Learn PRINCE2 Planning in 10 minutes flat 

 April 12, 2022

By  Nick Litten

Learn PRINCE2 Planning in 10 minutes flat

PRINCE2 activity planning and beyond

The only PRINCE2 planning technique described within the official Manual is the Product-Based planning technique.  However, in order to create a PRINCE2 plan there are several more steps to take.

The final step within the prince two planning technique is to create the product flow diagram which shows the sequence within which the products will be created.

But how exactly will the products be created?  Who will be involved in creating them?  And when will they be created?  This and other questions need to be answered next and would generally be described as activity planning, or, to produce another way what tasks are needed, what resources are needed, and when does the or all happen?

Activity planning means that you would look at each product and decide what activities you need to build or create it.  You will want to get the opinions and information from many people such as suppliers, specialist team members, users and team managers.

PRINCE2  will use the individual product descriptions for each product as the place to start when identifying activities.  A good role of thumb here is that the product will be named using a noun or outcome, whereas an activity will be described by using a verb and a noun.

Do not make the mistake of merely converting the name of the product into an activity.  It is most likely that each product will require many activities in order to create it.

PRINCE2 Product Description

The product description will contain valuable information which will give clues as to the type and nature of the activities needed and the resources required.  For example it contains the purpose and composition of the product, where it is derived from, the acceptance criteria that it will need to pass the method used for testing it and the development skills required.

There are many ways in which these activities can be captured, one of the most often used is post it notes created during the planning workshop.  Or it may be as simple as making a list of the activities first, then thinking through the sequencing and interdependences between these activities.

The most usual method is to first create a precedence diagram (also known as a network diagram), and use that as data input to a planning tool such as Microsoft project.  The main view that is used here is the Gantt chart which represents the start and finish date of each activity.  Hence it also shows the duration of each activity.

The Gantt Chart

Most Gantt chart views also include the predecessor and successor task links as an arrow, so that it can easily be shown the sequence and dependencies of each activity.

PRINCE2 Specialist and Management Products

There are broadly two types of products that need to be considered, specialist products, which will vary according to the specialist nature of the project, and management products.

An example of management products is the project plan, or the stage plan, or the team plan.  Just like the specialist products, each of these plans will require activities and resources to create them.  So therefore these activities also need to be included within the Gantt chart.

Within PRINCE2 one the main management products is the project initiation documentation.  This document is not just contain the business case and project plan, but it also contains the four typical strategy plans, namely:

  • The configuration management strategy
  • The risk management strategy
  • The quality management strategy
  • The communication management strategy

All of these explaining how each of those aspects will be applied to this particular project.

As a result of that, additional activities and resources will be required, and these too must be added to the Gantt chart.  This is particularly true that the project plan level, but each stage plan will normally need to carry out some aspects of the work rid regard to those four strategies.

The project manager is responsible for setting up the project controls which is also contained within the project initiation documentation.  These controls would normally contained for example, management reporting, issue and risk management, end stage assessments, and corrective actions.

Most of the above will normally need to be included within both project and stage plans.

Finally, a point about natural time delays.  A simple example here may be building a brick wall and then mounting something else on top of that wall.  You may have to wait 24 hours for the cement to harden before any heavy products can be placed all built on top.

Another example may be ordering parts, sometimes they are not in stock them will have to be reordered by the manufacturer, other times the manufacture will need to create them (this would be an example of an external product).  These times delays are normally called ‘Lags’ and should be included within any Gantt chart.


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Nick Litten

Nick is the Technical Director and Co-Founder of The Projex Academy. He has enjoyed a long career in Information Technology, managing projects, and working as a project team member. Any given day he is leading the technology charge with a focus on innovative training solutions, a great website user experience.

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