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08/07/2021

How the 7 Principles of PRINCE2 Can Elevate Your Project Management

The PRINCE2 methodology has been around for several decades now, but it has become the de facto system in many industries because it aligns so well with agile project management. 

PRojects IN a Controlled Environment (PRINCE2) originated in the UK. Back in the 1980s, the UK government sought solutions to common project dilemmas (delivering on time, quality control, staying within budget constraints). Like private companies, the government wanted a method for focusing on deliverables.

A company called Simpact Systems Ltd developed PROMPT, a project management framework developed to keep computer projects on time and budget. The PROMPT framework inspired the UK government to develop PRINCE in 1989. Many organisations adopted the methodology, and in 1996, a virtual committee of about 150 European organisations met to agree on best practices. 

In 2013, Capita PLC and the Cabinet Office on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) in the United Kingdom embarked on a joint venture (AXELOS) to manage and develop the Global Best Practice portfolio. In July of that year, ownership of the rights to PRINCE2 was transferred from HM Cabinet Office to AXELOS Ltd.

The global market reacted favourably to this new framework. PRINCE2 retains its focus on the deliverables, but it’s more tailorable to various project environments. For these reasons, PRINCE2 has become invaluable for organisations in many different industries.

What can it do for your business, and why should you consider becoming a certified PRINCE2 practitioner?

7 Principles of PRINCE2

Like all other project management methodologies, PRINCE2 relies on several fundamental principles, which form the backbone of all projects. Let’s look at these seven principles and how they can help your business to deliver projects successfully.

1. Business Justification for Projects

At the heart of PRINCE2 is the concept that every project must meet several criteria:

  • A clearly defined objective
  • A goal
  • A customer
  • A thorough cost assessment
  • Tangible benefits.

When projects meet these criteria, the team stays focused on its goal, knowing they have a clear benefit and incentive.

2. Perpetual Learning

When a business adopts the PRINCE2 project management framework, it commits to prioritising continuous learning for teams. At every project stage, teams take note of lessons learned. This knowledge helps smooth the way during later stages of the project and may even assist the successful completion of future projects.

3. Clear-cut Distinction of Roles and Responsibilities

Especially when working together for some time, team members tend to slide in and out of roles and responsibilities. The ambiguity can lead to missed deadlines, unclear expectations and even resentment.

That’s why PRINCE2 emphasises the importance of a clear distinction of roles and responsibilities for teams and individual employees. When everyone understands what’s expected of them, it’s easier to set metrics and follow up on assignments.

4. A Phased Approach

If your project teams struggle to track their progress, you’ll appreciate this principle of the PRINCE2 methodology. Team leaders divide each project into distinct phases. At the completion of each segment, the team meets to review phase outcomes and lessons learned. 

Not only does the phased approach help you to avoid making the same mistakes again and again, but it also tracks the direction in which the project is heading. If necessary, you can use the end of a phase to pivot before moving on.

5. Manage by Exception

Manage by exception provides management with a system to supervise the lower management layer without needing to be bothered by every detail. 

With the PRINCE2 methodology, each level in your project organisation manages the level below. Lower levels should only notify the above management layer if they encounter a considerable problem outside their tolerance. In PRINCE2 terminology, a “big issue” is called an Exception. Essentially, an exception is an issue outside the scope of the agreed tolerance. This principle reinforces ideas about clear distinctions of roles and responsibilities.

6. Focus on Product Quality

Since PRINCE2 focuses on deliverables, product quality is paramount. Teams must make sure that no gap exists between the project’s requirements and the deliverables. To make this happen, teams must constantly monitor, check and measure the products.

7. Customisation for Projects

When projects are tailored to the resources and time available, teams work more efficiently and experience less frustration. Various parameters (such as team size and the amount of planning necessary for each phase) can be customised.

Why Individuals and Organisations Should Consider PRINCE2 Certification 

Any worthwhile investment should reap tangible rewards. What can you expect from PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner certification?

Benefits to Individuals

  • Next-level project management capabilities
  • Helpful tools and know-how to apply to projects of all kinds
  • Improved career prospects through internationally recognised certification.

Benefits to Organisations

  • Increased transparency of project management tasks
  • Greater success in achieving project goals
  • Improved understanding by executives of what it takes to deliver projects
  • Sharpened governance and controls
  • Finely tuned focus on issue and risk management.

MetaPM’s PRINCE2 Course

As you read through the seven principles of PRINCE2, you may have recognised some areas in which your business struggles. Perhaps your projects veer off course, or maybe your upper management is too involved in the particulars of lower-level projects. 

Achieving PRINCE2 certification can help your organisation to improve its project management capabilities and deliver excellent results to your clients. Our PRINCE2 courses provide you with the knowledge and training you need to take your project management to the next level.

Our four-day PRINCE2® Foundation and Practitioner Course is a fully accredited project management methodology. It’s suitable for all sizes and complexity of projects, as well as private and public sector organisations.

This course:

  • Explains the purpose, scope and value of the PRINCE2® Project Management Methodology
  • Introduces and explains the method’s processes, themes and principles in illuminating detail
  • Provides detailed knowledge to enable managers to confidently apply the methods to projects
  • Allows participants to earn project management accreditation.

You can register for our courses online, or you can contact us for more information. We love to help individuals and businesses unleash their potential by upgrading their methodologies and processes. Hope to hear from you soon!

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