With all the talk about Agile project management, you’d be forgiven for thinking that PRINCE 2 project management has had its day, and it can be hard to see which method is best. But here’s why we still think it has a strong place in the project mix.
We recently walked into a project ‘war room’ at a major IT outsourcing company. The post-it notes on the wall immediately told us that the project was being managed the Agile way. There were labels of ‘sprints’ and ‘scrums’ and it felt like progress was happening in that room. But it got us thinking; with Agile being so prevalent now, does that mean that PRINCE 2 has had its day? We don’t think so, and here’s why...
A method based on principles
The PRINCE 2 method focuses on the chronological stages (or flow) of a project - hence its association with a waterfall. And that’s actually a positive thing when you’re dealing with Executive teams that prefer order.
The project team will be able to provide senior management with clarity and control at major milestones.
However, that doesn't mean that PRINCE 2 can't be flexible. In fact, you can apply it to any size of organisation, scale of project or project type. It’s based on clear principles that apply, no matter what your business does or where it’s located.
The 7 principles of PRINCE 2 are:
- Continued business justification (the business case!)
- Learn from experience
- Defined roles and responsibilities
- Manage by stages
- Manage by exception
- Focus on products
- Tailor to suit the project environment
A good project manager will keep all 7 of these principles in mind all the time. By doing that, and addressing the themes of the project, they will keep the project on track and deliver its objective(s).
Managing through stages doesn't mean the project is restricted or fixed. Each stage can be adapted to suit the needs of your business. Shorter stages give more control to your Executive team, while longer stages mean they can step back and concentrate on other things.
It's all about justification
You’ve probably heard about large, unwieldy projects that get out of control, but the PRINCE 2 method is clear; the business case/ justification is key to it all. The project manager should be asking the right questions throughout and adapting to suit. If, for instance, the project starts and then the business case for it starts to fade, the project should be stopped; no ifs and no buts. The project manager should be driving that conversation with the Executive team.
So, PRINCE 2 could be the best option for you, if you want a clear road map and control points along the way, while retaining flexibility.
We can help with your project
The success of any project is down to the project management team and the will of the business to drive it forward. We have lots of experience in managing both PRINCE2 and Agile projects, so if you have a project coming up and want to talk it over, just give us a call.