Everything You Need to Know: The 7 Processes of PRINCE2

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07th Jun, 2022
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08th May, 2019
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Everything You Need to Know: The 7 Processes of PRINCE2

PRINCE2® is considered the abbreviation of Projects IN Controlled Environments and it is a structured project management process as well as the practitioner certification programme. It lays stress on dividing projects into controllable and manageable stages. There are many countries from all across the globe that adopt PRINCE2® and those countries include Western European countries, the UK, and Australia. The training of PRINCE2® is obtainable in various languages and it was developed in the form of a United Kingdom government standard intended for information systems projects. In the year 2013, the ownership of rights was transferred from HM Cabinet Office to AXELOS Ltd. which is considered a joint venture by Capita and the Cabinet Office to PRINCE2® with 49 percent and 51 percent stakes respectively.

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PRINCE2® Methodology

PRINCE2® methodology segregates the whole projects into various stages and every stage is managed in a separate manner. 

With  PRINCE2® methodology, 7 processes are involved:

Steps in PRINCE2 Methodology

1. Starting up a Project

The primary process includes activities that are necessary to make sure that it is a worthwhile and viable project. The activities involved in this process are the following ones:

  • Appointment of the project and executive manager
  • Appoint and design the project management team
  • Capture previous lessons
  • Prepare an outline business case
  • Choose the project approach and accumulate the project brief
  • Plan the initiation stage

2. Directing a Project

This process includes the project board. In this process, authorization is given to manage a project, to proceed continuously, and provide ad hoc direction when needed. The activities of directing a Project process include the following:

  • Authorize initiation
  • Authorize the project
  • Authorize stage or an execution plan
  • Provide ad hoc direction
  • Authorize project closure

3. Initiating a Project

Initiating a Project procedure is aimed towards the Project Manager, who performs the maximum job in this process. In the other project management methods, this process is termed as planning. It is a time-consuming part of project management and the most important one too. The failure and success of a project are related directly to the planning level that was done. The activities in this step include the following:

  • Agree on tailoring needs
  • Preparing the risk management approach
  • Preparing the change control approach
  • Preparing the quality management approach
  • Preparing communication management approach
  • Set project controls
  • Create a project plan
  • Formulate the Benefits Management Approach
  • Assemble the PID or project initiation documentation

The project manager has the responsibility to assemble the PID. It comprises of the following items:

  • Project definition
  • Project approach
  • Business case
  • Team structure
  • Role descriptions
  • Quality management approach
  • Change control approach
  • Risk management approach
  • Communication management approach
  • Project plan
  • Project controls

4. Controlling a stage

This process includes making sure that the management stage stays within tolerance. It starts when a stage is authorized to move forward by a project board and its activities are carried out by a project manager.

  • Authorizing a work package
  • Review status of work package
  • Get completed work packages
  • Review management stage status
  • Report highlights
  • Assess and capture issues and risks
  • Escalate risks and issues
  • Take corrective action

5. Managing Product Delivery

This product focuses on the delivery of the end service or product of a project. It is performed by the team manager primarily, the technical manager, who transfers the reports and the project to the project manager. Three major activities in this process are as follows:

  • Accepting a work package
  • Perform a work package
  • Send a work package

6. Managing State Boundaries

As management stage approaches, this procedure comes in. It is needed so that a project board may review the success of the present stage and approve the succeeding stage. At state boundaries, PID is updated and most project documents are confirmed and reviewed. The activities performed by the project manager are as follows:

  • Planning the succeeding management stage
  • Updating the project plan
  • Updating a business case
  • Report Management stage
  • Create an exception plan

7. Closing a Project

A project is a provisional endeavor. It has a beginning and an end. The project closure jobs are very small and visible to senior management; therefore, they have a vast role in project success. The five activities in Closing a Project process are as follows:

  • Prepare planned closure
  • Prepare premature closure
  • Hand over products
  • Evaluate the project
  • Recommend project closure

The Project Manager recommends project closure for the Project Board’s approval.

PRINCE2® Process Model

You will get articles on PRINCE2® processes in Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Italian, Dutch, French, and Polish. A process is recognized as an organized set of activities and their job is accomplishing a particular objective. There are many activities of PRINCE2® meant for Starting Up a project or running a project. It groups them into processes.

Actually, PRINCE2® is considered a process-based approach which is highly beneficial for project management, and there are mainly seven processes that will guide a person through the project. Every project does provide a set of activities and these activities aid in directing, managing, and delivering a project. You will get them all in the manual of PRINCE2®.                                                     

The seven processes of PRINCE2® are:

  1. SU (Starting Up a project)
  2. IP (Initiating a Project)
  3. DP (Directing a Project)
  4. CS (Controlling a Stage)
  5. MP (Managing Product Delivery)
  6. SB (Managing a Stage Boundary)
  7. CP (Closing a Project)

Summary of the Processes

There are 7 management processes in PRINCE2® and each process has the job of one of the management levels, as Project Manager, Team Manager, or Project Board.

  1. Directing a Project Process – It has the liability of the Project Board. Directing a Project Process runs from the beginning of the project and continues to live till the last. Starting Up a Project method happens prior to the starting of the project. During Directing a Project procedure, the Project Board does authorize project stages besides managing the general project through the utilization of Management by Exception.
  2. The Starting Up a Project process – This is considered the liability of both the Executive and the Project Manager. It is viewed as the very first process and it is recognized as the Pre-Project process as it happens prior to the starting of the project. This is because the project doesn’t start before the Initiation Stage. In this process, the project’s reasons are recognized, the project management team gets assigned, and a Stage Plan gets created for running the Initiation Stage.
  3. Initiating a Project Process – This process is the procedure which defines the product quality, Project Product, project timeline, costs, the commitment of resources, risk analysis, and assembles the Project Initiation Documentation (PID). It is also the process where the creation of Project Plan happens and the Business Case meant for the project gets decided. All this information is accumulated into the PID.
  4. Controlling a Stage Process – In the process of Controlling a Stage, the Project Manager does the majority of the work. He watches the work closely, takes remedial action, has a communication with the stakeholders, and observes alterations. Every action can get repeated many numbers of times by the Project Manager until the stage becomes complete.
  5. The Managing Product Delivery Process – In the process of Managing Product Delivery, the planned components are formed and it becomes the liability of the Team Manager. Here, the compounds are created, the Work Packages are implemented, and work gets accomplished. The Team Manager does receive the Work Packages that are a list of jobs from the Project Manager. After this, he delivers the finished and tested Work Packages to the Project Manager again.
  6. The Managing a Stage Boundary Process – This process has got a couple of primary functions. The first one is reporting on the current stage’s performance and the second one is planning the subsequent stage. Hence, the Project Board is liberal to check how good the stage has finished its work against the Stage Plan. So, it can be said that the job of this process is evaluating the stage and preparing the plan meant for the subsequent stage.
  7. The Closing a Project Process – This process does cover the job of wrapping up the project. Additionally, this process is considered the concluding portion of the final and last stage. PRINCE2® recommends many activities for preparing the project for the finish, like Lessons Learned Report, Acceptance Record, and End Project Report. The productivity of this process would be fundamental for the confirmation of closure of the Project Board because the Project Board remains responsible for closing a project in place of the Project Manager.

PRINCE2® Stage Gates
PRINCE2® Stage Gates

PRINCE2® uses the Stage Gate Model for controlling the progress of a project. It means the work that is to be delivered is broken down into manageable sections each of which is easily understandable. PRINCE2® name these sections as Management Stages. At the end of every Stage or Section, three important checks are done without fail:

  • Look Back- to make sure the work of the present stage is done or nothing is left behind.
  • Look at the Big Picture- review the Project’s viability in a business case, check the project plan’s schedule, and make sure all risks are properly documented and are under control.
  • Look forward- provide a Stage Plan for covering the work in the upcoming stage.

The stage is a Phase

Projects should be broken down into phases to make them manageable. In fact, it is a very simple and known principle in any project management. The management stages of PRINCE2® are discrete and sequential sections of a project. The stages are chronological and most cases interdependent. One stage happens only after the earlier one is completed. Stages may involve the same work or different work. There is no rule as to when a stage should end and when the next one begins; however, the stages must be sufficiently small to be manageable and large enough so that micromanaging the resources invested and people involved becomes easy.

Choice of Stages

Stage boundaries are selected based on project phases if they exist. The completion of project deliverables and project life cycle events can make good stage boundaries. The complexity and size of a Project is an important factor in several stages. There are complex and large projects that have more stages and they have more control over project work.

All projects basically have two stages: an initiation stage and an execution stage. In the first stage, the project planning activities are done, i.e. the blueprint is developed and in the second stage, project execution happens.

Process Model Color

Color plays a vital role in the PRINCE2® process model. There are several processes included in the model and some processes are applied more than another process. For a better understanding of the relationships among different processes, colors are used in the PRINCE2® process model. Following four colors items are found in the whole process model:

PRINCE2® Process Model Color

  • Blue items: Items with blue shades signify these items are used or executed once in the whole project.
  • Green items: Items with green shades are used once in each stage.
  • Orange items: Items with orange shades can be executed several times in a stage.
  • Dark red items: Items with dark red shades signify it can be implemented several times in a stage.
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