I am often asked questions about the Prince2 methodology, so I thought I should jot down a few notes about it.

The project Management methodology PRINCE2 started life in 1975 as PROMPT2 (Project, Resource, Organisation, Management and Planning Technique) developed by Simpact Systems Ltd, a UK company. Four years later in 1979 PROMPT2 was adopted by another UK Company CCTA (Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency), now part of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), who modified and renamed the methodology to PRINCE (Projects In Controlled Environments) in 1989, following input from around 150 European organizations, and used it as the standard methodology for all government information systems projects.

In 1996 CCTA released PRINCE2, as the standard methodology for managing all projects in the UK government

2005 saw the release of a significant update of the PRINCE2 documentation. PRINCE2 itself is actually in the public domain, so it is not restricted to a particular vendor, however there are many training organisations around to world to assist with accreditation.

There are two accreditation levels, “Foundation”, a one-hour multiple-choice exam, and “Practitioner”, a three-hour written exam. The Practitioner exam is open-book. Whist preparation courses are available around the world; they are not mandatory for attempting the exams.

Project managers often ask what the difference is between PMBOK (a guide to the Project Management Body Of Knowledge, the ANSI standard for project management, produced by PMI) and PRINCE2. You can think of it this way, PMBOK tells you what a project manager should know to manage a project successfully, PRINCE2 tells you what you should do.

There is often a misconception that PRINCE2 is applicable only to IT projects. Although that was the case in the early days, that is no longer true.

PRINCE2 is a process-driven project management method, but pne of its weaknesses comes from its a high degree of scalability and applicability of modules that it can lead to a project becoming what has been dubbed a “PINO”, a PRINCE In Name Only.

PROCESSES

The PRINCE2 methodology comprises forty-five sub-processes organized into eight high level Processes. Each process has key inputs and outputs, together with the specific objectives, activities and documentation:

1.SU Starting Up a Project

2.PL Planning

3.IP Initiating a Project

4.DP Directing a Project

5.CS Controlling a Stage

6.MP Managing Product Delivery

7.SB Managing Stage Boundaries

8.CP Closing a Project

SU – Starting up a project ————————– The project brief (charter) is formulated, including the outline scope of the project (what will be/not be included in the project) and its justification. This phase also appoints the team, and lays out the project management approach to be taken. Once this stage has been signed off by the Board, the preliminary project officially exists, but is not yet initiated.