Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2®

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28th Nov, 2022
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Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2®

Apart from Project Management Professional (PMP)®PRINCE2® (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is one of the most widely used methods for managing projects across the globe. It is a very methodical way of managing projects based on experience drawn from various projects and from the contributions of numerous people who worked using PRINCE2, such as project sponsors, project managers, project teams, academics, trainers and consultants. 

Its generic design can be applied to any project regardless of project scale, type, organization, geography or culture. 

  • It separates the project management work from specialist contributions, like design or construction 
  • Focus is on describing what needs to be done, instead of prescribing how project is to be done. 

PRINCE2®: 

  • is based more on governance for project management 
  • is tailored to meet the needs of the organization  
  • is implemented alongside industry-specific models e.g. ’engineering models’ or ‘development lifecycles’ 
  • helps participants focus on the viability of the project in relation to objectives mentioned in the business case 
  • makes sure that everybody involved is represented in planning and decision-making, appropriately 
  • inspires to learn lessons from experience in the projects and helps in continual improvement within the organizations.

PRINCE2 in Project Management 

Some characteristics of project work that differentiates itself from business as usual (BAU) are:- 

  • Change - Projects are a great catalyst for introducing change. 
  • Temporary - Projects have a definite start and a definite end.   
  • Cross-functional - people having different skills work together 
  • Unique - each project will be unique such as it involves a different customer, a different time. a different team, a different location 
  • Uncertainty  All projects carry a very high uncertainty – threats and opportunities. 

What are six project constraints that we wish to control throughout a project

  • ix project constraints that we wish to control throughout a project
    Costs  spending depends on the budget given to the project manager 
  • Timescales - question the project manager is most frequently asked: What is your expected project completion date? 
  • Quality - products must be fit for the purpose for which they are produced. 
  • Scope  What is in-scope and out-of-scope of the project 
  • Benefits  What is the reason for doing this? A very crystal-clear understanding of the purpose of the project is required by the project manager 
  • Risk - All projects are risky but project manager must be aware of exactly how much risk we are  in a position to accept 

PRINCE2 assumes that there will be - 

  • a customer who will specify the requirement of a product  
  • a supplier who will provide all skilled resources to deliver that product 

PRINCE2 Structure

PRINCE2 Structure

The PRINCE2 Seven Principles are:- 

1. Continued business justification - A PRINCE2 project has continued business justification. 

All PRINCE2 projects require that: 

  • for starting the project, there has to be a justifiable reason 
  • this justification must be recorded and approved 
  • the justification must remain valid and is revalidated, throughout the project life-cycle to ensure that the project remains in line with the benefits which contribute to business objectives 
  • justification is documented either as a business case document or may use some business plans or any other similar document 

2. Learn from experience - lessons learned (seek), recorded and acted upon throughout the project. 

3. Defined roles and responsibilities - within an organization structure engages the business, user and supplier stakeholder interests 

4. Manage by stages - A PRINCE2 project is planned, monitored and controlled on a stage-by-stage basis. 

In PRINCE2, a project must have at least two management stages: 

  • an initiation stage 
  • at least one further management stage. 

5. Manage by exception - tolerances are defined for each project objective, to set limits for delegating authority. 

6. Focus on products  focus is more on the defining the products and delivery of products, including quality requirements.

7. Tailor to suit the environment - PRINCE2 can be tailored to suit the project size, complexity, team capability, environment, importance and risk. Project manager and project board will have to make choices including decisions on how PRINCE2 should be applied on the project.

PRINCE2 Seven Themes 

The PRINCE2 Seven Themes are - 

  • Business Case (Why?): project usually starts with an idea or a concept which is then considered to have potential value for the organization concerned. This theme addresses how the idea is developed into a viable investment proposition for the organization and how project management maintains the focus on the organization’s objectives throughout the project. 
  • Organization (Who?): organization which commissions the project needs to allocate the work to managers who will be responsible for it and steer it through to completion. Projects are cross-functional. This theme describes the roles and responsibilities the project management team is required to have, in order to manage the project efficiently and effectively. 
  • Quality (What?): all participants understand the quality attributes of the products to be delivered and then how the project management will ensure that these requirements are ultimately delivered. 
  • Plans (How? How much? When?):  
    • project plan for the project as a wholewill usually be a high-level plan, providing indicative timescales, milestones, cost and resource requirements based on estimates 
    • detailed stage plan for the current management stage, aligned with the overall project plan timescalesproduced before the start of that stage 
    • exception plans show actions performed to recover or come back on track from or avoid a forecast deviation from agreed tolerances, applies to project plan or stage plan 
    • a number of work packages are developed using detailed team plan

The PRINCE2 Seven Themes are

  • Risk (What if?): addresses how project management manages uncertainty. 
  • Change (What is the impact?): describes how project management assesses and responds to issues which have a potential impact on any of the baseline aspects of the project such as its plans and completed products. Issues may be instances of a product not meeting its specification or requests for change or unanticipated general problems. 
  • Progress (Where are we now? Where are we going? Should we carry on?): addresses the ongoing viability of the plans. This theme monitoractual performanceexplains the decision-making process for approving plans and the escalation process if events do not go according to plan. Ultimately, it determines how and whether the project should proceed.

PRINCE2 Seven Processes 

The PRINCE2 Seven Processes are:- 

Starting Up A Project (SU)  

Purpose

  • to ensure that the prerequisites for initiating a project are in place by answering the question: Do we have a viable and worthwhile project?  
  • base information needed to make rational decisions such as commissioning of the project is defined, key roles and responsibilities are identified and resources are allocated and a foundation for detailed planning is made available.

Objective: To ensure that: 

  • a business justification is documented in an outline business case, for initiating the project 
  • necessary authorities exist, for initiating the project 
  • project brief is available to define and confirm the scope of the project 
  • a feasible project approach is selected after evaluating different delivery approaches 
  • individuals are appointed who will undertake the project work  
  • the work required for project initiation is planned and documented in a stage plan

Directing A Project (DP)  

Purpose: To enable project board  

  • to be accountable for the project’s success by making key decisions and exercising overall control of the project and  
  • delegating day-to-day management of the project to the project manager

Objective

To ensure that 

  • some authority exists to initiate the projectto deliver the products and close the project 
  • management direction and control are provided to all concerned throughout the project’s life 
  • project remains viable at every stage 
  • corporate, programme management or the customer has a transparent interface to the project 
  • post-project benefits realization plans are reviewed and managed

Initiating A Project (IP)  

Purpose

  • to establish a sturdy foundation for the project 
  • to understand the work that needs to be done to deliver the project’s products before committing to a large spend 

Objective: to ensure that there is a common understanding of - 

  • what are the reasons for doing the project, what benefits are expected and what are the associated risks 
  • what is the scope of the work and what are the products to be delivered 
  • how the products will be delivered, when should they be delivered and what would be the cost involved at that point of time 
  • What the project decision-making team is comprised of  
  • how the required level of quality is be achieved 
  • how baselines can be established and controlled 
  • how risks, issues and changes can be identified, assessed and controlled 
  • how progress of the project can be monitored and controlled 
  • who requires which information, in what format and at what point of time

Controlling Stage (CS)  

Controlling Stage (CS)  

Purpose: To assign and monitor work, deal with issues, report progress to the project board and take corrective actions to ensure that the management stage remains within tolerance 

Objective: to ensure that: 

  • proper attention is focused on delivery of the management stage’s products by monitoring to avoid uncontrolled change and loss of focus 
  • risks and issues are tracked to keep them under control 
  • business case is reviewed at appropriate times 
  • agreed products for the management stage are delivered to stated quality standards, within cost, effort and time agreed 
  • project management team is focused on delivering within the tolerance level set

Managing Product Delivery (MPD)  

Purpose: is to control the link between the project manager and the team manager(s). Both agree on requirements for acceptance, execution and delivery. 

Objective: to ensure that: 

  • product related work allocated to the team is authorized and agreed upon first 
  • team managers, team members and suppliers are clear about what needs to be produced and what is the expected effort, cost or timescales 
  • planned products are delivered to expectations and within tolerances 
  • accurate information on progress of product development should be provided to the project manager at an agreed frequency to ensure that expectations are managed 

Managing a Stage Boundary (SB) 

Purpose: to enable the project manager to provide the project board with sufficient information to be able to: 

  • review the current management stage if it has completed successfully 
  • approve the next stage plan 
  • review the updated project plan 
  • confirm continued business justification and acceptability of the risks 

Hence, this process should either be executed at the end of or close to the end of each management stage.

Objective: is to: 

  • give an assurance to the project board that all products produced in the stage plan for the current management stage are developed by the team and approved 
  • prepare the next management stage plan 
  • review the PID documents and if necessary, update the business case, project plan, project approaches, project management team structure and role descriptions 
  • provide all the accurate information required by the project board to assess the continuing viability of the project 
  • record any information gathered or lessons learned that can help later management stages of the current project and/or other/future projects 
  • request authorization to start the next management stage from the project board 

For exceptions, the objectives are to: 

  • review the PID documents and if necessary, update the customer’s quality expectations, project approaches and controls and role descriptions 
  • provide all the accurate information required by the project board to assess the continuing viability of the project 
  • prepare an exception plan as directed by the project board 
  • without fail and further delay project manager must seek approval to replace the project plan or stage plan for the current management stage with the exception plan 

Managing a stage boundary is not performed towards the end of the final management stage, except an exception plan may be created on need basis.

Closing A Project (CP) 

Purpose

  • provide a normal termination point at which acceptance of the project’s product is confirmed and accepted by the user group 
  • recognize that objectives set out in the original PID documents have been achieved (or approved changes to the objectives have been achieved), or that the project has nothing more to contribute

Objective

  • verify that the final product has been accepted by the user  
  • make sure that the operations are able to support the products when the project is disbanded 
  • review the performance of the project against its baselines 
  • assess any benefits that have been realized during the project cycle and update the benefits management approach to include any post-project benefit reviews 
  • ensure that provision has been made to address all open issues and risks, with follow-on action recommendations

Team roles in PRINCE2 

Project Board 

Members: Executive, Senior Users and Senior Suppliers 

Responsibilities

  • Accountable for the success or failure of the project 
  • Provides unified direction to the project 
  • Delegates effectively 
  • Facilitates integration 
  • Authorizes the funds 
  • Effective decision-making 
  • Supports the project manager 
  • Ensures effective communication

Executive 

  • Appointed by Corporate,  Programme management or Customer 
  • Ultimately responsible for the project 
  • Key decision maker, buck stops at him 
  • Ensures project is focused throughout its life on achieving its objectives 
  • Ensures project delivers value for money 
  • Ensures project is aligned to corporate strategy. 

Responsibilities

  • Design and appoint project management team 
  • Oversee development of the Project Brief 
  • Oversee development of detailed Business Case 
  • Secure funding for the project 
  • Hold Senior Supplier accountable for the quality and integrity of the product 
  • Hold Senior User accountable for realizing the benefits 
  • Monitor and control the progress at strategic level 
  • Chair Project Board reviews 

Project Manager 

  • Given authority to run the project on a day to day basis  
  • Ensures that the project produces the required products 
  • Responsible for producing the result capable of achieving the benefits as stated in the business case 

Responsibilities  

  • Produce key project documents 
  • Prepare key project reports 
  • Maintain key project records 
  • Liaise with corporate, programme management or customer 
  • Liaise with external suppliers 
  • Lead and motivate the project management team 
  • Manage information flows between various levels of the project 
  • Manage production of the required products 
  • Establish and manage the project procedures 
  • Authorize Work Packages 
  • Advise the Project Board of any deviations from the plan

Senior User 

  • Specifies the needs of those who will use the project’s products. 
  • Represents the interests of : 
    • Those who will use the project’s products. 
    • Those for whom the products will achieve an objective 
    • Those who will use the products to deliver benefits

Responsibilities

  • Provide the customer’s quality expectations 
  • Ensure project products deliver the desired outcomes 
  • Ensure that expected benefits are realized 
  • Resolve user requirements and priority conflicts 
  • Ensure availability of user resources 
  • Make decisions on escalated issues 
  • Undertake Project Assurance from user perspective

Senior Supplier 

  • Represents interest of those producing the project products 
  • Accountable for quality of products delivered by the supplier 
  • Responsible for technical integrity of the project

Responsibilities

  • Assess the viability of the project 
  • Ensure that proposals are realistic 
  • Advise on the selection of product methods 
  • Ensure that supplier resources are made available 
  • Make decisions on escalated issues 
  • Resolve supplier requirements and priority conflicts 
  • Ensure adherence to quality procedures 
  • Undertake Project Assurance from supplier perspective.

Project Assurance 

  • Covers the primary stakeholder interests 
  • Has to be independent of the Project Manager 
  • Has sufficient credibility 
  • May be from corporate, programme management or customer organization.

Responsibilities

  • Liaison between business, user and supplier is maintained 
  • Risks are controlled 
  • Right people are involved in writing product descriptions 
  • Right people are planned and involved in quality inspections 
  • Staff are properly trained in quality methods 
  • Quality methods are adhered to 
  • An acceptable solution is being developed 
  • Applicable standards are being used 

Change Authority 

  • Authority for approving responses to requests for change or off-specifications 
  • Adequately represents the business, user and supplier interests 
  • Has sufficiently credibility 
  • Change Authority could be assigned to:  
    • Corporate or Programme management 
    • Project Board 
    • A nominated person / body 
    • Project Manager. 

Responsibilities

  • Review and approve or reject all requests for change and off-specifications within the delegated limits of authority and change budget set by the Project Board. 
  • Refer to the Project Board if any delegated limits of authority or allocated change budget are forecast to be exceeded. 

Project Support 

  • Is mainly concerned with providing administrative services or advice and guidance on the use of project management tools. 
  • Is the responsibility of the Project Manager. 
  • May be delegated to other roles or a separate role. 
  • Project Support and Project Assurance roles must be kept separate. 

Responsibilities

  • Set up and maintain project files 
  • Establish document control procedure 
  • Collect data – actuals and forecasts 
  • Update plans and maintain them 
  • Administer quality review progress 
  • Administer project board meetings 
  • Assist with compilation of reports 
  • Contribute expertise in tools and techniques 
  • Maintain key records 
  • Administer the configuration management procedure.

Team Manager 

  • Reports to and takes direction from the Project Manager 
  • Responsible to ensure production of products allocated by the Project Manager 
  • Reasons for allocating a separate Team Manager : 
    • Size of the project 
    • Specialist skills or knowledge needed 
    • Geographical location, or 
    • Preferences of the Project Board. 

Responsibilities

  • Prepare the Team Plan 
  • Produce Checkpoint Reports 
  • Plan, monitor and manage the team’s work 
  • Ensure progress of team’s work and use of team resources 
  • Identify any issues and risks associated with a Work Package 
  • Advise Project Manager of any deviations 
  • Hand over completed and approved products 
  • Liaise with Project Assurance and Project Support roles 
  • Plan and manage quality activities relating to team’s work. 

Types of PRINCE2 documentation 

Throughout PRINCE2 project, documentation is maintained as management products.  

There are three types of management product: baselines, records and reports. 

Baseline management products: are those that define aspects of the project and, when approved, are subject to change control. These are: 

  • Benefits management approach 
  • Business case 
  • Change control approach 
  • Communication management approach 
  • Plan (covers project plans, stage plans, exception plans and, optionally, team plans) 
  • Product description 
  • Project brief 
  • Project initiation documentation (PID) 
  • Project product description 
  • Quality management approach 
  • Risk management approach 
  • Work package 

Records management products: are dynamic and they maintain information regarding project progress. These are: 

  • Configuration item record 
  • Daily log 
  • Issue register 
  • Lessons log 
  • Quality register 
  • Risk register. 

Reports management products: provida snapshot of the status of certain aspects of the project. These are: 

  • Checkpoint report 
  • End project report 
  • End stage report 
  • Exception report 
  • Highlight report 
  • Issue report 
  • Lessons report 
  • Product status account

Summary 

PRINCE2 is PRojects IN Controlled Environments 

  • separates the management of project work from the specialist contributions, such as design or construction.  
  • focuses on describing what needs to be done, rather than prescribing how everything is to be done focusing on describing what needs to be done, rather than prescribing how everything is done. 

Characteristics of project work that differentiates itself from business as usual (BAU) are Change, Temporary, Cross-functional, Unique and Uncertainty 

We wish to control Cost, Timescale, Scope, Quality, Benefits and Risk on a PRINCE2 project 

PRINCE2 assumes that there will be - 

  • a customer who will specify the desired result  
  • a supplier who will provide the resources and skills to deliver that result 

PRINCE2 principles are :- 

  • Continued business justification 
  • Learn from experience 
  • Defined roles and responsibilities 
  • Manage by stages 
  • Manage by exception 
  • Focus on products 
  • Tailor to suit the project 

PRINCE2 Themes are :- 

  • Business Case 
  • Organization 
  • Quality 
  • Plans 
  • Risk 
  • Change 
  • Progress 

PRINCE2 processes are :- 

  • Starting Up a Project (SU) 
  • Directing A Project (DP) 
  • Initiating A Project (IP) 
  • Controlling A Stage (CS) 
  • Managing Product Delivery (MPD) 
  • Managing a Stage Boundary (SB) 
  • Closing A Project (CP) 

PRINCE2 Team roles are – Project Board (Executive, Senior User and Senior Supplier), Project Manager, Team Manager, Project Assurance, Change Authority and Project Support 

Throughout PRINCE2 project, documentation is maintained as management products - baselines, records and reports. 

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KnowledgeHut

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KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
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