Every project is different. You can’t manage each project exactly the same way. This is why one of the great aspects about PRINCE2 is that it is a generic methodology. What I mean by this is that it can be applied to any type of project regardless of size, complexity, sector etc. This is why one of the Principles of PRINCE2 is tailoring
I don’t know how often I’ve heard people saying about PRINCE2 that it is “over prescriptive” or it is “only for large projects”. The answer to this is that PRINCE2 is a framework that is meant to be adapted. PRINCE2 wants you to adapt the framework. Not just follow it word for word. Put simply – use PRINCE2 with a bit of common sense! That’s what I am always telling students on my courses.
So what is tailoring PRINCE2 all about? Here's 5 ways to do it:
1 - Apply the 7 PRINCE2 Principles.
These are the guiding obligations that make a project a PRINCE2 project. We don't tailor the Principles we support them. By tailoring the 7 PRINCE2 themes and 7 PRINCE2 processes we are supporting one of the Principles – Tailor to Suit the Project Environment.
2 - Adapt the Processes
The 7 PRINCE2 Processes tell us when in a project life cycle we should be carrying out certain activities. The processes can be scaled up or down depending on the size of the project. In smaller projects the first two processes – Starting up a Project and Initiating a Project can be done together. On larger projects Controlling a Stage and Managing Product Delivery can be used to help deliver the Initiation Stage.
3 - Adapt the Themes
The 7 PRINCE2 Themes are project management topics that we need to address continually throughout the project. The Themes tell you about PRINCE2 approach to topics such as Change or Risk. How you apply these Themes will vary greatly depending on the project environment. PRINCE2 expects you to adapt the Themes. Not follow word for word what's in the PRINCE2 manual.
4 - Adapt the Management Products
One of the key reasons that people say about PRINCE2 that it is over prescriptive is that they see all the Management Products and think they will spend all their time writing reports. Well again apply a bit of common sense! The Management Products are there to be tailored. Do you need to use them all? What level of detail is needed? Ask these questions to help you tailor the Management Products.
5 - Use your organization's own terminology
PRINCE2 has a language but you don’t have to follow the exact terminology that is in the manual. Say the key decision maker in your project is called a Sponsor rather than the Executive - that’s fine. What makes a project a PRINCE2 project is that people understand their role and responsibilities. Not what you call the role.
So tailoring PRINCE2 is vital. As I mentioned the great thing about PRINCE2 is that if you apply a bit of common sense you have a great methodology.