What is Prince 2?

By John J Nash

PRINCE 2 is actually a world wide used project management methodology. PRINCE is an abbreviation used for Projects in Controlled Environments. The reason for the number two is actually the fact that this had its origin from PROMPT II methodology in 1975, which was replaced by PRINCE2 in 1989. It was because of its re-launch in 1996 in United Kingdom, which has made the number 2 to stick with it. This was launched for all existing UK government projects.

PRINCE 2 is a methodology, which is popular in terms of usage for both private and public sectors and has actually become a standard for project management.

The basic reason for the introduction of launching PRINCE 2 was the failure related to the projects in public sectors. Time delivery and mismanagement of projects have been draining down the sectors, hence requiring the launch of this methodology. Budget and time are two important factors when it comes to project management and these two categories are entertained with the help of the PRINCE2 structure.

The project is actually divided into three parts, the initiation, middle and closure. The focus is on the delivery of projects like some other methodologies, which focus on the execution of activities. In order to check the viability of the project at all times, PRINCE 2 requires a business case and plan to be frequently analysed.

This method offers a finite and well-defined life cycle, clearly defined and measurable business products, a corresponding set of activities to achieve the business products, definable resources and specific responsibilities to manage projects of organisation structure. The project board consists of the customers, user representatives, and suppliers. The manager is answerable to the board and provides it with updates of problems, progress reports, etc. The board in return decides how the project should further be carried.

The key feature of PRINCE 2 includes, a product based planning approach, division of projects into manageable and controllable stages, flexibility to be applied at a level appropriate to the project, a defined organisational structure for the team, and clear focus on business justification.

There is no doubt about the fact that PRINCE 2 brings out many benefits when used by professional sectors. Project administration can either break or make a company, hence proper executions of projects of any industry or service sector is extremely crucial. The benefits flow towards the companies once the projects can be delivered up to date and up to other requirements. PRINCE 2 revolves around doing the right project at the right time and for adequate purposes.

It ensures better control and usage of company's resources, providing with means of encounter and managing different risks and issues, frequent reports about project plan and business case and assurance of project continuity. Furthermore, this method helps to identify any problems that are likely to occur in the future, guarantees improved communication system between the team and its valuable stakeholders. It helps to capture lessons that are learned during the process. PRINCE 2 because of its attributes has been accepted as a popular method in countries like UK, USA, Germany, Africa, Australia etc.

John Nash is a project management consultant and has written many books on this subject, to know more about prince 2 software please visit his recommended websites

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Prince2 Project Management Explained!

By Andrew Cheah

PRINCE2 project management methodology is a process-driven project management method which contrasts with reactive/adaptive methods developed by Office of Government Commerce (OGC). PRINCE2 defines 45 separate sub-processes and organizes these into eight processes as follows:

Starting up a project (SU)

In this process the project team is appointed and a project brief (describing what the project is going to achieve and the business justification for doing so) is prepared. In addition the overall approach to be taken is decided and the next stage of the project is planned. Once this work is done, the project board is asked to authorize the next stage, that of initiating the project.

Planning (PL)

PRINCE2 project management method advocates product based planning which means that the first task when planning is to identify and analyze products. Once the activities required to create these products are identified then it is possible to estimate the effort required for each and then schedule activities into a plan. There is always risk associated with any work and this must be analyzed. Finally, this process suggests how the format of plans can be agreed and ensures that plans are completed to such a format.

Initiating a project (IP)

This process builds on the work of the Start Up (SU) activity and the project brief is then form into a Business Case. The approach taken to ensure quality on the project is agreed together with the overall approach to controlling the project itself. Project files are also created as is an overall plan for the project. A plan for the next stage of the project is also created. The result can be put before the project board for them to authorize the project itself.

Directing a project (DP)

These sub-processes dictate how the Project Board should control the overall project. As mentioned above, the project board can authorize an initiation stage and can also authorize a project. Directing a Project also dictates how the project board should authorize a stage plan, including any stage plan that replaces an existing stage plan due to slippage or other unforeseen circumstances. Also covered is the way in which the board can give ad hoc direction to a project and the way in which a project should be closed down.

Controlling a stage (CS)

PRINCE2 project management method suggests that projects should be broken down into stages and these sub-processes dictate how each individual stage should be controlled. Most fundamentally this includes the way in which work packages are authorized and received. It also specifies the way in which progress should be monitored and how the highlights of the progress should be reported to the project board. A means for capturing and assessing project issues is suggested together with the way in which corrective action should be taken. It also lays down the method by which certain project issues should be escalated to the project board.

Managing product delivery (MP)

This process consists of three sub-processes and these cover the way in which a work package should be accepted, executed and delivered.

Managing stage boundaries (SB)

The Controlling a Stage process dictates what should be done within a stage, Managing Stage Boundaries (SB) dictates what should be done towards the end of a stage. Most obviously, the next stage should be planned and the overall project plan, risk log and business case amended as necessary. The process also covers what should be done for a stage that has gone outside its tolerance levels. Finally, the process dictates how the end of the stage should be reported.

Closing a project (CP)

This covers the things that should be done at the end of a project. The project should be formally de-commissioned (and resources freed up for allocation to other activities), follow on actions should be identified and the project itself be formally evaluated.

Find out more about Prince 2 Project Management Training - Myth & Misconceptions here.

For More Project Management Resources or Download Prince2 templates, visit Online-Project-Management-Training.com

Andrew Cheah
Lean Management Consultant
Andrew is a consultant and he is working with projects day in day out and here is some of his articles on PROJECT MANAGEMENT.

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Project management office (PMO)

The Project Management Office (PMO) in a business or professional enterprise is the department or group that defines and maintains the standards of process, generally related to project management, within the organization. The PMO strives to standardize and introduce economies of repetition in the execution of projects. The PMO is the source of documentation, guidance and metrics on the practice of project management and execution. In some organisations this is known as the Program Management Office (sometimes abbreviated to PgMO to differentiate); the subtle difference is that program management relates to governing the management of several related projects.

A good PMO will base project management principles on accepted, industry standard methodologies such as PMBOK or PRINCE2. Increasingly influential industry certification programs such as ISO9000 and the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (MBNQA) as well as government regulatory requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley have propelled organizations to standardize processes. Organizations around the globe are defining, borrowing and collecting best practices in process and project management and are increasingly assigning the PMO to exert overall influence and evolution of thought to continual organizational improvement.

90% of projects do not meet time/cost/quality targets. Only 9% of large, 16% of medium and 28% of small company projects were completed on time, within budget and delivered measurable business and stakeholder benefits. [Standish Group Chaos Report, 1995] There are many reasons for such failures. As per a KPMG survey of 252 organizations, technology is not the most critical factor. Inadequate project management implementation constitutes 32% of project failures, lack of communication constitutes 20% and unfamiliarity with scope and complexity constitutes 17%. Accordingly 69% of project failures are due to lack and/or improper implementation of project management methodologies.

Establishing a PMO group is not a short term strategy to lower costs. Surveys with companies indicate that the longer they have an operating PMO group the better the results achieved to accomplish project goals (which might lead to lowering costs).

PMOs may take other functions beyond standards and methodology, and participate in Strategic Project Management either as faciliator or actively as owner of the Portfolio Management process. Tasks may include Monitoring and Reporting on active projects (following up project until completion), and reporting progress to top management for strategic decisions on what projects to continue or cancel.

A PMO can be one of three types from an organizational exposure perspective: enterprise PMO, organizational (departmental) PMO, or special–purpose PMO. The Project Management Institute (PMI) Program Management Office Significant Interest Working Group (PMOSIG), views the PMO as a strategic driver for organizational excellence and seeks to enhance the practices of execution management, organizational governance, and strategic change leadership. As the largest community devoted to the PMO, with over 4,000 members globally, the PMOSIG is the central forum to collaborate, expand the knowledge base, and mature the PMO practice within their own organizations and the business community at large.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia