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A Procedural Worksheet on PRINCE2 Project Management

~ By Shaun Watling

PRINCE2 logo

PRINCE2, the abbreviation for PRojects IN Controlled Environments, is a process based method, derived from the initial PRINCE project management methodology. It is a recognised international standard, a registered trademark of OGC, deployed extensively by the UK government. PRINCE2 crucially assists with the optimal usage of resources and project risk management initiatives, thus securing for itself an eminent position in the overall relevance graph.

PRINCE2 is an enhanced version of the initial PRINCE methodology, which in turn was based on PROMPT, a project management method, introduced by the CCTA (Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency). PRINCE was developed in 1989, as a UK government standard for IT project management, and later published as PRINCE2 in 1996. While the initial model had a restricted adaptability, PRINCE2 is suitable for all types of management projects.

Methodological Overview

PRINCE2 as a method entails forty five sub processes, categorised into eight headings:

  1. Starting Up a Project (SU)
  2. Planning (PL)
  3. Initiating a Project (IP)
  4. Directing a Project (DP)
  5. Controlling a Stage (CS)
  6. Managing Product Delivery (MP)
  7. Managing Stage Boundaries (SB)
  8. Closing a Project (CP)

As evident from the stated classification, PRINCE2 as a process driven methodology, focuses on a project's organised start, continuation and completion. It renders the much desired standardised approach to the project, thus drafting a common platform for all concerned to proceed.

Moving to the stage description, the SU stage undertakes the vital tasks relevant to appointing the project team, preparing the outline and thus defining the aim of the exercise. This also logically results in preparing a business justification case. The second stage PL begins with product identification and analysis. Successful completion of this task prepares grounds for a closer estimation of the overall effort required for goal achievement. The stage ends with finally deciding upon the relevant plan formats.

IP is the third stage of PRINCE2 methodology, which is an augmented level of the earlier SU level. This stage aims at preparing a substantial business case. Another key focus at this stage is planning the quality aspect and thus setting up the requisite project controls. Once this is accomplished, the stage also prepares the project files and assembles the initiation documents. The fourth stage, the DP level, dedicates attention towards the pertinent controlling aspect. This stage defines the authorisation process and more importantly provides scope for an additional plan, in case of a misfit. All relevant board guidance terms are covered at this level of PRINCE2.

Next is the CS step which defines the procedures to control individual stages. Work progress is assessed at this level to capture and examine the key project issues. Other tasks at this level include, reviewing stage status, reporting, planning corrective actions, escalating the experienced issues and receiving the completed work. CS is followed by the MP stage which accomplishes the acceptance, execution and delivery aspects of the work package.

The last two stages of PRINCE2 are the SB and CP. The former precisely defines the tasks which should be contained within various stages and includes defining the end of a stage, next stage planning, maintenance of log files and amendment tools. The CP stage is responsible for the final decommissioning of a project. The evaluation exercise and follow up action steps are included at this level.

Successful application of PRINCE2 and thus the above elucidate stages, imparts a structured approach to an intricate project. Co-ordination becomes simpler and adjustment nuances are much better handled. With the PRINCE2 methodology appropriately executed, a project can be reasonably divided into various sub tasks and therefore successfully completed.


Shaun Watling wrote the article 'A Procedural Worksheet on PRINCE2 Project Management' and recommends you visit the International Institute for Learning for more information on PRINCE2 training courses.


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