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Understanding the PRINCE2 Approach to Organisation

Organisation is essential for a project to succeed and project managers need to understand this in order to communicate, negotiate and deal with everyone involved in a project. PRINCE2 offers an elegant and straightforward approach to organisation. Using the principle of management by exception which ensures efficient use of senior management time, its project management structure comprises four levels. Three represent the project management team and the fourth lies beyond the project.

The Corporate or Programme Management Level: Separated from the project management team, this level involves commissioning the project, identifying the Executive and defining the tolerances within which the Project Board will work; normally this is also documented in the project mandate. Tolerances set out the amount one can go above and below a plan's targets on variables such as the time taken, the costs budgeted for and the quality to be provided.

The Directing Level: The Board is responsible for the direction and management of the project and is made up of the Executive, the Senior User(s) and Senior Supplier(s) who are accountable for the success or failure of the project. To be successful, the different elements of the Board must first pull together to provide what the manual describes as a ‘unified’ view of the direction the project should take and second, must possess the four characteristics of authority, credibility, ability to delegate and availability.

The importance of these characteristics cannot be overstated. Authority is necessary to be able to make strategic decisions. Credibility, it therefore almost goes without saying, is essential if that authority is to be wielded effectively and that only comes if Board members are senior enough in the organisation. Ability to delegate is critical if the project manager is to have enough room to do his or her job; remember PRINCE2 is not about micro-management. Availability ensures that when the project manager needs decisions or direction, the Board can provide it.

Armed with these attributes, and as part of directing the project, the Board's responsibilities include, amongst other things, approving major plans and resources and authorizing any deviation from the set tolerances.

The Managing Level: The project manager is in charge of the daily management of the project within the tolerances or parameters set by the Project Board. His or her responsibility is to ensure the project produces the products based on cost, time, quality, scope, risk and benefit performance goals.

The Delivering Level: Team members deliver the products to the required levels but, depending on the size and complexity of a project, a team manager may be appointed to manage team specialists and to create certain products.

We have provided only an at-a-glance picture of project management organisation, so for more information, watch this space in the future, and for more knowledge, skills and understanding that you can use to improve your own project management success rates, take PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner.

Take Advantage of These Useful Links:

  • For a complete picture of PRINCE2 and what it can do for your project management career make your way to the Cabinet Office where you can also find out about the links between its various processes.
  • Utilise your social media profiles! LinkedIn has some fantastic user groups that offer a wealth of information and networking opportunities. Some of our favourites:
  • ILX Group – keep up to date with our project management articles and news
  • Project Manager Community – Best Group for Project Management
  • The official group for Association for Project Management (APM)
  • The Project Manager Network – #1 Group for Project Managers.
  • Check out these useful sources of information on everything PRINCE2:
  • The APMG provides a slew of useful information about PRINCE2 accredited training options.
  • Navigate your way through PRINCE2 with a raft of useful downloads that include a glossary, quiz and templates.
  • ILX Group deliver PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner digital learning, classroom and blended learning.
  • The PRINCE2 e-learning experience may be the perfect option for those with an eye for cost-effective, rich and collaborative training that includes a blog, a forum and social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook.

    Check out our FREE seminars that demystify PRINCE2 and digital learning.