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Implementing PRINCE2 Project Management Methodology

~ By Kevin Adler

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PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is an effective process-based method for project management. This article will briefly discuss PRINCE2 and how to ensure the methodology is implemented into the workplace.

PRINCE2 is a process-based approach for managing projects. It helps to work out who should be involved in a project, their role and their responsibilities. PRINCE2 has a set of processes to work through and it explains what information needs to be gathered. The method is the de-facto standard for project management in the UK and is practiced globally.

The majority of organisations that wish to use PRINCE2 as their chosen project management methodology start with accredited training. Training is a necessity as it is a complex system with many processes and angles; and the training will provide everyone with the knowledge they need to manage a project with an understanding of the terminology used.

PRINCE2 is very adaptable and can be applied to all sorts of projects, no matter how big or small the project is; even projects lasting a few days will benefit from selective application of PRINCE2 guidelines. In a training environment the principles sound logical, but putting theory into practice can be a different story. Sometimes users of PRINCE2 struggle with fully understanding how the method can enhance a project. This can lead to a fervent adherence to unnecessary levels of formality and detail - therefore giving the impression PRINCE2 is bureaucratic and filled with rules and regulations. Equally it could lead to inappropriate shortcuts being taken in projects, which can undermine the integrity of the method and the control and management of risk it provides.

How to Ensure PRINCE2 Is Implemented Into the Workplace

An organisation may need help with implementing PRINCE2 if, for example:

  • It is the first time PRINCE2 will be used within the organisation or team
  • PRINCE2 has already been implemented into the organisation but business benefits are not being fully realised.
  • The business wants to ensure they are PRINCE2 compliant (using the Project, Programme and Portfolio Management Maturity Model)
  • The business is interested in gaining a recognised accreditation for its project management processes

To implement PRINCE2 the process can be treated as a project, which has been completed by many organisations. An alternative option is a PRINCE2 business mentor/coach. The objective of mentoring/coaching is to ensure the embedment of PRINCE2 concepts that were learnt during training so that full transference of skills can be transferred into the workplace.

PRINCE2 mentors/coaches specialise in assisting organisations with the management of change that is required to implement PRINCE2 successfully. They can provide guidance and support during the implementation of PRINCE2 through a combination of coaching, mentoring and training and ensuring the appropriate skills are nurtured. They also provide one-to-one sessions with individuals to support them in their new or enhanced role, give briefings or workshops for small groups with specific roles or responsibilities, and/or remote support by telephone or email.

The role of mentor and coach do differ. Mentoring is "a process in which the mentor serves as a role model, trusted counsellor, or teacher who provides opportunities for development, growth, and support to less experienced individuals." Mentors often take a "hands-on approach" and have specific knowledge and expertise in one or more areas. A coach "is a person who supports people (clients) to achieve their goals, with goal setting, encouragement and questions…a coach rarely offers advice."

Conclusion

The key to success with PRINCE2 is to remember it is adaptable and can be tailored for all project types regardless of industry and marketplace. Implementing PRINCE2 is more than providing staff with training - it is about establishing project management best practice into the working culture, and achieving organisational benefits through improved project governance.


Kevin Adler wrote the article 'Implementing PRINCE2 Project Management Methodology' and recommends you visit the International Institute for Learning for more information on PRINCE2 training courses.


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