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PRINCE is a project management method for controlled environments.I found the training comprehensive and the method a little overwhelming, but overall the course provided me with a clear understanding of how the system can help businesses execute successful projects. I obtained information using the slides provided by London South Bank University (2016), and online search of articles and publications about the application of PRINCE, and the different elements of the system.Murray (2011) states that the main reason why PRINCE was upgraded in 2006 the constantly changing nature of project management methods and new challenges of project managers, and PRINCE2 is today’s “best practice” standard, qualification program, and project management framework that has a detailed project process model.
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The Seven Principles of PRINCE2
According to the Oracle White Paper (Oracle, 2011), the management processes designed by the framework are based on seven principles:
a. continued business justification
In my understanding, is necessary to monitor the plan and compare it with the actual performance, to ensure that the original project is still suitable for delivering the objectives. This helps companies monitor the health and feasibility of projects.
b. learn from experience
The research and review previous projects, use existing effective templates, and apply knowledge obtained from them.
c. defined roles and responsibilities
The creation of project and activity teams is necessary for the success, and the effective allocation of the roles (Marsh, 1996).
d. manage by stages
It is important to create control points in the project to separate stages, phases, and identify main events.
e. manage by exception
Workbenches, such as the Manager Workbench and Review Program Workbench should be implemented in order to manage exceptions and implement automated change control, when exceptions occur.
f. focus on products
The Deliverables section of the plan should be detailing product expectations, including quality assurance guidelines.
g. tailor to suit the project environment
Templates provide flexible control for project managers, to change the levels and types of controls to be implemented.
The main themes of PRINCE2 are business case, organisation, risk, change, quality, and plan. The Business Case theme addresses why the project is created, what the options are, outlines the costs, timescales, expected outcomes, and risks. The Project Organisation determines who is the owner of the project, identifies the roles of team members, and authorities. It also highlights the roles and responsibilities of each member of the team a:he Project Board consists of an executive, senior user, and senior supplier. To manage and identify risks, a risk register is created, with each risk having a unique identifier. All users should have access to the risk register.
The PRINCE2 Method
The method of PRINCE involves controls and breakpoints. TThere are five process groups in the PRINCE2 method: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.
The method covers ten different knowledge areas and integrates them in a way that they all contribute towards the successful execution of the plans. The above information is available in the 2009 TSO document (TSO, 2009b).
Project Plans and Levels
As it has been stated previously, PRINCE2 has an organisational theme that needs to be discussed in detail, in relation with the levels and responsibilities related to each level. The main levels are: programme management, directing, managing, and delivering (TSO, 2009a).
The Quality Theme
The quality theme features managing expectations and projected outcomes, designing quality assurance and interventions. According to a recent publication by CIPFA (2012), the quality approach allows the planning of systematic activities leading to the identification of the company’s products, the project’s products, and the tracking of the quality methods. Customers’ expectations are analysed, an acceptance criteria is created, and this leads to the detailed project product description. The next task is to generate a project response, and a quality register. Quality, according to the definition of PRINCE2, is “The total amount of features or characteristics of a product, such that it meets expectations and satisfies the stated needs. Saying that all features of the product have to work as expected for a given amount of time” (London South Bank University, 2016). Simply put, the main purpose of the quality theme is to ensure that all the products are fit for their purpose. This approach signifies that if the quality of the products is compromised, the outcomes of the project will be negatively affected, as well. Before implementing the PRINCE2 project, it is necessary to agree on the acceptance criteria and quality expectations. For quality planning, the MoSCoW method of prioritisation should be used: must have, should have, could have, and won’t have for now. This information is detailed in the CIPFA (2012) publication.
The risk management and monitoring features implemented in PRINCE2 are as follows: identifying risk, assessing it, planning (to avoid, exploit, reject, etc.) the risk, implementation of actions by risk owners, and communication through checkpoints, highlights, and reports, according to the PowerPoint lecture of London South Bank University (2016). The identification of risk is followed by their qualitative assessment: high, medium, or low risk categories, and the assessment of each risk’s potential impact. Risk responses can be avoidance, exploitation, enhancement, reduction, or sharing.
Ferguson (2011) describes this theme as the ability to identify and control baselines, changes, and approve or reject them. The online article talks about the applicability of PRINCE on smaller scale projects. Change management should be based on aligning the objectives of the project with the current changes, and making adjustments in order to meet the expectations of the project owners and the customers. For example, the implementation of a change might change the projected outcomes, therefore, changes need to be made.
The Progress theme can be described as providing periodic snapshots of the level of completion and performance towards the objectives (Oracle, 2011). Under this theme, the calculations of Earned Value and Earned Value Projection are completed, and this allows project owners and directors to see the value of work completed against the resources used. Thresholds are also important in this bench-marking process.
Based on the above review, the main benefits of PRINCE2 for companies can be highlighted as: real time input and monitoring, risk management, performance and quality control abilities, and clear definition of objectives. The main benefit of the PRINCE2 method is that it provides a standard and common language for project management professionals. I believe that adapting the management approach can improve the success rate of small- and large-scale projects alike.
CIPFA. 2012. PRINCE2 Quick Reference Guide.
Ferguson, C. 2011. PRINCE2 for Small-scale Projects. Novare Consulting.
London South Bank University. 2016. PRINCE2 Presentations and Lectures.
Marsh, D., 1996. Project management and PRINCE. Health Informatics, 2(1), pp.21-27.
Murray, A. 2010. White-paper: PRINCE2 AND Governance. Outperform. Document Number: 1042-01-01 Version Number: 1v0
Oracle. 2011. PeopleSoft Projects (ESA) Support for PRINCE2. An Oracle White Paper June 2011
TSO. 2009a. Managing and Directing Successful Projects with PRINCE2. The Stationary Office.
TSO. 2009. The Executive Guide to Directing Projects: within a PRINCE2™ and MSP® Environment, TSO 2009
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