So you have finally decided to gain first-class management skills to either improve your employment opportunities or just implement it in your organization to yield better and improved results while undertaking challenging projects. Whatever the case might be, an individual who is about to engage with the PRINCE2® project management methodology must be aware of its basics and various features.
PRINCE2® is basically an acronym for – Projects IN Controlled Environment, which is a structured project management methodology and the world’s most appreciated and favoured standard for project management. It is considered the most flexible and adaptable project management method. It’s so user-friendly that its controlled method of handling projects makes it easier for the practitioner to decide upon the involved members and their respective responsibilities in a project. Its versatility makes it easier to implement this methodology in numerous projects from different sectors such as IT, finance, construction, and engineering. It is also used by government agencies and other private companies which is another factor behind its emergence as a global standard in project management.
The qualification offered by the PRINCE2® method is divided into two separate courses:
PRINCE2® Foundation is the first of the two offered courses. This is a basic course that does not require any prior qualification, but the candidate must have some knowledge of Project Management. The Foundation course focuses on furnishing the PRINCE2® principles and its jargon, when completed the candidate would be capable of acting as a well-informed member of a project management team based on a PRINCE2® environment.
PRINCE2® Practitioner is the second course offered by the PRINCE2®. This is the advanced level of the Foundation course and requires suitable qualifications before availing this course. This includes either the PRINCE2® foundation course or any of the qualifications suggested by the requirements criteria. The Practitioner course focuses on the application of the PRINCE2® methodology on the operation and management of a project. After the completion of the course, the candidate will be able to use PRINCE2® methodology according to the needs of the project scenario. This course ensures the individual of a comprehensive understanding of the relationships between the PRINCE2® principles, themes, processes, and the products.
As discussed above, we know that the PRINCE2® methodology is very flexible and can be applied to any kind of project. As the name suggests, it focuses on undertaking a project under controlled environments. It describes the principle of setting up a project in PRINCE2® project management. The idea is that the method is based on processes and the division of the entire project work into several stages to simplify the work associated with it. The processes focus on maintaining a controlled environment from the preparation to the completion of the project.
Now that we have some idea of what PRINCE2® is all about, let’s dive deep into the fundamental segments associated with this methodology and its core structure. To get started, we can identify its structure as a combination of three integrated elements that someway or the other influence each other throughout the project.
- The structure includes an array of seven principles: these are the rules and regulations and the collective group practices that should be adhered to in a PRINCE2® project.
- Another element is the collection of seven themes and the themes of seven features of project management that are a must to implement in a project.
- There is also a set of the processing procedure i.e. the steps to be used in the entirety of the PRINCE2® project.
The PRINCE2® functions in a very structured manner as we discussed above and the skeletal framework with the above mentioned three elements ensure the proper implementation of this methodology so as to yield improved and desired results. This particular framework is actually applicable to any type of project environment and utilizing this particular structure and the underlying processes we can effectively run and manage a PRINCE2® project.
7 PRINCE2® PRINCIPLES
- Continued Business Justification: This principle states that every project should have a justification to support itself, which would be valid throughout the entirety of the project. Factors such as cost, time, profit and reasoning should form the basis of the justification. The continuous recheck of justification is one of the major actions taken in the PRINCE2® and it must be approved by the respected authorities that are in a position to do so.
- Learn From Experience: It’s as simple as it sounds, it implies that every member associated with the project should learn from the experience gained in the entire process. The mistakes must not be repeated again which is easy and possible through analysis of the previous projects.
- Defined Roles and Responsibilities: Definite roles and responsibilities must be assigned to every member associated with the project to reduce confusion related to the work distribution and process and ultimately to save valuable time from getting wasted on trivial and unprofessional issues.
- Manage By Stages: According to the methodology of PRINCE2®, it encourages management of a project in the form of smaller stages. Any PRINCE2® project must have a minimum of two stages, the starting up stage and its initiation stage that follows accordingly.
- Manage By Exception: This principle suggests that the projects must be managed by exception. The team handling the project must have an exception plan in order to verify and determine that the project is running on the right and desired track, and any change must be forwarded to the reporting manager in a timely manner.
- Focus On Products: This principle, in particular, enforces the quality of the product. The quality of the product shouldn’t be compromised, through emphasis on developing products and services properly and maintaining the quality standards across all the projects and products.
- Tailor To Suit: This is the final principle of PRINCE2® that emphasizes on the flexibility of the PRINCE2® structure and its customization according to different situations and projects. Every project brings its own challenges and set of requirements and PRINCE2® is capable of providing liberty to mold the principles that are suitable for the project.
7 PRINCE2® THEMES
- Business Case: In one way it is similar, and goes hand in hand with the first PRINCE2® principle that promotes continuous business justification. A Business Case considers the justification for undertaking a project along with defining the costs and timelines involved in the project. Another aspect of it is that the Business Case shall be valid throughout the entirety of the project at any given point of time. In case the justification seems invalid, the project shouldn’t be continued any further and should be called off immediately.
- Organization: It ensures that the proper stage is being followed and that every individual involved in the project has no confusion regarding their role and the assigned duties. This theme clearly aligns with the PRINCE2® principle of defined roles and responsibilities.
- Quality: This one aligns with the PRINCE2® principle of focus on products. It focuses on ensuring that the product or service is of a set global standard and efforts must be made to maintain such high-quality standards consistently.
- Plans: Planning is the most important step while undertaking any project, and PRINCE2® promotes the same. Just planning is not enough, the plan should be an ideal one with intense research and consideration towards major aspects related to the project. During the stage of planning, it should be made sure that there is a plan of processes and it should be maintained throughout the project.
- Risks: Everything that we do in our daily lives includes some sort of risk, for e.g. crossing a road. Similarly, every project in some way or other is susceptible to risks and requires a proper and functional risk management. PRINCE2® suggests that there should be a risk register and a risk management plan already designed and implemented to execute a project effectively and efficiently.
- Change: Changes are an important part of a project, as no plan is perfect and might require future adjustments and updates. PRINCE2® suggests that whenever a change is decided and requested, it should be recorded in a register and should only be sanctioned and adopted by following the rules mentioned in the plan and strategy register.
- Progress: This theme focuses on the regular review and analysis of a project and asserting control over it through the same. This theme aligns with the PRINCE2® principle of management by stages.
- Starting up a Project: This process makes sure that there should be an existing plan and business case for starting the project. It would be impossible to start any project without a proper plan in the first place.
- Directing a Project: This process is heavily based on the communication between the project board and the executive, where the project plan is reviewed and analyzed in detail.
- Initiating a Project: This is the process where the plan is initiated and signs of actual execution of the plan are effective and evident.
- Controlling a Stage: This process includes making sure that the previous stage was successful and that it is verified and confirmed before proceeding further to the next stages.
- Managing Product Delivery: Here, the developed and finished product or service is thoroughly inspected and is compared with the desired results from the devised plan. The product should meet the expectations of the plan otherwise more efforts should be made towards its betterment.
- Managing a Stage Boundary: The primary objective behind this process is to assure the board that all products in the current working stage are effectively produced and approved. This process also includes reviewing and updating of the usual documents that involve the project initiation plan, business case, project plan, and risk register when necessary.
- Closing the Project: As indicative from its name, this process focuses on closing the project in terms of pen and paper i.e with legal documentation. This process is the final step of each and every project.
PRINCE2® CERTIFICATION COST
The primary cost elements associated with the PRINCE2® Certification are:
- The cost associated with the training and preparation
- The cost of the actual examination
Many candidates have the misconception that the cost associated with the certification only includes the examination fee and miscalculate the expenses related to it. You should be aware that just like every qualification, PRINCE2® certification also requires intense determination to successfully pass both the offered courses. It has two training modes: Online training and Classroom training. You have the freedom to choose any of the two based on your needs.
On average, the PRINCE2® Certification costs around $900. But by opting for the online mode of training you can cut down the prices to $300. This training would provide a bundle for both the PRINCE2® Foundation and the PRINCE2® Practitioner exams for a year with the all-in-one pack. Some training providers even provide training for a cost of $60 for a month to those who have an urgency or just want to get the certification as quickly as possible.
The classroom is considered to be the better of the two training modes as it enables live human interaction and better resolution of doubts. The classroom would cost you around $1000, and this cost covers the cost of both the PRINCE2® Foundation and the PRINCE2® Practitioner exams.
Henceforth, you should consider the overall certification cost while evaluating the PRINCE2® training. Additionally, you should also consider the extent of the course coverage and flexibility provided to you with the various bundled services, such as questionnaires, guide books, resource materials, etc. to save a few bucks on the PRINCE2® Certification cost.
There are several roles that are pre-defined under the PRINCE2® methodology. But, the Practitioners can tailor these roles depending on the project environment and requirements, as long as they adhere to some rules. The following is the list of the defined PRINCE2® roles:
- Project Board: It is a group that comprises of :
- Executive: The individual ultimately responsible for the project.
- Senior User: One or more individuals that represent the requirements of the final user.
- Senior Supplier: One or more individuals responsible for representing the interests of the suppliers.
- Project Assurance: Responsible for ensuring whether the interests of the stakeholders are met.
- Change Authority: It decides upon some of the change requests on behalf of the Project Board.
- Project Manager: The individual responsible for the day to day management and supervision of the project on behalf of the Project Board.
- Project Support: The body that is responsible for helping the Project Manager in the Project Management activities and duties.
- Team Manager: One or more people that ensure the quality and other aspects of production in the various teams from various departments.
BENEFITS of PRINCE2® Methodology
Now that we have briefly understood the structure of the PRINCE2® methodology and its essential components, we should focus on the various advantages of actually applying the PRINCE2® Methodology. PRINCE2® has proven itself as an established and top managerial practice. Some key benefits are :
- The most important is the versatility that it offers, it can be applied to almost any type of project within any environment.
- This methodology is acceptable and well recognized across the entire globe. Earlier only IT sector was its dominant user but now it has expanded to several other sectors also, such as finance and construction.
- PRINCE2® shines at identifying and distributing roles and responsibilities distinctively. Every member associated with the project should be aware of their responsibilities and tasks. It reduces confusion and enhances performance.
- PRINCE2® also focuses on the actual product or service that we are producing in the project and tries to maintain its highest quality of standards. It further ensures the quality of the final services with timely delivery.
- Another benefit is that the plans mentioned in PRINCE2® are designed to cater to the different needs and requirements depending on the different levels of management.
- It simplifies larger projects through its principle of dividing the project into smaller stages making them easier to handle and manage.
Thus, it is crystal clear that PRINCE2® ensures that a product or service is delivered in an effective manner in every possible way. It also satisfies the reasoning behind projects and delivering products of high-quality standards on time.