An Introduction to Prince 2
Prince 2 is a waterfall project management process using a set of document
templates and processes. Prince 2 help organisations create, check, risk assess and deliver their projects with change control.You can use as much of the formalised Prince 2 processes and project documents as you choose for your organisation or project.
Prince 2 is more commonly used in large, and may I say, more traditional organisations, such as the police force. Often it a required as a qualification to prove you understand project management and can run a project.
Cynically, it is a rather exclusive and expensive course – see the official Prince Site for details. The qualification will help you become more highly employable, but from my experience of actually doing project management – it is useful as a guide, and is more useful as a certificate on your CV than as a bible to run projects. You still needs good common sense and an ability to write and juggle tasks – Prince 2 will not teach you this.
Prince 2 is a branded formalised approach to something you may already be doing in your projects – writing briefs, having a process for checking them off with the team and clients, checking budgets, risks and change control. It isn’t rocket science but Prince 2 are doing their best to make it so – they have training to sell.
With this said, in the next few posts, I am going to elaborate on the documents used in the Prince 2 method– this might be enough for you to show a knowledge in a job interview and or get your head round doing the training.
I delivered projects for the Police Constabulary using Prince 2, but before this I designed a perfectly usable project management process at Rapp Collins London for developing large and fast website campaigns. However, when organisation have to manage a formal procurement process, they like to use formal documentation to rubber stamp projects that might be funded by the tax payer – in this instance Prince 2 provides a scapegoat to changes in brief, direction and cost, all properly documented. Private companies do not require such vigilance, and prefer to get things done quickly and organically with their clients, in which case Agile might work better.
In this role I delivered large intranets and small community projects, but in the whole lifecycle of Prince 2 I didn’t ever get through all the Prince 2 documents. I only used perhaps three or four of the documents as core goal posts, the rest had to be simplified for speed of delivery, or just not used.
In my opinion Prince 2 can slow the delivery of a project down if too many overpaid consultants with the Prince 2 badge come strolling into your project or organisation. You may find project documents taking weeks to write at a high daily consultancy rate to your organization perhaps £500 per day as a ball-park figure. So watch out, it can be a great way to structure and formalise the way you and your business work, but it can also be a cumbersome beast to finance, based on the level of documentation that has to be written and revised continuously.
If you have common sense, the best way to use Prince 2, is to know what it is, what documents it uses, what to write in them, and then just do your own version of Prince 2, one that fits better within the way your organisation and teams blend and operate. That’s my opinion, what’s yours?
Take a look at David Litten for free Prince 2 handy tips by emails:
( I have been receiving them for the last week and they do seem to provide quite sensible advice, although of course he is trying to sell his course – of course)
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