Introduction to PRINCE2 2005

Introduction to PRINCE2 2005

PRINCE2 is a de-facto UK government standard method for project management. It has become the most widely used project management method in the UK and Europe and fast becoming the most widely used in other parts of the world.

The PRINCE2 method encapsulates project management best practices, which are based upon the experience of thousands of Project Managers managing tens of thousands of projects, small and large, in all different industries and sectors. Contrary to what many people believe, PRINCE2 is not just appropriate for managing large government funded projects, but can successfully be used to manage smaller, less complex projects.

As is the case when applying any method, it is all too easy to blindly apply what is written in the official reference book (Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2™) yet by doing so you are inadvertently reducing your chance of achieving project success. The best way to succeed in applying PRINCE2 is to apply common sense when applying each aspect of it. This means that at each step of your project, you need to ask the question ‘to what extent should I apply this on my project?’ If you follow this simple advice, then achieving successful outcomes from your PRINCE2 project becomes easier.

PRINCE2 is a process based approach to managing projects. This means it defines a number of processes which describe the activities that occur at different times during a project. Within each of these processes, the method describes how one or more project management best practices can be applied to maximise the chances of project success. These best practices are referred to as components.

In addition, PRINCE2 defines three techniques which can be applied on a project to assist in planning, checking the quality of paper-based documents and effectively managing changes.

This short guide was written to assist students attending a classroom course in PRINCE2 with a quick to read and easy to understand overview of the PRINCE2 method. It is not designed to replace the official PRINCE2 manual, but instead should be used as a supplement to the manual.

The structure of PRINCE2

The PRINCE2 method consists of 8 components, 8 processes and 3 techniques. Each process is broken down into a number of sub-processes. There are a total of 45 sub-processes. The processes describe the steps that need to be performed at a different point in the project. Each sub-process describes these steps in detail. During these sub-processes he three techniques can be applied to assist in planning, checking the quality of paper-based documents and effectively managing changes.

The components are applied throughout the PRINCE2 processes. These components are essentially project management best practices i.e. what are considered by experienced project managers to be best practice when managing projects in the real world. In other words, based upon the experience of thousands of practising project managers, these practices are the ones that are likely to maximise the chance of projects being successful.

Simon Buehring is a project manager, consultant and trainer. He works for KnowledgeTrain which offers PRINCE2 online training in the UK and overseas. Simon has extensive experience within the IT industry in the UK and Asia. He can be contacted via the KnowledgeTrain PRINCE2 course website.

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