9 Feb 2012

PRINCE2 Software – when should I buy?

Posted by prince2guest

PRINCE2 Software – when should I buy?

Looking for PRINCE2 software before defining the business problem is like putting …..

PRINCE2 Software before process

Many businesses are looking for the “magic” piece of software that will help them solve their business problem.  In reality they don’t even understand their business problems

One client called me in to help organise their project workload. The project manager’s first questions were “Have you any Microsoft Project templates that would help organize all the projects we are currently running?  Should we roll out Microsoft Project Server or go straight into SharePoint?”

It’s too easy to search for software in the belief that it will solve all your problems.

Define the problem before the solution

What you must do first is to sit down with a piece of paper, a pencil/pen, cup of tea/coffee/hot chocolate and think!   OK, you might want your coffee and that iPad with that special pencil attachment that you won.

But honestly, before you buy the latest shiny thing, you should define your business need with questions such as:

  1. What am I trying to accomplish?
  2. What is the goal?
  3. What is acceptable?

Then you are well on the way to solving your problem.  Frame your business question first and then you can search for a technology to help.  You might surprise yourself and find that you already have the software (there are huge areas of Microsoft Office that could help) or that, in fact, you don’t need software at all!

Keep it Simple…

If your resultant system is not simple to use then you won’t use it – the initial enthusiasm will wane and then you expend energy in searching for your next “solution”.

Back to the Project story……

Working with the Project Manager we made a list (yes, a list) on the whiteboard of all the projects he currently had buzzing around his head (because it hadn’t been documented anywhere else).  Then, for each project I kept asking “Why are you doing this project? What’s the benefit to the business?”

If you ask “Why” at least three times you will uncover the real reason for the project.

For those projects that had no real definable benefits, they were closed – immediately.  For the rest, they were added to a spreadsheet with columns such as “Status” (Waiting for client, Active, Waiting for supplier), “Priority”, “Promised date” and a few others.  The overview of all the projects being undertaken became clear.  Priorities could be assigned.

The projects team started to get a reputation for delivering on time and to the quality specified by the client. Oh, and they stopped working 60 hour weeks and most weekends!

Process before software!  Every time.  When, and only when, that is sorted out can you think about which software is best for PRINCE2

About the Guest Author

Ray Frew MBA is a PRINCE2 Approved Trainer, MSP Advanced Practitioner and Database Developer

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