Saturday, 21 February 2009

Prince2 : 2009 Project Refresh

Although I've been following Andy Murray's blog on the Prince 2 Refresh Project, there hasn't really been much meat to it, in terms of understanding what this refresh really means for what we currently know as the Prince 2 project methodology.  According to his presentation (see link below) this was to protect crown copyright - okay... if you say so.  It seems now the time is right to reveal some of the content changes, and on the surface it sounds like a good thing.

In terms of structure there are now 7 Principles, 7 Themes (formerly components), and 7 Processes.

I like that they've gathered the principles that were scattered all over the book and reduced them down to 7 and that we can apply the test, 'Am I doing this? If not it isn't Prince2' to each.  Of the 7 (Business Justification, Roles & Responsibilities, Product Focus, Managed by Stages, Management of Risk, Scaling and Tailoring, and Learning Lessons) I find the latter a little curious.  Andy emphasised the need to learn from prior experience rather than simply identifying new lessons during a project and producing a report at the end.  It's not that I disagree with it - I just find it strange that it is important enough to be considered a 'principle'.

I'm pleased to see that 'Planning' has been removed as a single process and there is recognition that this goes on continuously throughout a project as well as major bouts of it at stage boundaries.  This is being addressed by including it as one of the 7 key themes (Business Case, Organisation, Plans, Risk, Progress, Quality, Issues & Changes) which all need to be continually present and reviewed throughout the project lifecycle.

We also wave goodbye to the 45 sub-processes (how I shall miss thee CS3...) and the 3 techniques (I never understood why these three were selected out of the many needed to run a successful project!).  Instead of sub-processes we will get un-coded activities and recommended actions.  In the case of techniques they rightly say they will refer to other Bodies of Knowledge, after all, why try to be all things to all people when other things exist?

Interestingly the number of management products has been cut from 36 to 25 based on what the authoring team consider to be a 'typical project'.  Andy didn't explain what this was so I am curious to find out.  What he did say was that we can scale up or down according to need.  Certainly when working with DSDM this will be scaling up!

It sounds like it's going in the right direction, it will be interesting to see how the pilots go and if they result in many alterations.  From my point of view I am particularly looking forward to the guidance for those directing a project as this is a real weak area.  All too often I see Project Board members who see their role as putting a name on a document for sign-off rather than having an active role and responsibilities.  Although as a project manager we can offer them guidance on what that should be - to have the fallback of Prince2:2009 Directing a Project guidance would be helpful.

Are you interested in the refresh? What's your take on it?

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