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What PRINCE2 Does and Does Not Describe

PRINCE2, as we all know, is a standard project management method widely used in the UK, and increasingly being used internationally. PRINCE is a registered trademark but is available in the public domain. PRINCE stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments and is a project management method that helps reduce the risk of failure and increase the chances of success.  A bit from history The earliest version of PRINCE is PROMPT, created by Simpact for IBM in 1975. Then PROMPT2 was adopted for government information systems projects in 1979. PROMPT2 was developed into PRINCE in 1989 to be applied to all government information systems. PRINCE2 was released in October 1996 as a generic method suitable for all projects and it was last updated in 2009 and is now used and examined worldwide by an organization known as Accrediting Professional Managers Globally (APMG). What PRINCE2 is  PRINCE2 defines a best practice approach based on practical experience and research in project management and it enables standardization of approach and terminology for project managers, team members, customers, suppliers, and contractors. PRINCE2 also provides a basis for improvement within an industry sector, organization or in general.  PRINCE2 focuses on the Business Case for the project and does so right throughout the project. The business case is the checkpoint based on which evaluation happens, right from the time of justifying the need for a project to validating the requirements, the design and the developed solution against these needs. PRINCE2 ensures a solid foundation through a thorough initiation to the project and helps divide the project into manageable and controllable stages using product-based planning.  PRINCE2 defines a well-oiled project organization structure for project management including executives from the client organization, senior users from the user community and senior suppliers from the vendor organizations forming the project board under which project managers, team managers, project assurance teams, project support teams, change control teams and team members collaborate and coordinate. This structure thus defines the reporting structure and authority levels of each individual in the project. PRINCE2 projects are based on control mechanisms defined to ensure quality and to manage changes to products and plans. PRINCE2 is road map to project success & also a scalable and adaptable approach to different project circumstances through a comprehensive process model. What PRINCE2 does not describe As explained previously, PRINCE2 is a project management approach. It defines the activities that a project manager needs to perform during different stages of a project and the deliverables that they need to produce in controlling, managing and delivering the project. Hence, PRINCE2 does not describe the actual work to be carried out during different stages of the project, nor does it define the tools and techniques to be used in performing these tasks. For example, PRINCE2 just mentions the fact that project scope needs to be defined properly and a thorough estimation of effort needs to be done during the planning stage itself. The project manager just needs to ensure that he breaks down the product into manageable chunks of work and uses it as the basis to allocate resources, to estimate effort and to schedule resources. Hence, the Project Manager may decide to use feature-based work breakdown structures to decompose the project, 3-point estimation to estimate the effort required and the network diagramming method or the Gantt chart to schedule the work.  PRINCE2 does not require the project manager to perform a detailed risk analysis, nor does it mandate the project manager to perform risk management diligently. However, risk identification, planning, and control is embedded in PRINCE2 approach such that risks are managed every day and at every stage gate applied in the project. PRINCE2 also does not mandate the requirement for an organization-wide Quality Management System (QMS). A quality management system will be the one-stop location in an organization that holds the end-to-end process of business analysis, solution design, development, testing and deployment and how project management ensures delivery of the project. Since PRINCE2 does not define HOW project activities should be done, the requirement for a QMS does not exist.  PRINCE2 also does not require detailed financial justification for a project using NPV, IRR, Payback analysis or any other technique, nor does it discuss tracking project progress through Earned Value Analysis. PRINCE2 just expects the project to be executed along the different stages that are defined and for the projects to constantly check whether it is delivering the intended value to the stakeholders.  Conclusion PRINCE2, as we can see, is a project management method. It is applicable for the duration of the project from its initiation to the time it is deployed and delivered to the customer. PRINCE2 project manager’s scope does not include pre-project idea generation / pre-sales activities nor does it include post-project verification and maintenance or improvement activities. PRINCE2 thus provides a systematic approach for the project manager to better manage projects through to its completion.  
What PRINCE2 Does and Does Not Describe
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What PRINCE2 Does and Does Not Describe

PRINCE2, as we all know, is a standard project management method widely used in the UK, and increasingly being used internationally. PRINCE is a registered trademark but is available in the public domain. PRINCE stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments and is a project management method that helps reduce the risk of failure and increase the chances of success.  A bit from history The earliest version of PRINCE is PROMPT, created by Simpact for IBM in 1975. Then PROMPT2 was adopted for government information systems projects in 1979. PROMPT2 was developed into PRINCE in 1989 to be applied to all government information systems. PRINCE2 was released in October 1996 as a generic method suitable for all projects and it was last updated in 2009 and is now used and examined worldwide by an organization known as Accrediting Professional Managers Globally (APMG). What PRINCE2 is  PRINCE2 defines a best practice approach based on practical experience and research in project management and it enables standardization of approach and terminology for project managers, team members, customers, suppliers, and contractors. PRINCE2 also provides a basis for improvement within an industry sector, organization or in general.  PRINCE2 focuses on the Business Case for the project and does so right throughout the project. The business case is the checkpoint based on which evaluation happens, right from the time of justifying the need for a project to validating the requirements, the design and the developed solution against these needs. PRINCE2 ensures a solid foundation through a thorough initiation to the project and helps divide the project into manageable and controllable stages using product-based planning.  PRINCE2 defines a well-oiled project organization structure for project management including executives from the client organization, senior users from the user community and senior suppliers from the vendor organizations forming the project board under which project managers, team managers, project assurance teams, project support teams, change control teams and team members collaborate and coordinate. This structure thus defines the reporting structure and authority levels of each individual in the project. PRINCE2 projects are based on control mechanisms defined to ensure quality and to manage changes to products and plans. PRINCE2 is road map to project success & also a scalable and adaptable approach to different project circumstances through a comprehensive process model. What PRINCE2 does not describe As explained previously, PRINCE2 is a project management approach. It defines the activities that a project manager needs to perform during different stages of a project and the deliverables that they need to produce in controlling, managing and delivering the project. Hence, PRINCE2 does not describe the actual work to be carried out during different stages of the project, nor does it define the tools and techniques to be used in performing these tasks. For example, PRINCE2 just mentions the fact that project scope needs to be defined properly and a thorough estimation of effort needs to be done during the planning stage itself. The project manager just needs to ensure that he breaks down the product into manageable chunks of work and uses it as the basis to allocate resources, to estimate effort and to schedule resources. Hence, the Project Manager may decide to use feature-based work breakdown structures to decompose the project, 3-point estimation to estimate the effort required and the network diagramming method or the Gantt chart to schedule the work.  PRINCE2 does not require the project manager to perform a detailed risk analysis, nor does it mandate the project manager to perform risk management diligently. However, risk identification, planning, and control is embedded in PRINCE2 approach such that risks are managed every day and at every stage gate applied in the project. PRINCE2 also does not mandate the requirement for an organization-wide Quality Management System (QMS). A quality management system will be the one-stop location in an organization that holds the end-to-end process of business analysis, solution design, development, testing and deployment and how project management ensures delivery of the project. Since PRINCE2 does not define HOW project activities should be done, the requirement for a QMS does not exist.  PRINCE2 also does not require detailed financial justification for a project using NPV, IRR, Payback analysis or any other technique, nor does it discuss tracking project progress through Earned Value Analysis. PRINCE2 just expects the project to be executed along the different stages that are defined and for the projects to constantly check whether it is delivering the intended value to the stakeholders.  Conclusion PRINCE2, as we can see, is a project management method. It is applicable for the duration of the project from its initiation to the time it is deployed and delivered to the customer. PRINCE2 project manager’s scope does not include pre-project idea generation / pre-sales activities nor does it include post-project verification and maintenance or improvement activities. PRINCE2 thus provides a systematic approach for the project manager to better manage projects through to its completion.  
What PRINCE2 Does and Does Not Describe
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What PRINCE2 Does and Does Not Describe

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Benefits of Implementing Agile Practices for Infrastructure Operations Support Teams

Agile methodologies have become mainstream and more than 90% of the organizations had indicated that they are practising Agile in some form or the other (Version One, State of Agile Survey, 2016). In this post, I will highlight how a specific Agile methodology is used in the infrastructure space to manage routine operations work.  In the infrastructure domain, there are not many organizations which are using Agile as it is not easy to implement the scaled Agile framework (Scrum) as the nature of work is more from the operational perspective as compared to the product development space where the focus is on knowledge work. However, in large enterprise organizations (> 5000 members), if an organization has to become agile, all the divisions will sooner or later need to focus on Agile. The organization does not derive much benefit if only one division in the organization is focused on Agile and all the other divisions are not being agile. Hence, initially as part of the Agile transformation, the product development division adopts Agile and subsequently, other support divisions also focus on exploring Agile and how to implement Agile for their activities.  With this background context, I would like to explain how the Infrastructure teams which are engaged in operational activities focus on implementing Agile in their projects/activities. Taking the specific example of a Unix Server Support team which is offering support for L1, L2 and L3 activities (L1, L2 and L3 – different and increasingly varying and higher levels of support where the team focuses on providing support to the customer, e.g. – L1 – call center support, L2 – Basic configuration and minor changes, L3 – Deep Dive and resolution of problems). Generally, the Infrastructure teams follow the ITIL Best Practices to ensure that their services are providing optimal support to the customer (24*7 support – also enabling follow the sun approach). In this case, when we are implementing Agile practices for these teams, I have observed that Kanban practices and a good Kanban framework help the team integrate ITIL with Agile practices.  These teams are focused on operations work which is routine and is undertaken daily through the implementation of a help desk support system (Service Now, Impulse, Jump, Remedy and other tools) utilizing tickets that are raised by people and non – humans (computer programs).  The tickets are raised automatically by computer programs (incidents), raised by humans (mostly requests), problems (raised by humans), change requests/ctasks (change tasks) by humans. Hence, ITIL implementation provides a good focus on the key areas – Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, Help Desk and related areas. In such a scenario, the implementation of Kanban helps to integrate ITIL and Agile and the team does not feel the extra burden of the Agile implementation. Kanban easily dovetails with the existing ITIL framework and the team is able to implement both Kanban and ITIL at the same time. This ensures that the team is meeting the organizational requirements and at the same time, the team is also able to implement Agile as per the requirements.  The routine operational work of these teams is considered as one big project focused on delivering operational support and meeting the service level agreements for the customer. Kanban is basically a framework for managing the process flow and change in a visual manner. It starts with the as-is state and slowly builds on incremental improvements to improve the process over a period of time. Hence, it becomes easier to start with the already existing ITIL processes which the teams are already following in their day to day work. The Kanban system focuses on visualizing the process flow and identifying the bottlenecks in the process and how they could be eliminated so that the process becomes faster from concept to cash. In this case, it derives the basic inspiration from Lean principles which are also focused on identifying and maximizing value, while minimizing waste at the same time.  The focus on implementing Kanban frameworks for the Operations team in the Infrastructure domain leads to the following benefits–  The team can manage its process flow with the already existing systems in place (e.g. lean, ITIL and other process models/frameworks).  Workload Management, Capacity Adaptation, and Capability/Competency Improvement in the teams. It is easier for the team to implement Agile practices as Kanban focuses on starting with the existing processes instead of making any drastic changes in the basic process.  The team is able to visualize the basic work through the technique of value stream mapping (VSM) and it is able to eliminate bottlenecks using the Theory of Constraints (ToC).  The team is able to identify the core values and focus on how to enhance customer delight.  Implementing Agile practices leads to improved team motivation and team morale.  Focus on working at a sustainable pace instead of working in death march projects which leads to quicker burnout and increased attrition.  It helps the team to visualize the workflows which enables the team to focus on out-of-the-box thinking and innovative techniques to improve lead times of their processes.  Simple metrics like – lead time, cumulative flow diagrams and Yamazumi charts help the team to focus on their processes and check how they could fine tune their processes further.  Lessons learnt as part of the Kanban meetings and workshops enable the team to focus on continuous improvement.  The focus on Kanban practices enables the team to set up a robust ecosystem in the organization that engenders continuous learning and enables the organization to build the skill level of its employees.  Assimilation of new processes by the team through design thinking and other techniques for providing operational support helps the team to improve customer satisfaction. Thus, we can observe that the choice of selecting Kanban as an Agile implementation methodology for the Operations Support Teams in the Infrastructure domain is a prudent option as it helps the team to continue following its existing processes and at the same time also implement Agile practices in their projects with minimal conflicts. In future posts, I will highlight how we could go about implementing Kanban and Agile practices in the Infrastructure Operations Support teams, providing support to the product development teams in the organization.   
Benefits of Implementing Agile Practices for Infrastructure Operations Support Teams
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How a CBAP Certified Professional can Help with Business Analysis

CBAP stands for Certified Business Analysis Professional, level 3 certification offered by the International Institute of Business Analysis. The importance of this course in the modern world of the ever-expanding businesses can never be stressed enough. There are some requirements and a key feature that one needs to be aware of before venturing into the course. This is the next level of expertise for the already working and experienced professionals. CBAP Requirements The general requirements for the CBAP are: 1) Work experience in handling business analysis - This includes a minimum of 7,500 working hours in ten years. This also includes any project directly handled by the applicant and also the projects that he has worked on as an assistant.  2) The requirement of the knowledge in the field - There are six knowledge areas defined under this system, and a minimum knowledge of at least four areas is demanded. There must make an investment of a minimum of 900 hours in each of these knowledge areas.  3) Development of the profession - There must be at least 35 hours of development noted in the past four years of his work life. 4) References from people of value - For getting enrolled in the course, the reference to at least two people is asked. These people are usually- a career manager, a client or a CBAP certified professional. The organization is giving the course certification checks these references before getting anyone enrolled in the course. 5) The code of conduct issued by the CBAP needs to be agreed upon Certification Benefits The value a CBAP  certified individual can offer is indispensable making the CBAP certification high in value in the professional field and highlights both professional and personal recognition to the individual.   The best advantage for the individual is perhaps the significant increase in salary among certified professionals. There has been up to sixteen percent increase in salary of the individuals after completing their certification.   It is also a great CV builder, adding an edge to the CV/resume that can be a distinguishable factor from other candidates in the business analysis field. The opportunity of development of the profession is immense and the value added to any company that the individual decides to be a part of is indispensable. Program Certification Levels Program certification levels are the steps of progression in the person’s career and are best to be fulfilled in order.  Levels are set based on the competency of the applicant where each level has its eligibility requirements. Level 1: This certifies the entry in the business analysis. The individuals entering the profession are the ones that should go through this level. The students and the just graduates are the best candidates for this level. The ones with the transitional phase of career are also good to enroll. The managers involved business analysis indirectly. The eligibility includes 21 hours of work in the last four years and agreeing to the Entry Certificate in Business Analysis Code of Conduct. Level 2: This is for the professionals who already have 2-3 years of experience in the field. This gives formal recognition to their already acquired and developed skill set. The work experience is a prime requirement in this level of certification. It requires at least 3,750 hours of work experience in the last seven years. There must a development in the professional level of about 21 hours in the last four years. This also needs references and agreement to the CCBA code of conduct. Level 3: This is for the business analysis professionals who have been in the business for at least over five years. It demands 35 hours of professional development in the last four years. A work experience of about 7,500 hours is demanded as a requirement for getting admitted to the Certified Business Analysis Professional level. The same references and the agreement to the code of conduct are asked as usual. Level 4: The final level is for the professionals with over ten years of experience in the field of business analysis. They have considered the industry thought leaders in the field of business analysis. They are the experts in the business analysis. They contribute to the evolution of the field. They are the pioneers in the field who are polished to perfection by the Certified Business Analysis Thought Leader course. The CBAP Certified Professional Exam The exam is 3.5 to 4 hours long with 120 multiple choice questions. The emphasis is given on the case study in order to analyze the depth of knowledge and the ability possessed by the candidates. The first step in the certification journey is to get familiar with the ‘A Guide to the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge’ (BABOK guide) book.   Thorough understanding of the BABOK guide is essential, a process that requires time and attention. Professional Development Hours Joining a business analysis study group would be the first step; it provides the opportunity to get help with the exam preparations and to discuss with others the professional development hours. Another option is to enroll in a business analysis training course. There are also conferences that qualify for the professional development credits. The professional development hours are necessary if you want to enroll in any level of CBAP certified professional course. The enrollment in the CBAP course depends on the time investment and the budgetary allowances you can make. The timeline for the certification should also be a consideration you make before going for the certification.
How a CBAP Certified Professional can Help with Business Analysis
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How a CBAP Certified Professional can Help with Bu...

CBAP stands for Certified Business Analysis Professional, level 3 cert... Read More