PRINCE2 Fundamentals: The Reigning Project Management Methodology

To digest PRINCE2 project methodology we have divided it into small understandable portions. There are three components, each to be covered by its own post. First we look at the fundamentals, then the 7 roles and finally the phases.

7 roles in PRINCE2

Projects in Controlled Environments (more commonly known as PRINCE2) is the most widely practiced project management methodology worldwide, used by teams in over 150 countries.

But what is PRINCE2 and why is it so popular? And more importantly, is it the right approach for your projects? These are tricky questions to answer without sifting through endless articles and vague definitions, so we’ve saved you some Googling by collecting the essentials of PRINCE2 in one convenient place.

The fundamentals of PRINCE2

PRINCE2 is a process-based approach that focuses on organization and control over the entire project, from start to finish. That means projects are thoroughly planned before kick-off, each stage of the process is clearly structured, and any loose ends are neatly tied up after the project concludes.

You may be wondering: What’s with the 2? The PRINCE methodology was initially developed in the late 1980s as a way for the U.K. government to manage IT projects. In 1996, the approach was reviewed and updated by a team of project management specialists and a review panel of 150 public and private organizations to make it more widely applicable to a variety of industries. Thus, the new and improved PRINCE2 was born.

The 7 principles of PRINCE2

The PRINCE2 method is built on the following 7 principles:

1. Projects must have business justification.

Each project must have a clear need, a defined customer, realistic benefits, and a detailed cost assessment.

2. Teams should learn from every stage.

Lessons are sought and recorded at every step in the PRINCE2 process and then used to improve future work.

3. Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined.

Everyone should know exactly what they’re responsible for — and what their teammates are responsible for.

4. Work is planned in stages.

PRINCE2 projects are broken up into individual work phases, with periodic reviews to record lessons learned and confirm the project is still on track to meet requirements.

5. Project boards “manage by exception.”

Since board members are typically senior executives who don’t have time to manage a project’s daily activities, they establish baseline requirements for things like time, cost, risk, and scope, and then delegate daily oversight to the project manager. The project manager has the authority to get the project back on track if it’s running late or going over budget. But if issues arise that will impact the established requirements, that are an “exception,” and the project board decides the best way to proceed.

6. Teams keep a constant focus on quality.

Deliverables are continually checked against requirements through the use of a quality register.

7. The approach is tailored for each project.

The PRINCE2 method itself should be adjusted to suit the needs of each project, changing the amount of oversight and planning to fit the size of the project, number of people involved, etc.

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