Why PRINCE2?  It’s a question that quite often gets asked.  Well quite simply it’s a great methodology. Don’t believe me!  Well let’s look at some of the reasons why.

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Why PRINCE2 – The Principles

One of the answers to why PRINCE2 is that PRINCE2 is based on 7 key principles.  These principles are what make your project a PRINCE2 project.  To me the principles are just common sense.  They are the good practice if you want to manage your projects better.  So what are these principles?

  1. Continued Business Justification – very simply each project should have a justified reason for starting and continuing.  If the project doesn’t have a valid Business Case – ask yourself why are you doing it?
  2. Learn From Experience – Learn from what has been done before, learn from the people on your team and keep learning as you go on.
  3. Defined Roles and Responsibilities – Make sure every person on the project team understands their role and the responsibilities that go along with that role.
  4. Focus on Products – Understand what the customer wants and then have a focus on the products (outputs) being delivered so your project delivers what the customer wanted.
  5. Manage by Stages – Break the project up into manageable chunks of work.  Carry out detailed planning close to the time the work is going to be carried out.
  6. Manage by Exception – Make sure the right people on the team make a decision.
  7. Tailor to Suit the Project Environment – Every project is different. So how you apply PRINCE2 will differ between projects, organizations etc.  Put simply tailoring is about using PRINCE2 with a bit of common sense!

To help you apply the principles to your project PRINCE2 also provides you with 7 Processes.

Why PRINCE2 – The Processes

Another answer to why PRINCE2 is that PRINCE2 is processed based.  This is another reason why PRINCE2 is a great method.  It actually tells you what activities to carry out during the project lifecycle. So what are they 7 Processes?

  1. Starting up a Project – The pre-project preparation.
  2. Directing a Project – Covers the activities of the key decision makers in the project – The Project Board.
  3. Initiating a Project – Planning the detail for the project.
  4. Controlling a Stage – The day to day running of the project by the Project Manager.
  5. Managing Product Delivery – Covers the activities of the role responsible for delivering the products – the Team Manager.
  6. Managing a Stage Boundary – PRINCE2 says beak you project up into manageable stages.  Well how do you get through the gate into the next stage?  Managing a Stage Boundary helps you do this.
  7. Closing a Project – Every project should have a controlled start, middle and END. Projects shouldn’t just drift on or fade away. Closing a Project tells you how to close the project down in a controlled manner.

Of course the processes tell you what activities to carry out, not how to carry them out. So another reason why PRINCE2 is great for project managers is it also provides you with guidance on how to deal with key project management topics that you will need to address during the lifecycle of a project.  This is where the 7 PRINCE2 Themes come in.

Why PRINCE2 – The Themes

And the final answer we are going to look at to why PRINCE2 is that PRINCE2 provides you with 7 themes which give you guidance on how to deal with 7 key project management topics and give you PRINCE2’s approach to each.  So what are these topics?

  1. Business Case – Every project should have a Business Case.  PRINCE2 gives you an approach so you can develop, verify, maintain and confirm your projects Business Case.
  2. Organization – It’s key that you have an effective team structure for your project.  The Organization Theme discusses the roles that may be required and the PRINCE2 manual also provides you with generic role descriptions for each.
  3. Quality – It is vital to deliver a product to the desired quality.  PRINCE2 provides guidance on how to apply quality in the project environment.
  4. Plans – Planning is vital to a project being a success.  PRINCE2 gives you guidance on how to plan and when to plan in a project.
  5. Risk – Uncertainty is inevitable in a project.  PRINCE2 provides a 5 step risk management procedure to allow you to manage risk more effectively.
  6. Change – Projects change.  Change in a project can be good as long as it is carried out in an informed manner.  You shouldn’t just make a change for the sake of it.  PRINCE2 provides you with a 5 step issue and change control so you can manage change more effectively.
  7. Progress – Its key that you know you are on track to achieve your projects objectives.  If you are not sure if you are still on track you can loose control of the project.  So you need to be able to check the progress of the project.  Again PRINCE2 provides you with guidance on how to do this.

So you can see from the above that PRINCE2 provides you with best practice, tells you what activities to carry out and provides you with guidance on key project management topics. So the question was why PRINCE2? Quite simply it will allow you to manage your projects more effectively. It certainly has worked for me.