1. This paper provides an overview of the
PRINCE2™ Project Management methodology. PRINCE® (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a
structured method for effective management of any size or type of project. It is the
standard method for use in UK Government Departments and is used increasingly in the
private sector, NHS and Local Government. An increasing number of overseas Governments and
multi-national companies have adopted the method, or integrated it within their existing
project management approaches.
2. The benefits of using PRINCE2 are that it:
* identifies management, specialist and
quality Products/Deliverables and helps ensure that they are produced on time and to
budget; focuses attention on the quality of Products/Deliverables;
* separates the management and specialist
aspects of Organisation, Planning and Control;
* facilitates controls at all levels;
* makes the projects progress more visible
* provides a communication medium for all
* ensures that work progresses in the correct
* involves senior management in the project at
the right time and in the right place;
* allows the project to be stopped and, if
required, re-started completely under management control, at any time in the
* has a well established User Group dedicated to
the support, promotion and strengthening of the method.
3. In PRINCE2, each project which is undertaken
must address all the Processes concerned with establishing an effective project management
environment; have a stated business case indicating the benefits and risks of the venture;
a properly defined and unique set of Products/Deliverables; a corresponding set of
activities to construct the Products; appropriate resources to undertake the activities; a
finite life span; suitable arrangements for control; an organisational structure with
defined responsibilities; and a set of processes with associated techniques which will
help plan and control the project and bring it to a successful conclusion.
4. A PRINCE2 project is divided into a number of
stages, each forming a distinct unit for management purposes. Like the project, a stage is
driven by a series of sub-processes, has a defined set of products and activities, a
finite life span, control elements, and an organisational structure. The delivery of these
products, to the agreed quality standards, marks the completion of the stage.
5. PRINCE2 defines the organisation of the
project and its stages, the processes which drive the undertaking, the structure and
content of the project plans, some basic project management techniques and a set of
controls which ensure that the project is proceeding to plan. These, together with the
products of the project and the activities which produce them, the project business case,
all encompassed within a quality management framework, make up the PRINCE2 environment.
6. All products of a PRINCE2 project are filed
within a defined filing structure the "Configuration". Management and Specialist
products are identified and filed separately.
7. The PRINCE2 framework provides the flexibility
to set management stage boundaries which are appropriate to the needs of the project.
Management Stage boundaries are chosen according to:
* the sequence of production of
* the grouping of Products into self contained
sets or associated Processes;
* natural decision points for review;
* The risks and business sensitivity of the
* the completion of one or more discrete
8. The project stages correspond to the steps in
the natural project life cycle towards the eventual outcome. Thus the stage boundaries are
normally defined to correspond to the completion of the major Products to be built.
9. Whatever the nature of the project, it is
advisable to define one or more planning and/or definition stages in the early part of the
project's life. PRINCE2 requires two processes to cater for this - Starting a Project
(where the early foundations are laid) and Initiating a Project (where management commit
to the undertaking and a baseline is produced. This may take the form of a Feasibility,
Investigation or Definition Study, providing a choice of options and a firm recommendation
to proceed (or not!), allowing a management review before any commitment to implementation
stage(s) and the associated resources and costs
10. PRINCE2 recognises that few projects can be
completed entirely in isolation. The outputs from one project may be used as input by
another project. There may be other dependencies between projects, such as the use of
shared resources. PRINCE2, therefore, provides a mechanism for defining the boundary of a
project and its relationship to other projects. In defining the boundary of a project, as
with a stage, the emphasis is always on the Products which the project is required to
11. The PRINCE2 methodology applies three key
elements to each project and to the stages within a project. These are:
* Starting Up A Project (SU);
* Initiating A Project (IP);
* Directing A Project (DP);
* Managing Stage Boundaries (SB);
* Controlling A Stage (CS);
*Managing Product Delivery (MP);
* Closing A Project (CP);
+ Planning (PL) - also a Component and Technique
* Business Case;
* Planning (also a Process);
* Management of Risk;
* Quality In A Project Environment;
* Configuration Management;
* Change Control;
12. The Processes state the minimum content that
can be expected to be found in a PRINCE2 project. Exactly how the Processes are addressed
within any given project is the responsibility of the organisations senior
management and the Project Manager, but the method requires that each Process is reflected
within the project one way or another.
13. The seven fundamental Processes have been
listed earlier; Planning is also a Process, which is iterated and has impact across the
whole of the project throughout its life. All the Processes link to Techniques, some of
which are described within the method. It is anticipated that most organisations will
already be using some specific techniques and PRINCE2 encourages the continued use of these
where they provide value to the management decision making process. Each Process is
defined in the following terms:
* The Fundamental Principles underpinning the
* The Context within which the Process operates;
* An Overview of the Process;
* Responsibilities identifying accountability
for the Process;
* The Information Needs required for the Process
to function effectively;
* The Key Criteria which will influence the
success or failure of the Process;
* Hints and Tips for carrying out the Process in
the best way.
14. The Process-based approach is a novel
feature in PRINCE2 and is the area which most differentiates it from version 1 of the
method. The flexibility of the method is, however, underlined by allowing implementing
organisations to choose their own destiny in terms of identifying how to meet the
requirements of any given Process. In most organisations there will be little need to make
changes to the way they are operating, provided effective project management through the
use of PRINCE® v1 compliant procedures are already in place.
The Organisation Component
15. The organisation and effective use of people
assigned to manage a project need to be considered from the view point both of their
specialist skills and their individual personalities. Responsibilities need to be defined
within a team structure to ensure that management is both efficient and responsive.
16. Within PRINCE2, responsibilities are defined
in terms of roles, rather than individuals. Assignment of roles to individuals is a
decision for each project to take, and the same individual may be assigned to more than
one role, or to different roles at different stages of the project.
The Project Board
17. The Project Board is the ultimate authority
for the project and is normally appointed by senior management (often at Director-level)
to take overall responsibility and control of a PRINCE2 project. The Project Board consists
of three senior management roles, each representing major project interests.
* Executive - appointed by
corporate/programme management to provide overall project guidance and assessment
throughout. The Executive represents the interests of the business in the project.
* Senior User/Customer - representing users or
customers of the outcome or the major products from the project.
* Senior Supplier - representing areas which
have responsibility for providing the specialist know-how and/or committing
Supplier resources for the solution.
18. A Project Manager will normally be appointed
to assume day to day responsibility for planning and management of the project throughout
all its stages. The Project Manager takes direction from the Project Board and is
responsible for managing the Processes, planning and delivering the products of the
project, on-time, within budget, meeting the technical and quality criteria agreed with
the Project Board.
The Team Manager
19. In a large or complex project, one or more
Team Managers may be assigned the responsibility for ensuring that the products of one or
more particular specialist stages of work are produced on schedule, to the defined and
agreed quality standards, and within budget.
20. Depending on the resources required and/or
skills available, the Project Board may choose to appoint:
* one Project Manager, supported by a Team
Manager for each major area of specialist activity;
* one Project Manager who also takes on the role
of Team Manager throughout the project;
21. The Project and/or Team Manager have
responsibility for Teams of specialist staff, tasked to carry out the activities and
produce the Products of the stage. The team organisation, responsibility definitions and
the allocation of these responsibilities to individuals will depend upon the size and
nature of the project and the skill mix available. PRINCE2 recognises the need to establish
Team Manager roles where appropriate; Team Manager and Team Leader roles may be
22. PRINCE2 separates the Project Assurance
function from the Project Support function. The Project Board have responsibility and
accountability for Project Assurance. Depending on the size, scope, risk and profile of
the project, and their own knowledge, skills and time available, they may choose to
delegate responsibility for Project Assurance to others within the organisation. However,
accountability for Project Assurance rests with the Project Board and they are not able to
delegate this. Project Assurance may not be delegated to the Project Manager.
23. Project Assurance appears in two forms:
* External Assurance to confirm that the
project is following overall and corporate standards (eg the published Quality Management
System, or particular accounting conventions) and the organisation will usually have an
audit function already in place to check these aspects.
* Internal Assurance to verify that the project
is delivering Products/Deliverables that meet the agreed Quality Criteria and that
internal project standards are being followed. Internal Assurance is ultimately the
responsibility of the Project Board.
24. Within PRINCE2, Project Support will only
exist where there is a perceived need for it. Unlike version 1 of the method, a Project
Manager may well find that the Project Board see no scope for any administrative support
and that any day-to-day assistance that might be needed will need to be on a grace
and favour basis.
25. Where a project does warrant the appointment
of a Project Support function, the individual(s) selected will report directly to the
Project Manager. There is no scope for combining the Project Support and Project Assurance
function as was the case in version 1.
Project Support Office
26. A Project Support Office might well evolve
in a multi project environment, to support a number of projects. The methodology
recognises the possibility of a transition from a number of Project Support Teams to a
central Project Support Office where the number of projects under development warrants it.
The resultant Project Support Office will be able to provide a centre of expertise for all
project management aspects within the organisation/site, delivering an internal
consultancy service where required by Project Board members, Project Managers and project
27. Estimating, planning and re-planning are
constant and key activities when managing any project. PRINCE2 provides a structure for
preparing and maintaining plans at appropriate levels throughout the life of a project.
Plans are prepared for the Project as a whole, for each stage within the project and,
optionally, for the teams work within each stage. There is also an Exception
planning process to handle divergences from the original plan. The PRINCE2 method includes
Techniques for Product/Deliverable planning, Activity planning Resource planning and
Products/Deliverables and Activities
28. PRINCE2 provides a set of planning techniques
which give structure to the project. The key to PRINCE2 planning is the identification and
definition of the Products required. From this comes an analysis of the work (ie the
activities) required to generate these products, and the sequencing of the work.
29. PRINCE2 makes a distinction between
management activities, specialist activities and quality activities. This is partly
because these are usually the concern of different groups of people, but also to ensure
that management activities are not overlooked in planning and estimating.
30. Management activities are concerned with
planning, monitoring and reporting the work of the project, in both normal and exceptional
situations. They produce management products in the form of plans, reports and other
control documents. Management activities include the planning and control of all
specialist activities on the project. Although influenced by the specialist content, there
is a similar pattern of management tasks on any PRINCE2 project.
31. Conversely, the specialist activities
undertaken by a project are determined entirely by the scope and objectives of the
project. The specialist activities describe the work needed to produce the products
required from the project.
32. The Specialist Products/Deliverables
required by the user/customer are identified and defined at the start of the project by
the Project Manager and endorsed by the Project Board. Additional Specialist Products may
be defined by the strategy appropriate to a particular stage of the project; specialist
activities may also be prescribed by an organisations own particular technical
strategy. PRINCE2 therefore acknowledges the need for flexibility in the definition of
specialist activities and the corresponding Products.
33. Quality activities may be performed by
anyone who is able to make a contribution to the Product under review. Individuals within
the project and host organisation as well as people external to the organisation are all
appropriate. Quality activities must be planned for early in the life of the project.
34. The PRINCE2 Product planning techniques
require every project to be described and defined in terms of its Products or
Deliverables. This is a very effective way to ensure full understanding of what is
required and to ensure that, as far as possible, all angles are covered.
Planning for the Delivery of Specialist
35. PRINCE2 Plans are concerned with the Products
to be delivered and with the activities necessary to ensure that these Products emerge on
time and to the required quality standards.
36. The project Products are identified as a
first step in planning; definition of each product (via the PRINCE2 Product Description)
enables its make-up and quality requirements to be documented and properly understood. A
Product Breakdown Structure illustrates the hierarchical make-up of the complete set of
project products and a Product Flow Diagram provides a view of the relationship each
product has with others, within and outside of the project.
37. The Project Timescale or Gantt Plan charts
the major activities of the project. It is usually derived from the Dependency Network
(PERT Network) which shows the relationships that exist between project activities. It is
used with the Project Resource Plan to monitor progress on the project as a whole. It also
addresses planning requirements related to Quality Control and Configuration Management.
38. A Stage-level Gantt Plan shows the products,
activities and quality controls for each stage of the project. The Stage-level Gantt Plan
is produced and approved at the end of the previous stage (the plan for the first stage is
prepared with the project plan).
39. Detailed Gantt Plans can be expected to
exist in most projects, to give a detailed breakdown of particular major activities These
are termed Team Plans.
40. Lower level Plans (or Work to Lists), if
required, are derived from the Stage and Team Plans to allocate detailed activities (and
Products/Deliverables) to particular members of a Specialist Stage Team. Although this
level of plan is not formally included in PRINCE2 they may be utilised if required.
41. Resource Plans are concerned with managing
the funding and effort resources of the project. They are derived from the corresponding
42. The Resource Plan for the project identifies
the type, amount and cost of the resources required by the project related to each stage
of the work. It will also identify equipment, building, and fixed-price costs associated
with the project. The intention is to provide a complete resource and financial picture of
43. A more detailed Resource Plan at Stage Level
identifies the resources required by the particular stage. It defines the budget required
by the stage and is used to report actual expenditure and resource usage against plan.
44. More detailed Resource Plans at the Team
Level will be produced when required, to plan and control a particular major activity, and
the associated team workplans and Products.
Quality Planning - BS/EN/ISO9000
45. Action must be taken at the planning stage
to ensure that the project can deliver Products to the required quality. Quality Criteria
must be defined and agreed, and incorporated into a Product Description for each Product
identified; a Project Quality Plan must be defined, published and adopted; Quality Review
procedures must be established and staff trained; review activities must be properly
resourced. Whatever action is proposed to build quality into the project, the measures
must be consistent with any published Quality Management System (QMS) that is already in
effect. PRINCE2 has been designed to comply with the BS/EN/ISO9000 Quality Management
Standard and with BS6079 the Project management Standard, all three being Process-driven;
the foundation for quality and effective, modern project management is therefore integral
and inherent in PRINCE2.
46. The results of the quality planning activity
must be integrated into the Gantt and Resource Plans at each level. Just as quality must
be built into the Products, so must quality control be built into the plans.
47. The Project Level plan sets the overall
quality approach for the entire project. It defines the standards to be followed and the
quality criteria for the major products. It also identifies external constraints that may
apply to the project, such as a specific Configuration Management Method.
48. The Stage Level plan identifies the quality
criteria, methods and review guidelines for each Product produced during the stage.
49. A Team plan might be required for specific
individual activities such as carrying out interviews within a particular user/customer
area. The Project Manager is responsible for deciding whether any plans below stage-level
are required; this decision will be endorsed by the Project Board at the Project
Initiation or End-Stage Assessment meeting.
Tolerance and Planning
50. The Project Board sets tolerances for Stage
Plans. These define the limits of timescale and cost (or sometimes effort) within which
the Project Manager can operate without further reference to the Project Board.
51. An Exception Report and, subsequently, if
required by the Project Board, an Exception Plan is produced in situations where costs or
timescales are forecast to be exceeded beyond the tolerances set by the Project Board. The
Exception Report describes the cause of the deviation from plan and its consequences and
recommends corrective action to the Project Board. Once considered and approved by the
Project Board, the Exception Plan replaces the remainder of the current Stage Plan.
The Controls Component
52. Regular and formal monitoring of actual
progress against plan is essential to ensure the timeliness, cost control and quality of
the system or undertaking being developed. PRINCE2 provides a support structure of
Management and Product oriented controls to monitor progress, supported by a reporting
procedure which enables re-planning or other appropriate corrective action to be taken.
53. PRINCE2 provides a structure of management
controls to be applied throughout the project. These controls cover all aspects of project
activity and, at the highest level, allow senior management to assess project achievement
and status prior to committing further expenditure. Controls are applied through meetings
of (customer) project management and (supplier) project staff, with each meeting producing
a set of pre defined outputs. Management Controls are defined at Project Initiation to
ensure that the project is set up with clear Terms of Reference, incorporating agreed and
measurable Objectives and an adequate management structure. Including Project Initiation,
there are 5 key management controls - End Stage & Exception Assessments, Project
Closure, and Tolerance.
54. To ensure a firm foundation and to provide a
positive start to the project, ensuring that the terms of reference, objectives, plans and
controls, business risks, benefits and financial return, organisation structure and job
definitions are clearly defined, published, understood and agreed.
This early stage is very important and is the
result of two Processes - Starting A Project and Initiating A Project. The key output is a
Project Initiation Document which can be used to Baseline the project.
End Stage Assessment (ESA)
55. This is a required management control and
occurs at the end of each stage. It consists of a formal presentation to the Project Board
of the current project status, and reviews the overall business case (benefits and risks).
The approval of the proposed Resource and Timescale (Gantt) Plans for the next stage is
also obtained. Project Board approval, with agreement by all the members, must be obtained
before the project can proceed to the next stage.
Tolerance & Exception Assessment (EXA)
56. This will be held to review an Exception
Plan which will be produced if the project has deviated from the original, approved, plans
and a significant departure from plan has occurred. The measure of a significant
departure is that the Tolerance stated by the Project Board at the beginning of the
management stage has been, or is likely to be, exceeded.
57. Tolerance is variable and will be assigned
to each project stage to reflect the respective business risk, but a rule of thumb is that
Time Tolerance of plus/minus 1 week and Cost Tolerance of plus/minus 10% is generally
58. A final review of the project's work is
held, usually (but not necessarily) in the form of a Project Board meeting. This is
similar to a stage assessment but relates to the entire project rather than a single
stage. The objective is to ensure that all the project Products/Deliverables have been
satisfactorily delivered to their stated quality standard and that the project
documentation is complete. A review of the project management standards and approaches
used by the project will be carried out and a Lessons Learned Report produced for
consideration by the Project Board. This report records what has been learned from using
the PRINCE2 project management and quality management standards for the project and is
created during the Initiating A Project process and populated as
the project progresses; it will eventually be sent to the organisations Quality
59. Recommendations will also be made for
Follow-on Actions to record and trigger further work which is recommended following the
closure of the project.
60. Quality and specialist controls are applied
to specific products rather than to the overall output of a stage or project. The aim is
to identify and correct errors as early as possible in the development process. They will
usually take the form of a formal or informal quality review, whatever is specified in the
61. Quality control may take many forms from a
visual inspection, through a test programme, to a formal meeting. These are all Techniques
and PRINCE2 describes some, but not all that might be available - the selection of
appropriate Techniques is left to the implementing organisation. However, one of the most
powerful Technique is the Quality review which has been successfully used in PRINCE®
version 1 projects for a number of years.
Quality Controls - Quality Review
62. At each Quality Review, appropriate provider
and user/customer staff are designated to examine a Product to ensure that it is complete
and correct; these appropriate resources are identified in the Stage-level
Plan and the corresponding Product Description. The Product is reviewed against defined
quality criteria contained within the Product Description, which assures its technical
integrity and its compliance with user/customer requirements; It is thereafter subject to
formal change control procedures.
63. This principle applies to informal quality
reviews (for example a test, visual inspection, or desk-check) and to formal quality
reviews where 2-3 reviewers meet with the author of the product under the chair of a
suitably senior person to walk-through the product.
64. This is a regular (possibly weekly)
specialist and management control point. Checkpoints are usually (but not necessarily)
conducted by the Project Manager or Team Manager, together with (Specialist) Teams. They
provide the basic information used to measure actual achievement against plan, and to
agree on the content of the next period of work for each team member. Checkpoints will
commonly take the form of a brief (40 minutes maximum) meeting but as the Checkpoint is
essentially a communication device, other methods such as telephone, facsimile, E-Mail,
video conferencing, are all viable options.
65. Unplanned situations relating to changes to
one or more Products need to be captured as Issues relating to the project.
Examples of this are good ideas that project team members identify, resource changes,
errors discovered in a finished product, and departures from the agreed specification.
Because the situation is unplanned, it needs to be recorded and action agreed, in order to
contain the impact and prevent wider divergence from plans. Issues are best handled within
the framework of a formal Configuration Management scheme.
66. A Configuration Management Method (CMM)
controls the development of products by providing a formal mechanism for labelling
products, their development status, and the relationship between them.
PRINCE2 does not
define or recommend a specific CMM but emphasises the need for a suitable system.
67. To make the most effective use of
each organisation should consider appointing a PRINCE2 Coordinator with sufficient
authority and experience to perform the role specified below.
PRINCE2 Coordinator Prime Responsibility
68. The PRINCE2 Co-ordinators main function
is to be an internal consultant for PRINCE2 projects, to ensure the smooth introduction and
the continuing effective use of the PRINCE2 methodology.
* to develop expertise in
PRINCE2 so that the
site can become self sufficient in terms of support;
* to administer and monitor the implementation
of PRINCE2 to ensure that it meets the need;
* to ensure that the methodology continues to be
used in accordance with agreed standards;
* to ensure that managers of future projects are
aware of the methodology and that proper consideration is given to its use;
* to identify training needs and to plan and
organise training, including the presentation of team courses and management overviews;
* to act as a liaison point for all
aspects and with the PRINCE2 User Group;
* to provide a focal point for
PRINCE2 advice and
69. For more general information refer to the
PRINCE2 documentation. Specific questions may be answered by referring to each particular
section, especially in Hints and Tips.
Software Support for PRINCE2
70. A number of support tools are available,
including LaunchPad Template Manager. These packages provide an excellent introduction to
PRINCE2 and can
also be used to launch specific software applications such as Microsoft Office
Applications and PRINCE2 templates. More information is available at
71. For the very smallest of projects, a fully
scaled down method (Mini-Method) is available. The method provides a framework suitable
for work which otherwise might be considered to be too small to plan or control. A
Mini-Method project will contain a Management Summary and Product Description and, if
necessary, a Risk Assessment. Planning a Mini-Method project usually takes less than
72. The Mini-Method is available only from SPOCE
Project Management Limited - at no charge! Contact us for details.