The Underlying Idea Behind PRINCE2® Methodology

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Last updated on
08th Aug, 2019
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10th May, 2019
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The Underlying Idea Behind PRINCE2® Methodology

PRINCE2® stands for Projects in-Controlled Environment. PRINCE2® is a process-based project management methodology that means PRINCE2® certified project management experts are not just projecting implementers but serious planners and contributors whom even the top management of an organization can trust with a whole new project. The original version of PRINCE methodology was updated in 1996-97; so, the new version becomes PRINCE2®. The methodology provides ways to simplify any types of project in several sub-modules so that the project management team can organize and control the whole project systematically.

PRINCE2® methodology starts with some basic questions

Basic questions in PRINCE2 Methodology

As said before, PRINCE2® methodology tries to simplify the project by segregating it into several parts and then integrating each part setting proper logic. The PRINCE2® methodology starts with some basic questions. These questions help to include all visible and invisible matters together:

  • What we have planned to do?
  • What is the expected date of starting the project?
  • What arrangement does this project need?
  • Is it possible to accomplish everything with the current availability of in-house resources or some external help is necessary?
  • How much time the whole project can take?
  • If more time is required, then how much further can it be stretched?
  • What will be the maximum cost of the whole project?

These questions form the foundation of a project. Many unknown or primarily suppressed aspects come out one by one while answering these questions. Hence, in the PRINCE2® methodology, a project always starts with these questions. The PRINCE2® methodology attributes a proper structure for every project. It defines it step by step so that everyone involved understands their roles, responsibilities, and limitations. PRINCE2® makes everything logical and organized.

The pillars of PRINCE2® Framework

It is obvious that an unstructured, uncontrolled project goes nowhere. It destroys an organization’s precious resources and money. These types of unstructured, uncontrolled projects do not finish in time or within the assigned budget. Thus, PRINCE2® methodology provides a framework to channelize the resources, ideas, energy, money, and time. There are three pillars of the PRINCE2® framework:

  1. A project should have a planned and controlled start – A project should be well-planned with all the above-mentioned questions answered before starting it.
  2. A project should have a planned and controlled middle – While work-in-progress, the project should follow a predetermined path.
  3. A project should have a planned and controlled end – When the mission is accomplished it is necessary to reconcile everything systematically.

Principles of the PRINCE2® methodology

The entire PRINCE2® methodology is based on the following principles:

  • Project undertaken should have proper justification with respect to the business: The project should be properly justified at any point in time. The project manager should be optimistic about its benefits and risk ensuring that benefits are always higher than the cost involved.
  • Roles and Responsibilities of every member should be well-defined: All members of the project should know what the project wants from them and how to relate their responsibilities with others.
  • Project is a systematic accumulation of several parts: PRINCE2® methodology breaks a project into several parts and then integrates them as the project demands. Thus, it helps the units to evaluate their success at each stage.
  • Decentralized management: PRINCE2® methodology asked to form a project management board with senior-most managers that would determine the project cost, time, and resources. It then asks to provide the responsibility of the project to the project manager who will manage the project management teams. Each team would have team heads who will report to the project manager.
  • Tailored to meet the project needs: PRINCE2® can be tailored depending on the importance of the project, the budget allocated, resource availability, and time.

Project Management Roles in the PRINCE2® methodology

Project Management Roles in the PRINCE2®

In a PRINCE2® environment, the project management team needs to work in perfect cohesion. In fact, human resource planning and allocation take a different dimension here. PRINCE2® methodology induces teamwork culture in every part. The greater project management team is segregated into smaller units and each unit remains responsible for only their share of jobs. Again each unit remains linked with several other units that together accomplish the whole job. Some key roles in a PRINCE2® environment are given below:

  • Project board: This remains at the helm of the entire project. The project board comprises of executive, senior user, and senior supplier. The programme or corporate management appoints the executive. This executive bears the responsibility of the project. They get technical support and advice from the senior user and senior supplier. Normally, the executive remains responsible for the development of the project management team. They also develop the Business case and performs a regular audit to ensure the feasibility of the project. The senior user is the representative of all the users who will use the project product. The senior supplier represents those designing, facilitating, and developing the actual project products.

The project manager interacts with the project board whenever any important decision is taken or any unanticipated matter arises like the current budget may not be sufficient or a few resources may need some changes, etc. The project manager needs the approval of the project board in all major decisions that are not included in the actual project plan.

  • Project Manager: The project manager organizes and controls the project management team. They develop smaller units as required and appoint unit heads. The project manager draws the whole working plan and delivers responsibilities to the units and individuals. They also provide deadlines
  • The Customer: The customer is an individual, group, or corporate body that actually pays for the project
  • The User: the user is an individual, group, or corporate body who will use the project products. In some situations, the customer and the user become the same individual, group, or corporate body
  • The Supplier: This is actually a group of professionals whose skills and experience are required to materialize the project

PRINCE2® Project Process

PRINCE2® Project Process

PRINCE2® strongly advocates planning a project structure and adhering to it unless and until any crisis arises. Following are the essential steps in the PRINCE2® project process:

  • Step 1: The first step in structuring the whole project that includes designing, directing and starting the project. At first, a project mandate is created that narrates the necessity of the project in brief. Once the mandate is established, the project is briefed. The project board is developed and the board members discuss the project on the basis of the brief they receive. They then approve or amend the brief and give their consent. At this point, a project manager is appointed to whom the project board delegates the project responsibility. The project manager designs the blueprint on the basis of a number of parameters such as deadline, the risk involved, budget, scope, quality, and benefits.
  • Step 2: the second step includes control and management. The project manager develops the project team, segregates it in smaller units, assigns responsibility to each unit, and assigns budgets and deadlines. This step is the most important one in the sense that it actually materializes the project and shows the results, i.e. project products are developed in this step. Project manager gives regular updates to the project board that then review the feasibility of the project. As every stage completes, the project manager and project board undertake a feasibility check on the basis of several parameters.
  • Step 3: This is the closing of a project. As the project products are developed, the project manager closes the project by reconciling every single aspect from finance to human resources. The final report is submitted to the project board that then ends the project.

PRINCE2® project management support

Managing administrative works is important in any PRINCE2® project management. The project manager needs to deal with several types of documents and they also need to arrange meetings with the team or units as also with the project board. Besides, keeping files updated, arranging computerized files in proper order, data management, reviewing the team’s performance and problems, etc. are important administrative jobs. Project manager generally deals with all these responsibilities single-handed; in some situations, especially when the project is a large one or several projects are taking place simultaneously, the administrative office is established to handle these jobs.

Scope of the PRINCE2® methodology

Projects have different levels. Some are extremely complicated with multidimensional aspects, some are multidisciplinary but not so complicated, and some are simple. PRINCE2® is suitable for all as it provides a common language for all stakeholders. PRINCE2® simplifies a complicated project by segregating it as per the requirement and then integrating the segregated parts to obtain the required outcome.

Project assurance in the PRINCE2® methodology

In PRINCE2® environment project assurance is the assessment of a project from independent perspectives. There are three different and independent project assurance views: business’ view, user’s view, and supplier’s view. It is evident that these views represent the independent views of project board members.

Business assurance checks the viability of project cost, quality, and deadlines. The user assurance checks whether the users’ requirements and quality are maintained or not. Supplier assurance also called technical assurance checks whether the project is progressing as per the assigned framework. If the project is really big or taking place in more than one place at a time, a project assurance team is formed to obtain independent views of the above-mentioned personnel; otherwise, the responsibility is given to the project board.

So, PRINCE2® methodology is designed to manage a project in an organized way. It attributes project structure at the very initial phase of a project and ensures that everyone involved in the project adheres to that structure. PRINCE2® methodology uses common language in every level that enables even novice project members to communicate with others effortlessly or understand their responsibility without much intervention of the unit manager or project manager.

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