The importance of PRINCE2 Product Descriptions 

 September 10, 2023

By  Dave Litten

The importance of PRINCE2 Product Descriptions

Let’s be honest: when diving into PRINCE2 for your Practitioner Exam, there’s much to soak up. Amidst the stages, principles, themes, and processes, the value of Product Descriptions can easily slip under your radar.

Yet, this seemingly minor component plays a crucial role in the successful execution and completion of a project. Buckle up as we delve into why you should know its power.

The Underrated Powerhouse: PRINCE2 Product Descriptions

First things first, what even is a Product Description? In the PRINCE2 universe, it’s a detailed outline of a product’s purpose, composition, derivation, and quality criteria. Think of it as a blueprint.

If you’re building a house, you wouldn’t just randomly start laying bricks. A Product Description is that plan which ensures you’re doing the right thing, in the right way, for the right reasons.

Why Every Project Needs Them

Imagine going to a café and just asking for “food”. Too Vague. The chef wouldn’t know what you want. But if you specify that you wish to have a “vegan avocado toast with a sprinkle of chilli flakes”, you’ll get precisely what your heart (and stomach) desires.

That’s the magic of specificity – what Product Descriptions bring to a project.

Crystal Clear Expectations

One of the biggest pitfalls in project management? Misaligned expectations. Enter Product Descriptions. They clarify precisely what’s needed, reducing the chances of surprise revisions, scope creep, or unexpected hitches. It’s like having a GPS that shouts, “You’re off track!” before you get too far off the road.

A Common Language

You’ve got stakeholders from various departments, each speaking their own jargon. It’s easy for wires to get crossed. Product Descriptions give everyone that universal language. It’s less “lost in translation” and more “I gotcha”.

Driving Quality Deliverables

With the quality criteria outlined, no guesswork about the standard is needed. The team can aim for gold because they know what gold looks like!

PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam: Why This Matters

All right, so Product Descriptions are fabulous. But what’s the deal with the Practitioner Exam?

Here’s the thing: The exam is about more than memorizing concepts. It’s about understanding how these concepts weave into the fabric of a project.

Product Descriptions aren’t just a theoretical construct; they’re a practical tool, a lifeline, that practitioners rely on. Understanding their relevance and application can give you that edge in the exam. It’s the difference between just passing and rocking it.

Product Descriptions in Real Life: Stories from the Trenches

Okay, it’s time for some real talk. Let’s see how Product Descriptions play out in the wild world of projects.

The App Overhaul Project

Company X wanted to revamp their mobile app. A general goal? “Make it user-friendly”. But what does that mean?

The Product Description came to the rescue, outlining features like intuitive navigation, dark mode, voice command integration, and accessibility settings. And guess what? The redesign was a hit, all thanks to a clear roadmap.

The Green Office Project

An office decided to go green. Great! But instead of just saying, “Let’s recycle”, they used a Product Description.

This described setting up dedicated bins, monthly e-waste collections, partnering with eco-friendly suppliers, and regular green audits. The result? An award-winning sustainable office space.

The New Product Launch

A tech company wanted to launch a new gadget. The Product Description detailed its specs, features, user manual, and post-purchase services. Result? A product that customers loved, and a post-launch phase with minimal hiccups.

The Dynamic Duo: Product Descriptions and Product-based Planning

Stepping into the arena of PRINCE2, there’s another concept that’s intertwined with Product Descriptions: the Product-based Planning technique. It’s like Batman and Robin; sure, they can stand alone, but together they’re a powerhouse.

Zooming into Product-based Planning

Before diving into the duo’s dynamics, let’s get a grip on Product-based Planning. It’s a visual representation of the project’s products and their dependencies. You know, a flowchart showing what needs to come before what to make the magic happen.

How Product Descriptions Fit In

So, where does our buddy, the Product Description, fit into this scheme? It provides the DNA for each product in the planning technique. If the flowchart is the skeleton, the Product Descriptions are the muscles, organs, and everything in between.

Why This Matters for the Practitioner Exam

On the surface, you might think, “Okay, so I draw some boxes, connect them with arrows, and scribble down details from the Product Description.” But the PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam wants more from you. It wants you to understand how the Product-based Planning technique and Product Descriptions dance together to ensure a project flows seamlessly from start to finish.

Ace That Exam: Making the Connection

Remember this dynamic duo when you face a question about planning or quality on the Practitioner Exam. Think about how the Product Description sets the criteria and how the Product-based Planning technique organizes the products based on those criteria. They’re two sides of the same coin, ensuring a project doesn’t just get done but gets done right.

A Real-Life Analogy

Imagine planning a big, fat family reunion. The Product-based Planning technique might outline who sits where, the sequence of events, and which events depend on others (like you can’t have the toast before the welcome speech!).

The Product Descriptions? They’ll detail what each event involves. The toast isn’t just a “toast”; it’s Uncle Bob sharing a funny family anecdote, followed by Aunt Lisa’s heartfelt message, wrapped up with a surprise video clip of childhood memories.

Bringing it Home: Product Descriptions + Product-based Planning = PRINCE2 Exam Success

The dance between Product Descriptions and Product-based Planning isn’t just theoretical; it’s the essence of PRINCE2’s project approach. For anyone gunning for the PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam, remember this: understanding the individual components is excellent, but understanding how they interact is where the real mastery lies.

It’s easy to get lost in the sea of PRINCE2 concepts. But here’s a pro tip: pay attention to the might of the Product Description. It’s a game-changer, whether you’re managing projects or tackling the Practitioner Exam. So, as you dive deeper into your PRINCE2 journey, remember the humble Product Description. It’s not just a concept; it’s a secret weapon. Go ahead, wield it and watch your projects (and exam scores) soar!

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Dave Litten

Dave spent 25+ years as a senior project manager for UK and USA multinationals and has deep experience in project management. He now develops a wide range of Project Management Masterclasses, under the Projex Academy brand name. In addition, David runs project management training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management.

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