17 May 2015

Tailoring PRINCE2 – One Size Doesn’t Fit All!

Posted by sjg21

Tailoring PRINCE2 – One Size Doesn’t Fit All!

Some of the criticisms I quite often hear about PRINCE2 are that it is “over prescriptive” or it is “only for large projects”. My answer to this is that one of the Principles of the method tell us we need to be tailoring PRINCE2.Tailoring PRINCE2

PRINCE2 is a generic project management methodology. This means we are saying it can be applied to ANY type of project regardless of size or complexity. The PRINCE2 manual provides a framework for you to monitor and control your project but the key is in tailoring PRINCE2 to your project environment. Put simply – use it with a bit of common sense!

So what does tailoring PRINCE2 mean? Let’s have a look.

  1. First of all we need to apply the 7 PRINCE2 Principles. We can’t tailor these. These are the guiding obligations that make a project a PRINCE2 project. We need to support the Principles. Of course in tailoring the processes and themes in our project we are supporting one of the Principles – Tailor to Suit the Project Environment.
  2. Adapt the Themes – The 7 PRINCE2 Themes are aspects of project management that we need to continually address. The Themes discuss PRINCE2’s approach to areas such as Risk and Change. Well of course how you use the Themes will vary greatly depending on your project environment. PRINCE2 is expecting you to adapt the Themes not follow word for word what is in the PRINCE2 manual.
  3. Adapt the Processes – The 7 PRINCE2 Processes tell us when in a project life cycle we should be carrying out certain activities. These processes can be scaled up or down. In small projects the first two processes – Starting up a Project and Initiating a Project can be done together. On larger projects we can optionally use Controlling a Stage and Managing Product Delivery in the Initiation Stage.
  4. Use your organizations own terminology – PRINCE2 has a language but you don’t have to follow the exact terminology in your projects. For instance if the key decision maker in your project is called a Sponsor rather than the Executive that’s fine. What makes a project a PRINCE2 project is that you define the roles and responsibilities. Not what you call the role.
  5. Adapt the Management Products – One of the reasons people sometimes say that PRINCE2 is over prescriptive is that they see all these documents that PRINCE2 offers and think they will spend all their time writing reports. Well again you have to use the Management Products with a bit of common sense. The Management Products are there to be tailored. In small projects do you need to use them all? Think about what you need to monitor and control your project and use accordingly.

So tailoring PRINCE2 is vital. If you do this it is where PRINCE2 becomes a great methodology.

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