There are seven processes, each containing three or more activities:
Starting Up a Project
Appoint the Executive and the Project Manager
Capture previous lessons
Design and appoint the project management team
Prepare the outline Business Case
Select the project approach and assemble the Project Brief
Plan the initiation stage
Initiating a Project
Agree the tailoring requirements
Prepare the Risk Management Approach
Prepare the Quality Management Approach
Prepare the Change Management Approach
Prepare the Communication Management Approach
Set up the project controls
Create the Project Plan
Refine the Business Case
Assemble the Project Initiation Documentation
Directing a Project
Authorize the project
Authorize a Stage or Exception Plan
Give ad hoc direction
Authorize project closure
Managing a Stage Boundary
Plan the next stage
Update the Project Plan
Update the Business Case
Report stage end
Produce an Exception Plan
Controlling a Stage
Authorize a Work Package
Review Work Package status
Receive completed Work Packages
Review the stage status
Capture and examine issues and risks
Escalate issues and risks
Take corrective action
Managing Product Delivery
Accept a Work Package
Execute a Work Package
Deliver a Work Package
Closing a Project
Prepare planned closure
Prepare premature closure
Hand over products
Evaluate the project
Recommend project closure
The Project Manager has the responsibility to plan the work, delegate the work, monitor the work progress, take corrective action if needed, and update the plan with the current and forecast situation:
Business As Usual (BAU) is sometimes called ‘operational management’, and as such are often the recipients of the end products of a project.
Projects are different to BAU and have the following FIVE characteristics:
Be aware of the differences between Business As Usual (BAU) and a Project:
It is important to put projects into their context:
The definition and characteristics of a PRINCE2 Project
It is important to understand the customer/supplier context on which PRINCE2 is based, including considerations when undertaking projects in a commercial environment.
There are many reasons why you should use PRINCE2 2017 for your projects:
You will want to recall how the integrated elements of PRINCE2 inter-relate:
There are six aspects of a project that need to be controlled and they are:
Costs. The project must be affordable and needs an agreed budget.
Timescales. Every project has duration – defined as the timescale between start and finish.
Quality. The products that a project creates must be fit for purpose.
Scope. The project scope describes exactly what the project will deliver and therefore describes the scope boundary – the project will deliver nothing beyond that.
Risk. Every project has risks, but we need ensure that the total severity of all risks is acceptable
Benefits. The project is an investment and it is important to understand why the project is being done. It delivers products that will realize benefits, and this must outweigh the project time, cost and risk
“A programme is a temporary flexible organization structure created to coordinate, direct and oversee the implementation of a set of related projects and activities to deliver outcomes and benefits relating to an organization’s strategic objectives. A programme may have a life that spans several years”
PRINCE2 enables the right information to be available at the right time for the right people to make the right decisions.
These PRINCE2 principles are based on years of experience and lessons learned from both successful projects as well as failed projects. To conform to PRINCE2, your project MUST adhere to these principles.
You will need to be able to explain the seven Principles and understand which aspects of a project can be tailored, who is responsible and how tailoring decisions are documented.
The SEVEN Principles are:
The justification is documented in the Business Case, and this is used to drive all decision-making processes to ensure that the project remains aligned to the business objectives, and that the benefits and Business Case is viable, desirable, and achievable.
The Business Case must be viable to start the project and remain viable throughout. If the Business Case ceases to be viable, the project should be changed or stopped.
Everyone involved in the project should proactively seek out lessons rather than waiting for someone else to provide them. The lessons are captured in the Lessons Log when starting the project to see if any could be applied.
Lessons should be included in reports and reviews including End Stage Assessments, the aim being to seek opportunities to implement improvements. When the project closes, the Lessons Report should pass on lessons identified for the use of future projects.
All projects need resources with the right level of knowledge, skills, experience, and authority. These must be assigned required roles within the project. The Project Management Team structure must have these roles and responsibilities agreed plus a means for effective communication between them.
A project must have primary stakeholders, and all three stakeholder interests must be represented on the project:
Business sponsors – ensuring that the project provides value for money
Users – those who will use the project’s products
Suppliers – they provide the project resources including the specialist team who create the products
A PRINCE2 project divides the project into several management stages – the minimum being two, the initiation stage and one delivery stage.
These stages are partitions of the project with a control/decision point at the end of each – the Project Board need to approve the next stage plan before work commences.
Shorter stages give more control, and longer stages place fewer burdens on senior management.
There is no point attempting to plan beyond the horizon, as planning effort will be wasted.
PRINCE2 achieves this by having a high-level Project Plan, and detailed Stage Plans that are created for the next stage near the end of each current stage.
The project is released to the Project Manager one stage at a time.
Management by exception enables efficient use of senior management time by reducing their time and effort burden – while still having control by ensuring that appropriate decisions are made at the right level within the organization.
It does this by defining distinct responsibilities at different levels for directing, managing and delivering the project with accountability at each level. The situation is escalated to the next management level (up) if the tolerances are forecast to be exceeded.
These levels of authority from one management level to the next is achieved by setting appropriate tolerances (a plus/minus allowable deviation from plan).
Tolerances can be set against the six objectives and constraints for each plan. They are Time, Cost, Quality, Scope, Risk, and Benefit.
Without product focus projects can be subjected to “scope creep”. PRINCE2 uses Product Descriptions which are created during planning. These include the quality criteria that each product must meet. Once the products of a plan have been defined, then the activities and resources can be planned to create the products.
PRINCE2 is a universal project management method that can be applied to any project in any industry, organization and culture because the method is designed to be tailored.
Tailoring ensures the PRINCE2 method relates to the project environment, that the project controls are adjusted to suit the project’s scale, complexity, importance, capability and risk
Processes and Themes – how do they work together in PRINCE2?
I am often asked that while there are helpful diagrams showing how the PRINCE2 Processes work together, why are there not any similar diagrams for PRINCE2 Themes? So, to start, just a quick review of the 7 PRINCE2 Processes.
Starting Up a Project and Initiating a Project are done in series with a quick dip into Directing a Project to get authorization for entering the initiation stage.
The Initiating a Project process is used in the first PRINCE2 stage which is always called the Initiation Stage. All remaining stages are ‘delivery stages’.
The Final stage is NOT a separate stage; it is just that after all the specialist products have been completed, then the Closing a Project process is used within that same last stage.
Controlling a Stage and Managing Product Delivery are used in parallel within each PRINCE2 delivery stage.
The Managing a Stage Boundary process is used just prior to the end of each stage – apart from the last stage when the Closing a Project process is used. This simplified graphic will help make that clear:
Controlling a Stage is the process used within each delivery stage by the Project Manager.
There must be at least ONE delivery stage, but there may be many. The actual number is dependent upon the nature, size, risk, and complexity of the project.
Managing a Stage Boundary is the process used at the end of EVERY stage to prepare for an End Stage Assessment, and covers the creation of the next stage plan, as well as updating relevant documents within the project initiation documentation (PID) and creating the End Stage Report.
Managing a Stage Boundary is also used if needed to prepare an Exception Plan ready for an Exception Assessment because tolerance has been forecast to be exceeded, and the Project Board (using Directing a Project process), have requested an Exception Plan. This of course, would happen during a stage.
The Team Manager may decide to create a Team Plan as part of accepting the Work Package.
The Project Plan is created by the Project Manager in the Initiating a Project process (within the Initiation stage).
It contains all the information from the start of the first delivery stage (the next stage) up to and including the end of the final delivery stage.
PRINCE2 states that as you get to the end of ANY stage, a Stage Plan is created ready for the Project Board to review at the end stage assessment.
How Do Processes and Themes interrelate?
There is not a complete diagram anywhere in the PRINCE2 Manual, so this is my interpretation, and certainly captures most of the key relationships.
Your mind-set should be “while I am using this particular process, what management products do I need to create, and therefore, to which Themes should I reference?”
First, let us look at the major products that would be referenced for the Starting Up a Project and Initiating A Project processes:
Suppose the project is to build a house. Let’s say that Stage 4 is to landscape the garden area. In the Project Plan, I will have estimated at a high level the duration, resources and costs for landscaping as a small part of the complete house build.
My Project Plan has now been approved, and I am delivering the project in the series sequence of PRINCE2 delivery stages….
As I get near the end of Stage 3, I create the Stage 4 Plan. I take the high-level tasks from the Project Plan, and for the first time create it in sufficient detail so that I can manage it on a day-to-day basis during Stage 4.
New or modified Product Descriptions and Configuration Item Records will also be generated. This is my stage 4 Stage Plan.
The Stage Plan for stage 4 will need to be approved by the Project Board (along with the updated PID contents and my End Stage Report showing current progress and forecast information for the remainder of the project.
The preparation for all this is done in the Managing a Stage Boundary process and is then brought before the Project Board in the Authorize a Stage or Exception Plan activity within the Directing a Project process.
BUT, for the first time in my Stage 4 Plan, I can now create product descriptions and activities for the water feature, the grassed area, the planted trees, the garden pathway, etc.….
Why? Because I did not know enough detail nor had yet to make my mind up back at the time when we created the top-level Project Plan….so planning in detail at the start of a project can be a waste of time and often leads to setting the wrong expectations and leading to rework later in the project when details are known.
So, in this way, PRINCE2 allows its Plans to be refined as the project progresses through its stages – just like in the real world.
By the way, suppose I have decided to outsource the garden water feature to a specialist local designer/provider. One of the Work Packages detailed in the Stage Plan for stage 4, will now be presented to the external supplier for their agreement (cost, time, materials, resources, etc.).
They then sit down with their experts and do a complete costing etc., this is optional of course, but they are producing YOUR Team Plan (they would see it as ‘their project plan’) and their manager would be your ‘Team Manager’
I have just described the ‘Authorize a Work Package’ activity in Controlling a Stage, and the ‘Accept a Work Package’ activity in Managing Product Deliver process (where the specialist teams live and work!)
View the PRINCE2 processes as your ‘toolkit’ showing the sequence and relationships with each other.
View the Themes as ‘reference manuals’ sitting on your top shelf over your desk illustrating the 7 key ‘approaches’ used in a PRINCE2 project.
As you might imagine there is a lot of interaction between the processes and themes. Don’t worry about ‘memorizing’ the activity names – since you will have access to the PRINCE2 Manual throughout your Practitioner exam…
This diagram shows the most likely Theme references needed in each PRINCE2 Process:
Okay, what is the first thing that you notice?
What is apparent is that almost all the Themes are used in each of the processes!
There is a temptation to think about the individual roles taking part in each process, and frankly, you could argue that all the Themes are used (or are helpful to reference) in ALL the PRINCE2 Processes!
But I’ve tried to pare that down a little. For example, NO planning is done in the Directing a Project, nor in Controlling a Stage processes.
In Managing Product Delivery, if being used by a third party, they may well have their own business case, but it is not the Business Case owned by the Project Board Executive.
Closing a Project. No planning needed here (the Benefits Review Plan does not use product-based planning, nor does it need to follow the same structure as a ‘standard’ PRINCE2 Plan.
PRINCE2 Foundation Exam The foundation exam is a closed book exam and consists of multiple choice questions. There are FOUR possible questions styles, and the following graphic gives generic examples of each:
|Management Product||Process Created||Created By|
|Benefits Management Approach||Initiating a Project||Project Manager|
|Business Case outline||Starting Up a Project||Executive|
|Business Case detailed||Initiating a Project||Project Manager|
|Checkpoint Report||Managing Product Delivery||Team Manager|
|Communication Management Approach||Initiating a Project||Project Manager|
|Configuration Item Records||Initiating a Project and Managing a Stage Boundary||Project Manager/Support|
|Change Control Approach||Initiating a Project||Project Manager|
|Daily Log||Starting Up a Project||Project Manager|
|End Project Report||Closing a Project||Project Manager|
|End Stage Report||Managing a Stage Boundary||Project Manager|
|Exception Report||Controlling a Stage||Project Manager|
|Highlight Report||Controlling a Stage||Project Manager|
|Issue Register||Initiating a Project||Project Support|
|Issue Report||Controlling a Stage||Project Manager usually|
|Lessons Log||Starting Up a Project||Project Manager|
|Lessons Report||At stage or project end, and within the Highlight Report||Project Manager|
|Plan||Depends upon Plan level||Project or Team Manager|
|Product Description||Initiating a Project, Managing a Stage Boundary, and Controlling a Stage||Depends upon management or specialist, project or stage level|
|Product Status Account||On demand||Project Support|
|Project Brief||Starting Up a Project||Project Manager|
|Project Initiation Documentation (PID)||Initiating a Project||Project Manager|
|Project Product Description (PPD) (PPD)||Starting Up a Project||Project Manager|
|Quality Management Approach||Initiating a Project||Project Manager|
|Quality Register||Initiating a Project||Project Support|
|Risk Management Approach||Initiating a Project||Project Manager|
|Risk Register||Initiating a Project||Project Support|
|Work Package||Controlling a Stage||Project Manager|
This is a video from the PRINCE2 MASTERCLASS – this covers exam changes for the new (current) syllabus and will help clarify what you have just learned: