By Mike Acaster   |   PPM Portfolio Manager, AXELOS

PRINCE2 – the project management method used by more than a million professionals around the world – is adopted in a wide variety of industry sectors by people in highly diverse roles. But what are the elements that make PRINCE2 one of the world’s most popular project management methods?

  1. PRINCE2 complements the PMBOK® Guide

PRINCE2 and PMI’s PMBOK® Guide are highly complementary. If they had – by intention – been designed to work together, this is what we would have created, though the approaches are owned by two different organizations. Where the body of knowledge provides detail about the tools and techniques to apply in a project, the end to end approach is where PRINCE2 comes in, providing the who, when, why and how and the weakness of one is the strength of the other. To understand more about how PRINCE2 and the PMBOK® Guide fit together, please consult our white paper or watch our video.

  1. A tailored approach

PRINCE2 is designed to be generic, with lessons distilled from a wide variety of industries and projects to provide the essence of how to manage a project. The practitioner takes the PRINCE2 method and then needs to tailor it accordingly to the particular project and sector. It can also be tailored to use with agile approaches – e.g., Scrum and Kanban – and at the “work package” level (delivering outputs of the project), the method should be geared to a specific industry.

  1. Integrating PRINCE2 in IT environment

An IT change programme, such as replacing laptops and software, can be treated as a project, especially if the change is a major transformation. To do this effectively needs engagement with the end users of the technology: PRINCE2 can be deployed to gather, analyse and understand their requirements. That means identifying the “must-haves, could-haves, should-haves and won’t haves” to pinpoint what is absolutely necessary for people to do their job. Prioritization is fundamental to PRINCE2 and helps to flex the requirements both scope and the quality criteria.

  1. Communication

Projects require good communication with end users, so they know it’s coming and can raise concerns which should help give a smoother transition. When users can see “what’s in it for them” they can get behind the business change (or project) and contribute to its success. Communication is covered in PRINCE2 primarily when engaging stakeholders regarding the impact, benefits and risk to the business and themselves from the project. This is essential, as getting it wrong could affect the entire organization and possibly even its external reputation.

  1. PRINCE2 addresses some of the more problematic areas of projects

Project prioritization

PRINCE2 can help identify which project to run if you need to prioritize. The MoSCoW (must have, should have, could have, won’t have) technique used within the method pinpoints what is necessary for an organization to survive and thrive. Used in conjunction with another AXELOS best practice, Measurement of Value (MoV), this looks at the value an organization will derive from a project and get the best balance of benefits against costs.

Lessons

PRINCE2 ensures that lessons are gathered throughout the life of the project. But an organization only learns the lessons once it applies the knowledge to the project or later projects, otherwise it’s just theoretical.

Change control

Otherwise known as asset management or version control, this is integral to PRINCE2 and is needed to prevent unauthorized changes. Change is inevitable on a project but it needs to be introduced carefully so that we understand the impact on other elements of a project and on the project’s product. The aim is to maximise delivery and minimise disruption to the project.

Ultimately, PRINCE2 allows project managers to get a project underway quickly and manage it from end to end. It provides a common language for people working across multiple projects (including those which cross international boundaries) and, by its very nature, saves organizations time and money.

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PRINCE2® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IIL.