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Projects: The Right Approach with Prince2

Prince2 is a proven best practice project methodology for delivering change in any organisation. It is also very flexible in that it can be adapted to suit any project or change environment.

When faced with how to deliver the projects an important decision is what approach to take. Projects can be delivered in various ways but generally there are two mainstream and well recognised approaches.

The Planned (predictive) and Agile (adaptive) approaches are the best recognised industry standards for delivering projects. They are in great demand in all sectors and are backed up by several decades of use in mainstream industries such as IT, finance, construction, manufacturing and life sciences. These represent the most tried and trusted methods to deliver your projects.

But which one is best for your business? Before we get into that lets look at what they are.

Planned (Predictive)

This methodology has been in use since the time someone put a plan on paper or maybe parchment. It would be quite natural to most of us who like to take a look over the edge before we jump. If we stop and think about our holidays for this year it would be customary to decide now on the destination, when we want to be there, and what we want to spend on it, well in advance of arrival. This is fundamentally the Planned Approach to project management.

The Planned Approach is therefore attempting to predict as much as possible before moving into delivery. Because of this, it needs to be relatively heavy on process and procedure and works best when set standards are used consistently in your business.

Agile (Adaptive)

This approach is based on delivering something quickly with a light plan, then reflecting on the outcome and being flexible on change. If we take the example of our holiday. We would know what we are spending and when we want to go but not sure on where we want to go. In this case in order to decide on our destination we might choose Norway initially, spend a day or two in Norway, not quite like it and fly off to say Italy the next day, then decide Italy is where we want to holiday.

So Agile is all about being ready and willing to adapt as we go. Therefore, it is light on process and has a need for flexibility and willingness to accept change throughout the project.

 

Which Approach? Prince2 Approach!

Now that we understand the two approaches here is how you decide which one to use.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Can I clearly define my scope?
  2. Are my requirements reasonably fixed and not likely to change much?
  3. Can I define my activities with a good degree of confidence?
  4. Can I break the project down into clearly defined phases?
  5. Is success measured by achieving the project objectives?
  6. Do I operate in a heavily regulated environment?

If the answer to all or most of these questions is yes, then the Planned Approach is the way to go. A process driven method works very well when a clear path is visible, and success is based on the final deliverables.

The Agile Approach is most effective when the scope is vague, and success is based on customer satisfaction.

It is important to note that one approach is not better than the other. It’s horses for courses. They just need to be used under the right circumstances with appropriately trained and coached teams. Some businesses will operate a hybrid approach however it is important that the approach suits your business governance structures.

Prince2 has a robust reporting and governance structure suitable for the predictive approach, yet its principles of stage management and exception handling offer a light touch approach to your projects if needed.

Investing in a methodology like Prince2 would provide you with a sound basis for delivering on your projects no matter what type of approach you decide to run with.

Find out more about Prince2 Foundation and Practicioner courses offered by StudyOnline here!

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