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PRINCE2 and the Project Management Board

~ By Heidi Blackburn

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Good project management is a fundamental element of the successful implementation of any project, and the PRINCE2 project management method provides an excellent framework for delivering a project. PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is process-based, providing tailoring and scalable changes towards effective management of projects, and the project plans are focused on delivering results.

A core part of the PRINCE2 project management method is the Project Management Board (PMB). The PMB was designed to provide the management of the physical and technical aspects of the project, as well as to manage the time schedule of the whole project. It is headed by the Project Manager, who is assisted by a deputy or an executive manager, and a number of programme officers, and employees. The important decision making level of the project is by the PMB and they are the highest-level authority within the project. Responsibility for providing direction to the project and the project's success lies with the Project Management Board. They are charged with driving the monitoring system review project forward, while working on the principles of project management. And the PMB is also in charge of all policies, top-level management matters, and for resolving disputes between participants.

The Executive Director on the PMB is responsible for, among other things; acting as the intermediary between the consortium and the committee; overseeing the execution of the project as approved by the PMB; and receives and distributes all payments.

The Project Management Office and the Project Secretary support the PMB in their day-to-day activities. They receive reports through its chair on the progress within each working group and tier centre, and they meet two-three times a year, which is led by the Project Manager.

The PRINCE2 project management method focuses on organisation, management and control, and teaches users: how to form a PMB; how to upscale or downscale the Board according to the project; how the Board interacts with the Project Manager and Programme Management; and clarifies the Board's responsibilities.

An example of the Board's responsibilities could be:

  • Within one month after signing off a project, the project management agency will decide to set up the PMB, which will control the project's operation.
  • On the 15th of the last month of each quarter and the 30th of November every year, the PMB will send quarterly and annual reports to whom it concerns.
  • Within 3 months after establishment, the PMB will complete the preparation of the project operation plan, plan on the use of consultants and a proposal on consultant selection; submit them to whom it concerns.
  • Two months before the completion of a project, the PMB and project management agency will organise the appraisal of the project's results, make reports, and send them to whom it concerns.
  • On completion of the project, the PMB will have to make the final account settlement, and hand over the project results to whom it concerns.

The Project Management Board is an essential part of project management. The overall structure, direction of the project, technical and administration co-ordination, policies and top-level management matters are all controlled by the PMB. An effective PMB can make the difference between a successful project and a disaster. To ensure all members of the Board are prepared for the tasks and responsibilities, they need training. Training in PRINCE2 Project Management explains, among other issues: the issues of Project Management, the eight PRINCE2 processes, the three basic PRINCE2 techniques, how to form the PMB, and the Board's responsibilities.

Heidi Blackburn wrote the article 'PRINCE2 and the Project Management Board' and recommends you visit the International Institute for Learning for more information on PRINCE2 training courses.


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