PRINCE2™ provides a great roadmap for projects – identifying the key activities to be performed to deliver results – but just having PRINCE2™ doesn’t make you a project manager.
According to the PRINCE2™ website: “PRINCE2 (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a process-based method for effective project management.”
The experience of Transformed is that most organisations use PRINCE2™ because they believe it encapsulates the essence of project management.
PRINCE2™ is a great place to start and every project manager should at least use this methodology as a foundation for their project management approach. Key PRINCE2™ techniques such as ‘product based planning’ provide clarity of exactly what has to be achieved for project success however, PRINCE2™does not equal ‘project management’.
The downside of PRINCE2™
Essentially PRINCE2™ provides a framework or “recipe” but doesn’t provide instructions on how project managers can get things done.
For example: PRINCE2™ identifies points in a project where risk assessment needs to occur but it doesn’t describe what it is or the process to undertake one. It discusses governance mechanisms and organisational structures but doesn’t show project managers how to create them or to actually engage and manage individual stakeholders.
In some circles, PRINCE2™ is seen as document intensive which can be cumbersome for small projects and might be regarded as overkill. The other downside is that it was originally designed for the ICT industry and, though its elements may be applicable more broadly, it tends not to be used much in other project heavy industries such as construction.
Where would a project manager that has only learnt PRINCE2™ stand in a project where this methodology is not appropriate. A project manager seeking a diverse career would be limiting their scope if they relied solely on PRINCE2™ to teach them how to manage projects.
What Else Is There?
There are other pieces to the project management puzzle that PMs need to learn in order to develop well-rounded knowledge and skills in project management and to be able to effectively manage projects of all types, sizes and complexity.
PMBOK® is a collection of project management knowledge and guidelines developed by the Project Management Institute and is generally accepted as the worldwide standard for project management across all industries and sectors.
PMBOK’s essential elements are covered comprehensively in Nationally-Recognised qualifications, such as the Diploma of Project Management and are the basis for Industry certification (such as the AIPM Registered Project Manager). These provide the applied skills and knowledge that is not necessarily covered in PRINCE2™.
The final element is the people-related skills that drive action in projects. Experience shows that communication, stakeholder management, team building, motivation and leadership skills can be the difference between dismal failure and outstanding project management success.
For a project manager, being PRINCE2™certified is an important first step as it demonstrates your knowledge of project processes as defined by a commonly used methodology. Knowing a methodology is not the total solution, nor does it guarantee outcomes.
Like any sound solution, to be a great project manager you need to understand and be able to implement all the elements including management systems, stakeholders, communication and people.
About the Author
Michael Young is Principal Consultant with ‘Transformed’ – Project Management Unleashed.
‘What is PRINCE2 – PRINCE2 Definitions’, http://www.prince2.com/what-is-prince2.asp Viewed 6 Mar 2009