The PRINCE2 Approach to Plans
There are seven steps to the PRINCE2 approach to planning and used for project plans and each stage plan. With team plans, which are optional, and the teams are working for another organization, they may use a different approach to planning.
Designing a plan
This is the first step that the project management team needs to do and agree on how they would like to present the plans within their project.
There are a variety of planned formats from Gantt charts to a list of tasks on a spreadsheet to a follow or basic set of sticky notes on the wall. In this step, the project management team chooses a suitable format for their project.
Although the use of management stages in a Prince two project is mandatory, the number of management stages is flexible and depends on the scale, duration, and risk of the project. So, defining management stages needs to balance how far ahead in the project it is sensible to plan, where key decision points need to be, and the amount of risk within the project.
You also want to decide what estimating techniques to use, or whether to use any planning tools, such as project software.
Although the planning procedure might be carried out many times on a project, the designing a plan step will occur only once.
Defining and analysing the products
This step uses the PRINCE2 product-based planning approach. This involves identifying all the products to be delivered within the plan and then describing them in sufficient detail so that the teams understand what needs to be created and the project manager contract and monitor their work.
In addition to identifying specialist products, this step lists the management products such as progress reports to be created. The main output from this step is a collection of product descriptions describing the output strong, and inputs to, this plan.
Identifying activities and dependencies
Once the products within the scope of the plan have, the next step is to understand what activities will deliver those products. The team that will do the work should be involved with this step.
In addition to identifying the work to deliver the products, the plan identifies quality activities needed to cheque the products and the management activities involved with controlling and monitoring the work.
Finally, any dependencies between the activities should be described (there are two types of dependencies, internal or external). an internal dependency is when one activity cannot start until another activity has finished. An external dependency is when the project management team needs something from outside the project, such as a product or a decision, before starting some work details in the plan.
During this step, the project management team forecasts how long the tasks will take, how much they will cost, and what effort and resources are required to carry out the activities in the plan. The estimates will inevitably change as more is discovered about the project.
Preparing a schedule
Once the tasks have been identified, and the time, effort, and costs of those tasks have been estimated, the next step is preparing a schedule, which involves forecasting the dates that the tasks will start and finish. The project manager will consider resource and team availability, as well as the availability of the people involved with reviewing and approving the products.
Once the schedule is complete it can be represented graphically so that it is easy for everyone to see what needs to be done and when. It is usual to identify key milestone dates within the schedule, showing when key outputs need to be created.
Having assigned people and resources to the various pieces of work, the project manager can create a cost budget for the plan.
This should include any provision for dealing with risks (risk budget), And changes (change budget), and whether there is any proposed flexibility around the cost targets (cost tolerance). The appropriate level of management must authorize these costs.
The project manager for a team plan, the project board for a stage plan, and corporate, programme management, or the customer for a project plan.
Analysing risks to a plan
Because plans are forecast and predicting the future is difficult, all plans contain some elements of uncertainty and hence risk. The analyzing risks to a planned step should be carried out in parallel with the other steps in the planning procedure.
Any threats or opportunities that are dealt with using the PRINCE2 risk management procedure. Each plan should be considered a draught until the risks inherent in that plan have been identified and assessed, and countermeasures to deal with the risks have been put in place.
Documenting a plan
Here, the outputs from the preceding steps are put together in a document. This document will contain the overall schedule and some narrative areas describing the risks associated with the plan, external dependencies, and planning assumptions.
It might be a good idea to have a number of document formats, such as a higher-level format for senior executives and a more detailed format to use for the day-to-day management of the project.
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