conclusion and completes unfinished work.
Control is achieved through a series of processes. These processes cover all the activities that make up a project from the beginning to the end.
Roles are clearly defined in the PRINCE2 methodology. The project manager is the person who is responsible for the organization and control of the project and its processes. He selects the team that will execute the project and supervises their work to make sure that it is done correctly and on time by following a plan.
A customer role is also defined, i.e. a user or supplier involved in the project. This is the role of the person or organization that pays for the project. He uses the product of the project or is somehow affected by its outcome. Sometimes the customer is the user, while the supplier is the party that provides expertise for the successful completion of the project. Like the project team, they need to be organized to ensure compliance with project requirements.
Finally, there is a project management board that consists of the client and executives, such as one person representing the user side and another representing suppliers or professionals involved in the project. The project manager regularly reports to the project board and informs them of progress and any problems. The project board, in turn, decides how to proceed with the project or settle.
The main parts of PRINCE2
PRINCE2 consists of 3 main parts which include Principles, Themes, and Processes.
These 3 sections specify the following respectively:
- Principles: Why
- Themes: What
- Processes: How
In addition, we must point out here that these 3 elements are related in the following way:
Principles of Prince (PRINCE2)
The PRINCE2 method is based on a set of 7 principles. Principles mean the foundations on which everything else in the methodology is based.
There are 7 principles in PRINCE2:
- Continue business justification
- Learning from experience
- Defined roles and responsibilities
- Manage steps
- Management by exception
- Focus on products
- adaptation to the environment
PRINCE2 is based on these principles for a very simple reason. Being principled means that the framework can be applied to any type, size, or scale of the project. In this way, the principles can be applied globally, both to a small domestic company project based in London and to a large international project involving many borders.
Over many years, these principles have been proven to be the most effective project management methods, that is, they are based on the best modern practices in project management. This means that they can be applied directly to projects and the project management team does not need to “reinvent” the project management methodology from scratch.
These principles also empower the project management team as it can give them more confidence and the ability to shape and manage their projects.
So, let’s take a look at each of these principles.
1- Continuation of business justification
The first principle of PRINCE2 emphasizes that the project must always be desirable, feasible, and achievable, or it must be closed. Optimal refers to the balance of costs, benefits, and risks. Executable refers to the ability to deliver the products, and achievable determines whether the use of the project’s products will lead to the expected results and benefits. The word “continue” in this principle emphasizes that these are questions that should be asked not only at the beginning, but continuously throughout the project.
The business case is updated throughout the project and is also used when the project starts. If the underlying factors of the business case change in such a way that the expected benefits can no longer be realized, the project should be closed early.
Changes detrimental to the business case are often related to the economy. For example, in 2008, the credit crisis led to the halt of many large construction projects.
It applies to mandatory projects
This principle also applies if the project is mandatory (e.g. the need to achieve compliance with new legislation) the organization needs to justify the chosen project, as there may be different options with different costs, benefits, and risks. have.
The business case contains the reasons for implementing the project and records the expected benefits in measurable terms. In PRINCE2, the expected benefits of a project are tolerated. If they fall below this tolerance, the business case is no longer viable.
For example, if a project is forced to be profitable, its mandate should set a profit threshold that determines the viability of the business case. If the expected profit decreases, the project should be stopped due to changing conditions.
Update step by step
In PRINCE2, project work should be divided into several phases for ease of management. The business case is updated at the end of the phase by the project manager, and these updated documents are presented to the project board when it is evaluated at the phase boundary.
Check the feasibility
At the end of the phase, the project board decides whether the business case is viable before approving the plan for the next phase. If the feasibility of the business case is a concern during a phase, a project issue can be raised to bring the issue to the project board as soon as possible before the end of the phase evaluation.
If a project is closed early, the organization must ensure that lessons are learned about the cause of the failure. In addition, one should try to get the maximum benefit from each output and result of the project.
Benefits are not always financial
For most commercial organizations, the business justification for projects is often a financial one, i.e. there is a return on investment (in terms of money). But business justification can be presented in other ways. Consider a proposal to equip a residential apartment block with a sprinkler system in case of fire. Such a project would have clear benefits (in terms of saving people’s lives in a fire) but would probably not expect a financial return on investment. Therefore, the decision to invest in such a project should consider the wider benefits in society to maintain the safety of citizens.
2- Learning from experience
As humans, we may repeat our mistakes. PRINCE2 addresses this tendency by requiring lessons learned from projects. This requirement is so important that it has become a principle in the method.
Be alert to the lessons
During a project, the project manager must be alert to potential lessons learned. These lessons can be identified in the many reports produced by the project management team.
Responsibility of the project manager
The responsibility of the project manager is to identify, document, and disseminate lessons by reporting lessons to the project board. Board members distribute course reports to relevant parties in various projects of the organization.
Apart from lessons learned during the current project, PRINCE2 also emphasizes the importance of lessons learned from previous projects. In PRINCE2, the project manager’s first activity when starting the project process is to create a lesson plan, in order to document previous lessons. Lesson reports may be produced at the end of each phase and are a required output to close the project process.
Audit and evaluation
When assessing the compliance of an organization’s approach to project management with PRINCE2, auditors may require evidence of lessons ‘learned’, for example, proof that steps have been taken to avoid repeating previous mistakes.
If the original strategy is corrected after a mistake, it is potential proof of a consistent quality control process.
For example, suppose the quality management approach for a software project calls for “user acceptance testing” but some of the users involved in this testing lack the necessary experience. In subsequent pilot phases, a more focused user group can be recruited in response to lessons learned about inappropriate users.
Recruitment based on lessons learned
Hiring someone with experience in a similar project or purchasing documents from a previous project can be an effective means of avoiding past mistakes. A number of prominent Olympic Games project managers in Sydney, Australia, were recruited to work on the London 2012 Olympic Games project management team and brought their lessons with them.
The organization’s project management office (PMO) should establish a lesson log repository, to ensure that lessons will be available for future projects. Learning from experience is critical to the PRINCE2 “best practice” approach to project management.
3- Specified roles and responsibilities
The principle of “specified roles and responsibilities” emphasizes that each person involved in a project should be made aware of the specific contribution they are expected to make to that project.
The likelihood of delivering a successful project is greatly improved if everyone knows what is expected of them. Any confusion about what should be done by whom and when can be detrimental to project progress.
For example, a lack of clear leadership is the main cause of project failure. By having defined roles and responsibilities, the risk of project failure due to ineffective leadership can be reduced.
This principle requires a management hierarchy; From the project board at the top to the project manager at the bottom, and then to the team manager. Hierarchy ensures project management using three well-defined management levels.
In a PRINCE2 project, the project board consists of three roles: chief executive, chief user, and chief supplier. Only one person has the executive role, but a number of other people may play other roles. If the project board members cannot agree on a particular issue, the executive director acts as the decision maker.
For small projects, the project board may consist of only the executive director, who performs all three functions of the project board. If the project is large, the project board is complex and consists of a cross-representation of many elements of the participating organizations. In PRINCE2, the project management board is part of the project team, which also includes the project manager, project support, and team managers.
In addition, PRINCE2 identifies three stakeholder interests: business, user, and supplier. The project board is designed to represent all three interests.
Business interests (referred to in the PRINCE2 manual as ‘company, program or client’) support the project financially, validate its objectives, and aim to ensure value for money for the business investment. In this article and 2 other articles in this series, we mean “company” or “company management”, “company, program or customer”.
User benefits relate to the business members who, after the project is completed, use its products to enable the organization to achieve its desired benefits.
User and business interests are jointly represented by the customer (with executive responsibility in charge of the business element).
Supplier interests represent those who provide the resources and expertise needed by the project. It may be internal or external to the client organization. For success, all three stakeholder interests must be represented in the project.
4- Stage-based management
According to this principle, each phase of a project must be properly planned, monitored, and controlled. A PRINCE2 project requires at least two phases: the first phase called the “launch” phase (during which the project is planned) and at least one other phase which includes the delivery of the project’s specialized products.
Requiring a start-up phase ensures that a project does not begin before an accurate forecast of costs and timeframes have been completed. If the project goes beyond this stage, there is a risk that the cost will end up being much higher than what was initially anticipated.
Project Initiation Documents (PID)
At the end of the commissioning phase, the board evaluates the feasibility of the project by reviewing the Project Initiation Documents (PID). In accordance with this principle, the project to which it is authorized is re-evaluated by the board at the end of each management phase during its life cycle. After each evaluation, the project board may decide that the project should continue or close it early if it is no longer viable.
It is a general planning rule that any planning should only be done at a controllable and predictable level of detail (called the planning horizon). PRINCE2 offers three plan levels: project plans, stage plans and optional team plans. Each is appropriate for the level of management that uses it.
The board uses the updated project to help monitor and control progress. The project manager, who is responsible for the day-to-day management of the project, uses the current phase plan, and the team manager(s) use the appropriately detailed team plans.
Each management phase in PRINCE2 acts as a “go/no go” decision point for the project board. This is where the board decides whether the project is still viable and if so, can commit to the next phase by approving the plan for the next phase.
If the decision is an “authorization”, this effectively allows the project manager to spend the money agreed by the project board on the next stage, and thus a less risky way of making decisions at the beginning of the project compared to making a big decision at the beginning of the project. It is an investment.
If the decision is “no permit”, the project is no longer viable and should be closed early.
Steps are a control for the project board
Phase scopes, therefore, enable the project board to control the project on a phase-by-phase basis, while delegating the day-to-day management of the project to the project manager. To help the board make decisions, at the end of each phase, the project manager updates the “project” schedule with “facts” from the current phase and “forecasts” for the rest of the project. So before making a decision, the project board has up-to-date information about the project that helps it assess ongoing viability.
5- Management by exception
In a PRINCE2 project, tolerances are established for each project objective (time, cost, quality, scope, benefits and risk). Limits on delegated authority are also set so that it is clear who has the authority to decide on corrective actions if tolerances are exceeded. Activities related to directing, managing, and delivering the project must be performed within agreed-upon tolerance levels.
In a PRINCE2 project, regular milestone reports keep the project board informed of progress. This leaves the members of the project board free to carry out their activities beyond what is necessary to guide the project. Only if a tolerance is predicted to be exceeded (known as an “exception” in PRINCE2) will the project board address the issue by evaluating the exception report.
The 6 performance objectives that are tolerable in a PRINCE2 project are time, cost, quality, scope, benefits, and risk.
Once the project is launched, each of these elements is agreed upon at the project level with company management. Applying changes in these tolerances at the project level is possible only by the company management.
When an exception to tolerance occurs at the project level, the project board should escalate the problem to company management for a decision.
Phase tolerances are calculated by the project manager during planning for each phase. They are approved by the board of directors after the phased plan is approved. Similarly, the tolerance of the work package is approved by the project manager if the team plan is approved.
Work package tolerance
If the team manager raises an issue that indicates a deviation from the work package tolerance, the project manager must evaluate the issue and take corrective action, unless stage tolerances are affected. If this issue affects the stage tolerance, the project manager should write an exception report and escalate the issue to the project board.
Advantages of “Management by Exception”
By working in this way, the board manages “by exception”, meaning it only gets involved when key decisions are needed (when an issue exceeds an agreed tolerance), and therefore makes a very efficient use of senior management’s time. Note that in PRINCE2, if the principle of “management by exception” is implemented, there is no need for regular progress meetings between the board and the project manager.
6- Focus on products
PRINCE2 recognizes the importance of delivering products that meet their agreed quality criteria, hence the ‘focus on products’ principle. When the products are successfully delivered, they follow the benefits of the project. Therefore, it is very important that they are effectively planned and delivered.
If stakeholder expectations are to be met in line with the business justification, everyone involved in the project must agree on and fully understand the nature of its deliverables. Otherwise, the goal of the project will be open to interpretation and there is likely to be significant confusion that hinders the progress of the project.
Product based planning
While some project management methods focus on activity planning, planning in PRINCE2 starts with product identification. Product-based planning is a fundamental aspect of the PRINCE2 approach to project management. This helps the project team reduce the risk of scope creep, making issues like acceptance disputes and user dissatisfaction less likely to occur and potentially causing less damage.
As part of the PRINCE2 product-based planning approach, product descriptions are developed and agreed upon and these effectively describe what is to be delivered by the project. They help ensure that everyone involved in the project is aware of each product’s purpose, composition, quality criteria, etc. They also enable the project team to estimate how much work will be done to deliver each product, what resources and activities will be required, and how the products will be tested and validated. Agreed deliverables define the scope of the project, as well as provide a basis for planning and controlling activities.
7- Customization with the project
The final principle of “fit to project” highlights a fundamental advantage of using PRINCE2, namely its adaptability. The verb “adapt” refers to the appropriate application of PRINCE2 to suit the needs of each project. PRINCE2 recognizes that all projects are different in terms of cultural context, geographic location, level of complexity, scale, and risk. This principle allows you to adapt the PRINCE2 method to suit your project needs and still be consistent with the PRINCE2 approach to project management.
For example, one element of PRINCE2 that is typically designed is the schedule of project board meetings. Such meetings are not required by the PRINCE2 method. Regular outstanding reports are considered sufficient. In many organizations, regular meetings are part of the company culture. Thanks to the customization principle, they can adapt to PRINCE2.
If your organization adapts PRINCE2, you should document the changes made to the methodology and describe these in the Project Initiation Documents (PID). In this way, changes can be audited and evidence of compliance with PRINCE2 and company standards can be provided.
Customization while being compatible
When you are adapting PRINCE2, you must remember that no part of the method should be ignored or omitted. Even in a small project, you need to control risk, quality, and change. If the method changes too much, you run the risk of running a “PINO” project (ie “only PRINCE2 to the surface”).
Organizations can address the PINO issue by referring to the PRINCE2 maturity model. They can use this model to determine their compliance with PRINCE2.
The purpose of the customization principle is to adapt the PRINCE2 method to the needs of your project, thereby preventing the creation of a “pattern-driven” project management method where everything is done without question. Remember that PRINCE2 focuses on decisions being made based on timely information rather than on documents, templates, and meetings.
Prince theme(s) (PRINCE2)
PRINCE2 themes are areas of project management that must be consistently addressed throughout the project. PRINCE2 themes are principles-based and apply throughout the project when using processes.
There are 7 PRINCE2 themes:
- Business case
1- Commercial file
The goal of this theme is to create mechanisms that help senior decision-makers decide whether a project is (or will remain) a worthwhile investment. This is the theme that implements the principle of “justification to continue working”.
A client investing in a project will have a business case, but so should the supplier. Each of these cases is written to justify their involvement in the project. (tip: PRINCE2 assumes a client-supplier environment, whereby the client specifies what goods are required from the project, pays for them, and expects to receive some benefits in return. The supplier (person, team, or organization) delivers these products to the quality level specified by the customer. For more information, see the theme of the organization below).
The business file is also a management product and belongs to the executive director. At all times, executives must ensure that there is a viable business case, otherwise, they must direct the project manager to close the project. It is much better to waste more time and money on a project than to continue with a project that is not worth it.
Business case plan
The executive director is responsible for preparing the first draft (outline) of the business case, although this can sometimes be provided by company/program management as part of the project brief. This version will then be updated with more details during the project initiation phase.
Outputs, results, and benefits
Each project delivers one or more “expert” products (known as outputs), which are then used by people in the client organization at the end of the project. By using it, the way they do their daily work changes in a positive way. This change is known as the result. The measurable improvements that will result in the client’s organization are what are known as benefits.
For example, a company investing in a new business information computer system starts a project. The output of the project will be a new information technology system. The result may be that employees can do their jobs more efficiently. The benefit may be that the company saves on staff costs.
The role of the senior user is responsible for both defining project benefits and realizing them, that is, ensuring that they are actually achieved after the project is closed. This means that people who play the role of senior user should come from the customer organization that is most often affected by the changes (results).
Benefits management approach
How benefits are measured, and when and by whom are measured are documented in the benefits management approach (one of 26 management products). As benefits are realized, this is updated for most projects after project closure. This is because, at the end of the project, specialized products are delivered to users and operational or support teams. They then use the products as part of business as usual, realizing the expected benefits.
The justification does not have to be financial
For most commercial organizations, the business justification for projects is often a financial one, i.e. there is a return on investment (in monetary terms). But PRINCE2 says that the business justification can be presented in other ways.
For example, consider a proposal to equip a residential apartment block with a sprinkler system in case of fire. Such a project would have clear benefits (in terms of saving people’s lives in a fire) but would probably not expect a financial return on investment. Therefore, the decision to invest in such a project should consider the wider benefits in society to keep citizens safe.
Your project should create and maintain a business justification (in the form of a business case), and you should review and update it throughout your project. You must define management actions to ensure that expected results are achieved and benefits are realized. You must define and document the roles and responsibilities related to the business case and benefits management. Finally, you must develop and maintain a benefits management approach.
The purpose of this theme is to define and set up the structure of the project management team to determine who is accountable and responsible for the project.
PRINCE2 is based on a “client-supplier environment” whereby the client organization specifies the deliverables (specialized products) and pays for the project because, in its opinion, the project can achieve sufficient benefits in the future to make it a worthwhile investment. slow.
The supplier organization is the person or company that supplies the goods specified by the customer. In a project where all work is done in-house, the customer and the supplier will be part of the same organization.
The role of the project board
The main decision-making role on the project is known as the project board, which includes 3 other roles: executive and senior user (both from the client) and senior supplier (from the supplier). It should be noted that the board is not democratic and ultimately, it is the executive director who makes decisions and is supported by 2 other roles.
Only one person can perform the executive role and must be able to represent the business, i.e. the part of the client’s organization that pays for the project. This role is ultimately accountable for the project.
Senior user role
The Senior User role, responsible for defining and realizing benefits, is also responsible for defining project requirements and deliverables.
Senior supplier role
The senior supplier is responsible for the quality of the specialized products that he delivers to the project.
The role of project assurance
Reviewing project documents such as plans and business cases can be very time-consuming, so PRINCE2 recommends that project assurance be delegated by project board members. The role of project assurance is to assure the project board, independent of the project manager, that the project will be done properly. Project Assurance advises the project manager and reviews documents prior to board approval.
The role of the project manager
The role of project manager is responsible for the day-to-day management of the project and reports regularly to the project board. This is done as an outstanding report. The project manager is responsible for controlling issues and risks, monitoring progress, taking corrective actions in case of schedule deviations, and escalating exceptions to the project board.
The role of the team manager
Team managers enable teams of professionals with the necessary skills to design and build the products specified by the customer. They are responsible for delivering specialized products on time and within the agreed budget. They report regularly to the project manager.
The role of reference changes
The change authority role is responsible for making decisions on Request for Change (RFC) and non-standard products.
Project support role
The project support role assists managers, projects and teams in managing content, writing reports, monitoring progress and using tools.
Some of the above roles can be shared (i.e. more than one person can perform the role). In PRINCE2, all roles can be shared, except for the Executive Director and Project Manager roles.
Combination of roles
Some roles can be combined (i.e. one person can perform multiple roles). However, the project assurance role can never be shared with the project manager, team manager, or project support roles, otherwise, they would not be independent of the project manager.
All of the above roles make up the project management team and all of them are project stakeholders. However, stakeholders are not just members of the project management team, but can be anyone who is affected or affected by the project.
Communication management approach
PRINCE2 recommends that an approach to communication management be written that identifies all project stakeholders, their information needs, and the means and frequency of communication. The quality assurance manager needs a copy of the weekly highlight report written by the project manager.
You need to determine your project’s organizational structure and role (making sure to fulfill all the responsibilities of the PRINCE2 role description). You should define your project approach to communicating and engaging with stakeholders and produce and maintain project initiation documents (PIDs) and a communication management approach.
The purpose of this theme is to define and implement mechanisms by which the project can determine whether products are fit for purpose.
Definition of quality
PRINCE2 defines quality as whether a product is “fit for purpose”, i.e. whether it meets an agreed and stated requirement. The project’s approach to quality management is documented by the project manager in a quality management approach.
Quality management system
Many organizations have a quality management system (QMS), which is a set of policies, procedures, and quality standards expected within the organization.
A corporate role known as Quality Assurance (QA) is responsible for defining and maintaining the QMS and reviewing projects for compliance. Quality assurance often does this by conducting a quality audit that looks for evidence of project conformance.
Quality assurance and project assurance are different
The role of quality assurance is external to the project while project assurance is internal (this is one of the roles of the project management team). Project assurance assures the project board that the project is being done properly while quality assurance assures company management that the project conforms to company standards, policies, and procedures.
Quality assurance should not be confused with quality control, a role that refers to performing quality procedures to check “product suitability”, maintain quality records, and verify and gain acceptance.
During the quality procedure, quality records will be kept, for example detailing the results of a test, and then based on the results, the product must be assessed to be fit for purpose. If so, the product can be verified and verification records are required. This is often a signature on a form or email and a sample of the verification record.
After approval, the product becomes a baseline. This usually involves giving it a version number and then making it change-controlled, meaning no one is allowed to change it without getting approval after submitting a request for change (RFC).
If the product is not fit for purpose, the supplier must do more work on it to bring it up to a standard that can once again be controlled.
In a project, the project manager is responsible for quality planning, which means defining quality control methods and project acceptance criteria (measurable features of the final product, i.e. the product that is delivered to users at the end and makes it acceptable to the customer). Acceptance criteria are derived from the customer’s quality expectations (high-level business requirements for the project) and are agreed upon before the project begins.
To check the compliance of the final products with the criteria, certain procedures (acceptance procedures) must be performed. If this is done, the project can be closed because it has delivered what it set out to deliver. Acceptance records record the formal acceptance of the final product by various stakeholders.
PRINCE2 defines a quality record in which the results of quality procedures are recorded. This enables the project manager to maintain control of all quality control activities performed on a project.
You must define and maintain a quality management approach for your project that includes quality control and project assurance and defines the roles and responsibilities of quality management. You must define clear quality criteria for products and maintain appropriate quality records. You should somehow summarize those quality activities in the quality record. Customer quality expectations and priority acceptance criteria should be specified in the project product description, and you should use lessons learned to inform project quality planning.
The purpose of this theme is to determine how and when the products will be provided, how much they will be provided, and by whom and where they will be provided.
PRINCE2 proposes 3 levels of the program according to the information needs of the 3 levels of the project management team. They include:
- A project plan (used by the project board) containing the project scope, costs, time frames, and control points. At the end of each phase, an updated version is created to reflect actual progress and revised predictions.
- A step-by-step plan (used by the project manager) for day-to-day project management. There is one for each management stage.
- A team schedule (used by a team manager) includes all the work done by a team.
- Exception programs
It should be noted that exception plans are new plans (not updated versions of existing plans) and can be used to replace stage plans or project plans. In the second case, its use must be allowed by the company’s management.
Schedules not only specify which products will be delivered within the schedule but also the required time and costs. PRINCE2 recommends that the following be included in a program budget:
- Money to finance specialized product creation activities (and management activities)
- Money to finance response to risks (risk budget)
- Money to finance authorized changes in base products (budget change)
- cost bearing
Product based planning
PRINCE2 proposes a method for creating all program levels called product-based planning. This is a fundamental step of product definition and analysis. There are 4 steps to it:
- Writing the project product description: to define what the project must deliver in order to be accepted.
- Create a product breakdown structure: to show the products in scope (note: external products are those that already exist or are created outside the scope of the application)
- Write product description: For major products
- Creating a product flow diagram: To define the sequence of production of products
To decide on the number and length of management steps, several factors should be considered:
- planning horizon at any point in time; It may depend on the nature of the work
- delivery procedures; It is helpful if the management steps are aligned with the end-of-delivery steps
- Alignment with program activities
- The amount of risk
You need to ensure that the applications enable the realization of the business case and you need to have at least two levels of management. You must prepare and maintain a project plan, a phased plan for each management phase, and exception plans. You should use product-based planning when creating all plans. You must define planning roles and responsibilities and use the lessons to plan consciously. Finally, you should create and maintain a project product description, a product description for each product, and a product breakdown structure.
The purpose of this theme is to identify, analyze and control uncertainty and thus improve the chances of a successful project.
In PRINCE2, the risk is defined as an uncertain event that (if it occurs) will have an impact (negative or positive) on the project objectives. Risk should not be confused with a project issue, an issue is an event that happened but was not planned. However, if and when the risk actually occurs, it becomes a project issue and we need risk management.
Risks can be any of the following:
- Threats (that have a negative impact)
- Opportunities (which have a positive impact)
- Risk acceptance
Every organization has its own attitude toward risk-taking. This is known as the level of risk acceptance.
Each program in PRINCE2 has a risk budget, which is the amount spent on providing any response to the risk
Risk tolerance is the threshold level of risk, which if exceeded (or predicted to be exceeded) will result in an exception report being generated, i.e. an exception has occurred.
Risk management process
Information about all project risks is kept in a risk register and a risk management approach is written to outline the overall risk management approach throughout the project. In this approach, there are 5 steps to describe the risk management method:
1. Identification: Threats and opportunities are identified and described in terms of cause (risk source), event (area of uncertainty), and result (its effect).
- probability, effect, proximity (when it is likely to occur)
- The overall net impact of all risks is evaluated
3. Planning: One or more specific responses to risk
4. Implementation: Selected risk responses are assigned to:
- Risk Owner: The person who is responsible for risk management
- Risk Actor(s): The person(s) assigned to carry out the risk response(s).
5. Transfer: Report the status of risks to stakeholders using various PRINCE2 reports
In PRINCE2, responding to threats is defined as preventing, mitigating, accepting, transferring, sharing, and preparing contingency plans. The method also considers 6 responses to opportunities: exploit, reinforce, reject, transfer, share, and prepare contingency plans.
Primary and residual risks
After providing these answers to the initial risks, there is usually some residual risk. This is known as residual risk. Risks resulting from risk responses are known as secondary risks.
You should define a risk management approach that covers the risk management methodology to be used and the roles and responsibilities of risk management. To record and manage risks, you must maintain some form of risk register and ensure that risks are identified, assessed, managed, and reviewed throughout the project. You should use the lessons to learn about risk identification and management.
The purpose of this theme is to identify, analyze and control any potential and approved changes to the base products (i.e. products that have been approved).
A baseline is a product that has passed quality control, is known to be “fit for purpose” and has been approved by licensed individuals. At this stage, a version number is usually given to the product. (Version 0.1).
A project issue is an event that happened, was not planned, and requires management action. There are 3 types of project issues:
- Request for Change (RFC): Baseline change request.
- Defective product: Requirement/product not delivered/not possible.
- Problems/Concerns: Anything else.
An exception is made if an issue is anticipated to exceed tolerance (in terms of time, cost, quality, scope, benefits, or risk).
Management of issues
Project issues can be managed in 2 ways:
- Formally: requires formal advice from the project board; The issue is registered and the issue report is written.
- Informally: The issue is recorded in the daily report.
Change the control method
The project’s approach to managing issues and changes is documented in a change control approach. It includes an issue and change control methodology that describes how all project issues are managed. This approach includes 5 steps:
- Log: Record the issue either in the number log or the daily log.
- Review: Perform impact analysis (impact on cost, time, quality, scope, benefits, risks)
- Suggestion: Consider alternative options for responding.
- Decision making: Which option is the best overall value for money?
- Implementation: Carry out the proposed option(s).
The change authority reviews and approves RFCs and unauthorized specifications, and is done by the project board by default. Change funds are used to finance changes.
Configuration item records
To make effective changes to a product, the project must be able to identify different versions of the products. This is done using a configuration item record that records the status and version of the product. This record is updated whenever the product status changes. You can request a product status account at any time to know the status of the product. This is a report that reports the status of one or more products. It can be useful for a project manager to find out if a product has been certified or passed its quality procedures.
You must define a change control approach to define the project problem and change the control method and change control roles and responsibilities. This approach will also define how to create, maintain and control product baselines. You must ensure that all issues are captured and managed throughout the project and you must maintain some form of issue log to record issues and related decisions. You should use the lessons to know how to identify and manage the problem.
The purpose of this theme is to set up mechanisms (controls) to monitor and compare what actually happened in the project with what should have happened, to control deviations from the baseline, and to provide forecasts for the remainder of the project.
Progress control is achieved through:
- Delegation of authority from one management level to a lower level
- Dividing the project into management stages and project authorization at the same time as one management stage
- Time-based and event-driven progress reporting and review
- Raise the exception
Project controls should be documented in the Project Initiation Documents (PID).
Tolerance refers to the permissible deviation from the plan before attention to the higher authority. The company management determines the project tolerance, the project board determines the tolerance phase and the project manager determines the work package tolerance with a team manager.
If beyond tolerance, transfer
If it is predicted that the project tolerance will be exceeded, the project management board will transfer it to the company management for decision (in the form of an exception report). If it is anticipated that the project phase tolerance will be exceeded, the project manager will escalate it to the project board for decision (in the form of an exception report). If it is anticipated that the work package tolerance will be exceeded, the team manager will escalate (in the form of a project issue) to the project manager for a decision.
Types of progress control
Monitoring and reporting require a time-based approach while project control (ie decision-making) requires an event-based approach. PRINCE2 defines 2 types of progress control:
- Time-based controls: generated at agreed intervals (eg highlight reports and checkpoint reports)
- These occur when a specific event occurs (eg exception reporting or problem reporting).
Examples of event-based controls
Some examples of event handlers are:
- Work Package: Approved by the project manager to begin work performed by a team
- Lessons Record: Contains lessons that are often taken in progress checks such as checkpoint reporting
- Lessons learned report: Used by company management to improve standards and collect statistics to help estimate the future
- End-stage report: used by the project management board to evaluate the progress of the project at the end of the stage
- Project End Report: Used by the project management board to evaluate the project and approve closure authorization
Project manager controls
Progress controls used by the project manager include:
- Baselines: Project Plan, Phase Plan, Exception Plan, Work Package
- Progress review: issue registration, risk registration, quality registration, product status registration, daily report
- Taking/reporting lessons: lesson report, lesson report
- Progress report: checkpoint report, highlight report, milestone report, project end report
You should define your project’s approach to controlling progress in project initiation documents (PIDs). You have to manage step by step, set tolerances and manage these tolerances by exception. You should review the business justification when exceptions arise and learn during the project.
Prince processes (PRINCE2)
Processes define who is responsible for making decisions and when. Principles and contexts of PRINCE2 are used in the processes.
There are 7 processes in PRINCE2:
- beginning of the project
- Project director
- Launching the project
- One step control
- Product delivery management
- Stage boundary management
- Project closure
1- Starting the project
The goal is to answer a simple question: “Is the project feasible and worthwhile?”
- Determining who will work in the start-up phase and who will have important roles in project management.
- Ensuring that there is a plan (launch phase plan) for the tasks required during the launch phase.
- Ensuring that the launch phase is based on the correct assumptions about project scope, timeframes, acceptance criteria and constraints.
This is a pre-project process. This process involves filtering the bad projects from the good projects. However, it makes sense to start projects with good ideas and discard bad ideas before wasting time and money.
A project trigger is a project order (a trigger is an event or decision that “triggers” a process) that comes from the highest level in the customer’s organization (for example, “company or program or customer management”). Henceforth, we will refer to them as corporate governance.
The project mandate should (at a minimum) provide the reasons for undertaking the project and should also identify a possible board director.
Defining roles and responsibilities
Before the implementation of the project (launch), the main roles and responsibilities of doing the work in the first phase (known as the launch phase) must be assigned; That is, it should be determined who is going to write the business case and the project plan.
Business case plan
The executive director is responsible for creating the business case, which will explain how the project fits with the company’s management goals and how the project will be funded (i.e. through funding). The executive director is responsible for providing this budget.
The 2 main outputs are:
- Project Brief: This output ensures that the project has an agreed and clearly defined starting point.
- Start-up Phase Plan: This output contains all the work that needs to be done in the start-up phase (the first phase of the project) and the project manager should review the lesson plan to get lessons on the project controls that will be used during the start-up.
2- Project management
The purpose of this process is to enable the project board to make key decisions and exercise overall control over the project while delegating the day-to-day management of the project to the project manager. This enables the project board to be accountable for the success of the project.
To ensure that:
- It is allowed to launch the project, deliver the products and close the project.
- It is provided for management and control throughout the life of the project.
- The project will be sustainable.
- The company management has a project interface.
- Plans to realize post-project benefits are managed and reviewed.
This process begins after the completion of the project initiation and its launch.
Implementation by the project board
The project board is responsible for ensuring that the business justification (one of the principles) continues. There is no longer a need for regular progress meetings between the board and the project manager because the board “manages by exception” (another principle). The board is informed of the progress using the project report given to them by the project manager.
Interface with company management
The project board also acts as a communication channel or interface with company management.
The main decision maker
If the project board cannot agree on an issue, the executive director is the decision-maker of the project and the project manager must refer to the executive director. In other words, it is not a democratic board that is controlled by votes. Senior and senior user roles on the board help managers make informed decisions.
The project management board is responsible for project assurance, but project management board members can appoint persons to perform project assurance and some monitoring and evaluation activities on their behalf, such as reviewing plans.
The project board performs 5 activities:
- Start-up license: ensuring that the investment in the project is worthwhile and informing large companies and other interested parties. The communication management approach includes any information about the information needs of these stakeholders.
- Project Authorization: Approve Project Initiation Documents (PIDs) but only if the Board is satisfied that the project has solid foundations, i.e. project scope, costs, timelines, risks, benefits, who will make decisions, and how progress will be monitored and reported. They know how risks, issues, and quality are controlled and who needs information when.
- One-step license or application exception: If there is a business justification, they review the performance of the current phase and approve the next phase plan (or exception plan), and allocate the required resources. The board also reviews course reports and agrees on who should receive them. The project board takes over the major specifications of the main products.
- Provide interim direction: Review outstanding reports, issue reports, and exception reports from the project manager and make decisions on project issues, risks, and changes.
- Project closure authorization: If satisfied that there is no further work to be done on the project, they review and approve the project termination report (and lesson report).
3- Launching the project
The aim is to establish a solid foundation for project management and control so that the client can understand the work, time, and cost required to deliver the project deliverables before committing to a significant investment.
To ensure a common understanding of:
- Reasons, timelines, costs, scope, major products, expected benefits, and risks
- Quality requirements and standards
- How basic products are controlled
- Communication needs of stakeholders
The main output of this process is the Project Initiation Documents (PID), which include the following:
- Project plan: defining what the project should deliver, including costs, resources, and time frames
- Detailed business case: containing the business justification
- A communication management approach: describing the information needs of stakeholders
- Risk management approach: description of the project approach in risk management
- Quality management approach: description of how to meet quality requirements and standards
- Change control approach: describing how to manage changes and issues and how to control base products
- Project controls: description of how the project is controlled, for example, the date of phase boundaries, reporting, and transfer conditions
- Adaptation: describing how PRINCE2 can be adapted to any organizational or programmatic process
A benefits management approach is also developed that describes how benefits will be measured and by whom This approach is not updated and archived at the end of the project because after the project is closed it is still an active document and belongs to the corporate management.
4- One step control
The purpose of this process is to assign work to teams, monitor it, manage issues and risks, report progress to the project board, and take action to ensure that the stage remains within tolerance. .
To ensure that:
- The project management team is focused on delivering within tolerance.
- Risks and issues are under control.
- The business case is under review.
- Products are delivered within agreed cost, effort and time constraints and quality standards.
- Progress is reported to the project board (highlight report).
- Endurance threats are communicated through exception reports.
The daily tasks of the project manager
This process covers the day-to-day management of a phase by the project manager while the board “manages by exception”.
After the launch phase, as soon as the project and the next phase plan (or exception plan) are approved by the board, the project manager can start the next phase by issuing instructions about the work of the teams. After that, the process begins whenever the board approves a phase-in plan or exception plan.
Focus on delivery
This process focuses on the delivery of stage products. Any deviation from the stage plan that was agreed upon before the start of the stage requires control and corrective actions.
The project manager assigns work to teams (managed by a team manager) through work packages. Work should not be started without the permission of the project manager. The team implements a work package in managing the product delivery process and ensures that specialty products are approved as part of that process before the products are delivered to the project manager.
As part of the work package authorization, problem reporting and handling should be agreed and the risk register updated to include new risks.
Supervise the work of the team
When work is in progress, the team manager sends regular checkpoint reports to the project manager. The project manager collects and reviews progress information from these reports and evaluates the estimated time and effort required to complete each remaining task. If a slippage occurs in the work, the project manager will take corrective action, but only for those that are within the stage’s tolerance. For slips that cause an exception, the project manager writes an exception report and sends it to the project board.
During the phase, the project manager sends regular outstanding reports to the project board.
The phasing schedule (or exception schedule) is updated during the process with the actuals for the current phase and the predictions for the remaining phases. However, the project plan and business case are not updated during this process. Instead, they are updated in the stage boundary process manager at the end of the stage.
Management of issues and risks
The main part of the process is for the project manager to review the stage at regular intervals and check the status of issues and risks. For each proposed change request, the project manager considers the impact the change will have on the project schedule, business case, and risks, and reviews the communication management approach to ensure that relevant stakeholders are informed. The project manager may request a product status account from project support to report the current status of each product.
Note: In complex projects where some planning tasks are delivered using work packages, the project manager can use the control and management phase of product delivery processes in the launch phase.
5- Product delivery management
The purpose of this process is to control the relationship between the customer and the supplier by setting formal requirements for the team manager to perform the work. The manager of the team(s) is responsible for coordinating the work that delivers one or more products of the project.
To ensure that:
- Work on products assigned to the team is licensed and agreed upon.
- Team managers and suppliers are aware of what is being produced and the effort, cost, or timeframe.
- Planned products are delivered within expectations and tolerances.
- Detailed progress information is provided to the project manager at agreed intervals to ensure that expectations are managed.
This process is done by the team manager. It is not uncommon for the supplier (for whom the team manager works) not to use PRINCE2 and in many cases may not know much about it.
In PRINCE2 work should only start when the project manager has authorized the work package.
When a work package is accepted, the team manager agrees to the tolerances set by the project manager. The team manager sets up a team plan (optional) that the project manager or senior supplier approves. Note: For business reasons, it may not be appropriate or possible for the project manager to authorize the team plan, in which case an agreement on delivery dates and costs is sufficient.
Team managers should provide detailed progress information to the project manager through checkpoint reports. They will also maintain the interfaces (specialized people and products) identified in the work packages.
After completing the products, the team obtains the necessary approval from the authorities specified in the product description.
Note: If the team manager anticipates that a deviation is beyond the work package tolerance, he raises the project issue with the project manager (ie, the team manager does not write an exception report).
6- Phase border management
The purpose of this process is for the project board to have an updated view of the project so that it can review the achievements of the current phase, approve the plan for the next phase, review the updated project plan, and confirm that the project is still justified and Its risks are still acceptable.
- Assuring the project board that all deliverables in the current phase plan have been completed and approved
- Preparation of the next stage plan
- Check and if necessary, update the PID
- Preparing the information needed by the board of directors to evaluate the continuation of the project
- Recording any information or lesson that can help the next steps of this project or other projects
- Request permission to start the next step
- To prepare the exception plan in an exception mode and approve to replace of the project plan or phase plan for the current phase with the exception plan
Run at the end of the stage
At the end of each phase (except the final phase), the project manager performs this process to start planning for the next phase.
Evaluation of the end stage
The principle of “management by exception” means that the project board only meets with the project manager at the end of the phase (known as the end-of-phase evaluation). At this stage, the project manager must provide the necessary information to the board of directors to make an informed decision about the continuation of the project.
Project manager 5 updates the management approach and the business case and the project plan. The project plan is updated by incorporating actual progress from the newly completed phase and revised time and cost estimates for the remainder of the project.
Since the executive director is responsible for the business case, the project manager should consult with the manager when preparing for project board approval when reviewing and updating the business case. The risk register is used to help understand project risk exposure and identify current key risks that impact the business.
A benefits management approach is taken to review the results of any benefits received at the stage.
In the event of an exception, if the board so desires, an exception plan will be established based on the recommendations made in the previous exception report. When this happens, Instead of creating a plan for the next step, the project manager uses the process to create an exception plan. Just like at the end of a phase, the project plan and business case are updated and a phase-out report is written.
Course reports may also be prepared in this process. Different approaches may need to be revised based on lessons learned about quality, risk or issue management, and change control during the phase.
7- Closing (ending) the project
The purpose of this process is to provide a fixed point at which to confirm that acceptance has been achieved for the project product, to review whether the objectives set out in the initial project documents have been met, and whether there is further work to be done on the project.
- confirmation of acceptance of the products of this project by the user; This requires compliance with project acceptance criteria.
- Ensuring that the host site(s) are capable of supporting the Products when operational.
- To check project performance against its baselines
- To evaluate benefits already realized, update the forecast of remaining benefits and plan to review all unrealized benefits.
- Ensuring that provision is made to resolve all issues and risks.
Summary of Prince (PRINCE2)
From what you have read, it is clear that PRINCE2 is not a rigid and old text that cannot be adapted and changed. On the contrary, it is a completely practical set that can be applied to any project; Regardless of project type, scale, or level of complexity and risk. By logically applying these principles to your project, you will get the most out of the most popular project management method in the world.
A complete guide to project management based on the PMBOK