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    Jim Owens: PRINCE2(TM) History and Overview

    Number of View: 2904

    I was often asked questions about the Prince2 methodology, so I thought I should jot down a few notes on it.
    The project Management methodology PRINCE2 started life in 1975 as PROMPT2 (Project, Resource, Organisation, Management and Planning Technique) developed by Simpact Systems Ltd, a UK company. Four years later in 1979 PROMPT2 was adopted by another UK Company CCTA (Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency), now part of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), who modified and renamed the methodology to PRINCE (Projects In Controlled Environments) in 1989, following input from around 150 European organizations, and used it as the standard methodology for all government information systems projects.

    In 1996 CCTA released PRINCE2, as the standard
    methodology for managing all projects in the UK
    government

    2005 saw the release of a significant update of
    the PRINCE2 documentation.
    PRINCE2 itself is actually in the public domain,
    so it is not restricted to a particular vendor,
    however there are many training organisations
    around to world to assist with accreditation.

    There are two accreditation levels, “Foundation”,
    a one-hour multiple-choice exam, and
    “Practitioner”, a three-hour written exam. The Practitioner
    exam is open-book.
    Whist preparation courses are available around
    the world; they are not mandatory for attempting
    the exams.

    Project managers often ask what the difference is
    between PMBOK (a guide to the Project Management
    Body Of Knowledge, the ANSI standard for project
    management, produced by PMI) and PRINCE2. You can
    think of it this way, PMBOK tells you what a
    project manager should know to manage a project
    successfully, PRINCE2 tells you what you should do.

    There is often a misconception that PRINCE2 is
    applicable only to IT projects. Although that was
    the case in the early days, that is no longer
    true.

    PRINCE2 is a process-driven project management
    method, but pne of its weaknesses comes from its a
    high degree of scalability and applicability of
    modules that it can lead to a project becoming
    what has been dubbed a “PINO”, a PRINCE In Name
    Only.

    PROCESSES
    ———

    The PRINCE2 methodology comprises forty-five
    sub-processes organized into eight high level
    Processes. Each process has key inputs and outputs,
    together with the specific objectives, activities and
    documentation:

    1.SU Starting Up a Project

    2.PL Planning

    3.IP Initiating a Project

    4.DP Directing a Project

    5.CS Controlling a Stage

    6.MP Managing Product Delivery

    7.SB Managing Stage Boundaries

    8.CP Closing a Project

    SU – Starting up a project
    ————————–
    The project brief (charter) is formulated,
    including the outline scope of the project (what will
    be/not be included in the project) and its
    justification. This phase also appoints the team, and
    lays out the project management approach to be
    taken. Once this stage has been signed off by the
    Board, the preliminary project officially exists,
    but is not yet initiated.

    PL – Planning a project
    ———————–
    The activities necessary to produce the product
    of the project are identified. This is critical
    because the PRINCE2 methodology strongly recommends
    a product-based approach. Next, the effort for
    each activity is estimated and combined in a
    schedule. Risk are evaluated and recorded and planned
    for in the Risk Log, and the reporting format for
    the rest of the project determined.

    IP – Initiating a project
    ————————-
    The oupouts of the previous stages are considered
    and enhanced to form a Business Case (a Business
    Case is mandatory for each project). Due
    consideration is given to the project management and
    controlling approach and quality standards to be
    followed. The Project Initiation Document (PID) is
    produced and submitted to the board for project
    authorisation.

    DP – Directing a project
    ————————
    This is where a lot of the “real” project
    management happens. Stages can be authorized, or the
    plans can be amended (and reauthorized) to allow for
    risk events, slippages, scope changes and so on.
    If a project has “gone wrong” and is
    unrecoverable, it is during this process that a decision to
    terminate may be made.

    CS – Controlling a stage
    ————————
    Projects, especially large or complex projects
    are often decomposed to stages, each stage being
    managed as almost a separate project. This stage
    also monitor progress and reports to the Board.
    Issues (acrualised risks) from these stages are
    dealth with or (where predefined triggers are met)
    excalated to the Board.

    MP – Managing product delivery
    ——————————
    Work packages need to be ececuted, delivered and
    accepted (by comparison with the project plan,
    including the product scope statement adn quality
    plan)

    SB – Managing stage boundaries
    ——————————
    A stage boundary is the final part of a stage, so
    when a proect is divided into stages, this
    process defines what must happen towards the end of a
    stage and how the subsequent stage is actioned (or
    current stage corrected, if it fails the quality
    checks). The information from the stage end is
    fed back through the communication plan.

    CP – Closing a project
    ———————-
    Formally end the project and free up remaining
    project resources. Measure the degree of success of
    the project and record the Lessons Learned report
    produced for analysis of this project and for
    planning future projects. Officially accept the
    product of the project.

    PHASES
    ——

    PRINCE2 projects are usually in four PHASES:

    1. Starting a project

    2. Initiating a project

    3. Implementation

    4. Closing a project

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