Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon
Adobe PDF icon

PRINCE2 2009: What's Changed?

~ By Simon Buehring

PRINCE2 logo

PRINCE2, the UK's most widely used project management framework is being refreshed. The name remains the same, i.e. it will not be called PRINCE3, but there will be some fundamental enhancements. The refresh is being led by the UK's Office of Government Commerce (OGC) and also involves OGC's two main partners for its Best Practice portfolio: TSO, the official publisher, and the APM Group, the official accrediting organisation.

PRINCE2 has gone through two major updates since its launch in 1996, in 2002 and 2005. These updates were mainly corrections to the manual with a few incremental improvements, whilst the method remained largely unchanged.

However, the pace of change today and the level of communication mean that projects now face challenges that didn't exist when PRINCE2 was introduced in 1996.

The OGC will officially launch the updated PRINCE2 method on 16th June. They will also launch two publications which explain the method in detail.

So, what has changed in the updated version? The new method is simpler. This was a key requirement from users when the authoring team tried to identify what PRINCE2 users required from the new version.

The new method will introduce seven basic principles which do not exist in the current version. These seven principles are universal and self-validating, in that they have been shown in the past to be true, i.e. empirical evidence suggests these do contribute to successful projects. In other words, principles can be thought of as a guide to good project management best practices, such as business justification and management of risk. The principles are universal in that they can be applied in any language, culture or geography and are designed to empower those people who direct and manage projects to exercise control over what happens on the project.

The process model which currently describes the activities to be performed throughout the project has been simplified. The existing eight processes have been reduced to seven. Sub-processes have been removed from the process model and have been replaced by activities describing what needs to be done, when and by whom. The complex sub-process diagrams which students of the current method found particularly confusing have been removed.

The eight existing components have been replaced by seven "key themes." Key themes are aspects of project management that need to be continually addressed. They are not one-off activities. The key themes are: Business Case, Organisation, Plans, Risk, Progress, Quality, and Issues & Changes. Practitioners familiar with the current method will notice that Configuration Management is the one component that is missing from the new set of themes. This is because it has been incorporated into "Issues & Changes."

There will be a set of two core texts to accompany the method. The "PRINCE2 in Practice: Managing a Project" text will be the sole source of information for the PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner syllabuses. This will describe the principles, process model, key themes and management products and will give guidance on how to tailor the method depending on the project context. The text also contains some cross-references to techniques that may be applied within the PRINCE2 framework.

The "PRINCE2 in Practice: Directing a Project" text is aimed at senior managers and project board members and will provide a role specific guidance on how to oversee projects being managed using PRINCE2.

The terminology in the updated version will also be aligned with other OGC products such as Managing Successful Programmes (MSP), Management of Risk (M_o_R), and the OGC Gateway Review process.

In summary, the updated PRINCE2 will provide a simpler, slimmer method, more easily customisable to different project contexts. By separating the texts into those aimed at project and team manages, and those aimed at senior managers, it simplifies and clarifies the specific roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders. The language in the new manuals is easier to understand, and many of the irritating contradictions in the current manual have been eliminated. All in all, the new method should provide those managing and directing projects with a better set of tools with which to deliver projects on time, within budget and within the quality constraints required.


Simon Buehring is a project manager, consultant and trainer. He works for KnowledgeTrain which offers PRINCE2 training in the UK and overseas.


Comments

Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
Is it true or false that seven is a number?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

Avoiding Project Management Pitfalls

Foot about to tread on a banana skin

Common pitfalls that projects experience and some tips to help make a project more successful and avoid the potential for chaos.

Managing The Project Time

Man pointing at an alarm clock

Project managers should know the iron triangle of project management, sometimes called the triple constraints of project management, because all projects are constrained by these elements.

Stealth Team Building

Four jigsaw puzzle pieces on the topic of team building

The effective project manager takes advantage of every opportunity the team gets together to develop team synergy.

A Brief History of SMART Goals

Set your goals written on blue paper

In this history of SMART goals, I look at where the acronym came from, who developed it, what the critics say and why it has become popular.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Lijoy commented on…
A Brief History of Project Management | Project Smart
- Fri 20 January 7:16pm

Kelly D commented on…
Managing Small Projects
- Thu 19 January 4:45pm

Sean H commented on…
Better Coaching Using the GROW Model
- Thu 19 January 3:43pm

Latest tweets

Managing Small Projects https://t.co/kLmCdOgGMJ An excellent summary of basic project management. #projectsmart #pmot #pm about 1 day ago

General Project Management • Newbie needing some advice https://t.co/R3kO7SHsUv #projectsmart #pmot about 2 days ago

General Project Management • Re: Junior PM needs advice - potentially being moved to a project… https://t.co/vJMX8Atrw1 #projectsmart #pmot about 7 days ago