Updating PRINCE2

Recently I was talking with Andy Murray about the evolution and update of PRINCE2 – he’s been appointed the Lead Author for the “PRINCE2™ Refresh Project” by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), the owners of the PRINCE2 copyright and standard, and The Stationery Office (TSO), the publishers.

PRINCE2, by the way, is a project management methodology, and stands for “PRojects IN Controlled Environments (version 2)” – it covers the management, control and organisation of a project.

I, and Sun, have worked with Andy, both on individual engagements and regarding the use of PRINCE2 at Sun in the UK, for a number of years, and he’s easily the best person to perform this role – I wish him the best of luck.

Andy’s first task as Lead Author is to produce a Consultation Report summarising all the feedback received from a review that’s just taken place.

I was asked to contribute, and this is the data that Andy has been collecting:

  • 3 things you like about PRINCE2
  • 3 things you dislike
  • What do you consider the essential elements (i.e. without them it would not be PRINCE2) ?
  • What changes would you like to see in the next version ?

My responses were:

  • Things I like about PRINCE2:
    1. Ubiquity – loads of people are practitioners, and so communication and understanding between practitioners is faster then would be if a common understanding & dictionary of terms would need to be created
    2. product focus versus task focus (although I’ve seen this be dependent on the PM involved)
  • Things I dislike about PRINCE2
    1. too much documentation
    2. not enough “natural English” or is that “plain speaking, common English”
    3. used as a raison d’etre / justification – either to manipulate a situation or because the person in question is process bound
    4. previously lack of examples and documentation on integrating other methods into a PRINCE2 framework. Specifically RUP, RAD, DSDM, and now XP / Scrum, but I suppose SSADM might still apply. When we come to running software projects our PRINCE2 accredited PM’s would often get upset when trying to integrate XP like methods into there PRINCE2 frameworks they were trying to implement.
  • Essential elements:
    1. A PM
    2. A sponsor / sponsoring board
    3. Discret timeboxes of deliverables
    4. Milestones
    5. Product Focus versus Task Focus
    6. A PID
  • What changes would you like to see in the next version ?
    1. Simplification – where possible
    2. Better integration with other Project Management techniques – especially those from a re-iterative background (RUP, RAD, SCRUM, DSDM, XP, etc.)
  • The report should be out in the near future (it’s due to be published in June or July), and once approved, Andy will be busy working on a Scoping Document defining the proposed changes to the method.

    Andy’s started a weblog at www.prince2author.com to keep everyone up to date with progress and to gather further input.

    If you’re interested in PRINCE2, are an individual practitioner, or are using in your organisation, and either want to influence it’s evolution, or even just learn more, I’d recommend getting in touch with Andy at his site.

    Right – best be off – Donna and I go to Karate with our boys every Sunday, and I need to get our kit ready.

    Relevant Links and where you can learn more: