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A Process for Using Prince2

Feedback I receive following the delivery of online and classroom Prince2 training will invariably include comments on the Prince2 processes.  The Prince2 processes can be challenging to get a grasp of for learners. My understanding of this is that they are completely new to the learner, unlike say risk, change and progress control which are familiar to everyone who has had a role in business ops or projects.

The processes are at the heart of Prince2 (one of its integrated elements) but they can be tailored to suit your project and your business processes. This gives the project manager flexibility to use them as they wish.

What is a Process?

According to the Oxford Dictionary: ‘’A process is a series of actions which are carried out in order to achieve a particular result’’.

Example of a Process?

A process will have a set of inputs, a series of activities and an output(s). For example the process to bake a cake is:

Inputs – recipe and ingredients

Activities – preparing, mixing and baking

Output – a cake

What are the Prince2 processes?

There are seven processes including:

  1. Starting Up a Project
  2. Initiating a Project
  3. Directing a Project
  4. Controlling a Project
  5. Managing Product Delivery
  6. Managing a Stage Boundary
  7. Closing a Project

How do the Prince2 processes work?

Starting Up a Project - This process is not part of the project (and therefore not mandatory) but is useful as a means to identify good projects and get rid of projects which offer little benefit to the organisation. It is intended to be light and quick. It may start and end in one day. If the organisation is faced with say funding 10 projects for the year ahead but is presented with 20, this process can be used to identify the 10 which will offer the most benefit to the organisation

Directing a Project - This process enables overall control to be provided. Within a Prince2 project the role known as the Project Board make important decisions and ensures the project stays on course. The recommended activities in this process are defined, and it starts before the project begins and continues until the project is closed

Initiating a Project - Essentially the planning process. This process provides guidance to the project manager for the recommended activities and responsibilities for planning a project but also includes activities for supporting the business case and benefits for the project

Controlling a Project - Most project managers enjoy the day to day running of the project. This process represents just that. Here the activities for keeping the project on track are identified. Associate this process with reporting, delegating, dealing with issues and risks and taking corrective actions

Managing Product Delivery – Part of the job of the project manager is to manage those who are doing the work, these are the specialist suppliers such as designers and builders. The managing product delivery process provides the basis for this. It does not state how the work will be carried out, this is for the specialist to decide, but to link the project manager and the specialist by describing the activities to accept, execute and deliver the outputs

Managing Stage Boundary – Prince2 projects are managed by the project manager in stages. At the end of each stage the project manager needs to report the current situation and prepare for the next stage. This process provides guidance to the project manager for preparing for the next stage and attainment authorisation to proceed into the next stage. It is a matter of reporting and planning.

Closing a Project – One of the defining features of a Pince2 project is that it has a defined start and end. This makes projects distinctly difference from operational work and offers many advantages. This process guides the project manager through closing. Essentially it is tidying up, handing over the outputs and administration.

Why do you need these processes?

Processes offer the project manager guidance and control through the project lifecycle. They add structure to the project through the identification of starting, middle and closing activities. This suits the project environment because projects are usually constrained in many ways and have a defined start and end.

Each process contains a list of recommended inputs, activities, outputs and responsibilities to assist the project manager start and finish the process.

Using the Prince2 Processes

At first glance the processes may appear to be quite ridged, but the processes can be adapted or combined to suit your needs. For instance, if the project is clearly required and has many obvious benefits, the Starting a Project process may be combined with the Initiating a Project process.

The Initiation a Project process can be referred to as the Planning Process and the recommended Prince2 activities can be modified to suit the organisations governance and process.

If the project is small i.e. a two month schedule and the project manager is also delivering the products (outputs), the Controlling a Project and Managing Product Delivery processes can be combined and adapted to suit the single role.

The key to using, combining and adapting the processes is to follow the Prince2 principles and ensure all are supported within your processes.

Where to Start?

A studyonline.ie if you follow our Prince2 certification program we will take you through the use of the processes and how to adapt them to suit your specific needs.

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