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25 PRINCE2® Implementation Tips

From guest blogger and definitive PRINCE2 international expert Steve Boronski, ILX Group

For the last 25 years, PRINCE2 specialist ILX Group, has brought best practice learning within the reach of business and individuals to help professionals improve their expertise in delivering successful projects. For much of that time, they have been able to call on the expertise of an internationally recognized expert in project management: Steve Boronski. We are delighted to welcome Steve to this week’s PRINCE2 Blog, as he shares some of that knowledge with you in a guest article. Over to you, Steve!

"For many years I have combined a successful career as a programme, portfolio and project manager with that of programme and project management trainer. During that time, I have been able to develop teams, creatively solve problems, define strategy and identify measurable objectives and Key Performance Indicators. I am therefore delighted to be able to share some of my top tips for improving project success with you. Feel free to connect with me by going to the links at the end of my blog. Good luck!”

Background

1. First things first: PRINCE2 is not prescriptive. You do not do everything in the level of detail that it suggests. It is a tool and you decide how to use it.

2. PRINCE2 is often accused of being bureaucratic and of encouraging red tape. It isn’t. You need documents but they need only be as detailed as the phase or stage demands. PRINCE2 provides us with a place to put everything and everything should be in its place, which is a lean principle.

3. Going Agile? Don’t let it become fragile by ignoring project management; Agile and PRINCE2 are not competing products - without PRINCE2 an agile project becomes fragile.

4. Consider having a simplified glossary available on your physical or virtual project management board so that everyone on the team knows what you’re talking about.

5. Don’t micromanage. When we have responsibility for something, it’s very tempting to take the attitude that if we ‘want it done right we need to do it ourselves’. In PRINCE2 language this means “manage by exception”.

6. Treat the adoption of PRINCE2 in your organisation as a PRINCE2 project itself, helping it to become embedded into the company successfully.

7. Try to get everyone involved in the project qualified to at least PRINCE2 Foundation level so that there is a basic level of expertise that you can count on within the team.

8. Don’t imagine that PRINCE2 can only be used on its own. It marries very well with APMP, PMP and other approaches.

Starting Up a Project (SU)

9. Clarify roles and responsibilities with clear chains of command and accountability.

10. Remember that the Starting Up a Project stage is designed to help the Project Board decide whether they should take planning a step further and go into more detail.

11. To make the Start Up process workable you could set up a workshop of experts who get all the information together.

Initiating the Project

12. When you plan the Communication Strategy, balance the need for adequate and timely information with the need to prevent information ‘spam’. The aim is to engage and inform, not overwhelm.

13. Create a project plan. It may sound obvious, but make sure you collaborate with the project board - it should also not be too detailed, save that for the stage plans.

14. Remember to revisit the business case as it will be different and will need more detail than the outline one.

PRINCE2 Stage Planning

15. Stages are a great way of preventing the project from running away from you. At the end of each stage the Board decides whether to authorise the next stage of the project, and if they do, you need to make sure they know what it means.

16. The project business case should be reviewed and if needed, updated, to allow the project board to review the on-going viability whilst also demonstrating that that you are focussed on realising benefits, not just producing products.

Controlling stages

17. Watch out for uncontrolled change or scope creep where you’re adding all sorts of unnecessary bells and whistles to the product or service.

18. Try to avoid progress meetings with the project board unless you need a decision making, telling everyone things are going to plan in a meeting can often lead to more work being added. Just send them Highlight Reports.

19. Keep your plan up to date and visible, it is produced for us to communicate and control what is happening, visible controls are proven to be superior.

Product Delivery (for team managers or members)

20. Make sure your work package contains elements that help you to make sure the work is done correctly and with the minimum of fuss, such as: product description, time and cost tolerance, and restrictions on the way the team work.

21. Agreement is key, it is pointless trying to overload people - if the work cannot be done, say so and move it, but remember the work package should never ever, ever, ever be a surprise package!

22. Don’t be afraid to escalate issues and risks to the project manager that you are unable to deal with.

Closing the Project

23. This is where you demonstrate that the Quality Expectations and Acceptance Criteria are confirmed, and you have done a great job.

24. Make sure you hand everything over to operational managers and tidy up all the loose ends, which includes open issues and risks.

Final word

25. Apply PRINCE2 methodically but not dogmatically - it’s in your hands to apply appropriately to your situation.

Useful Links

  • Connect with Steve Boronski via LinkedIn.
  • Watch programme and project management expert, Steve Boronski, introduce PRINCE2 on YouTube.
  • Listen to Steve Boronski discuss PRINCE2 project management on the American
  • Software Process and Measurement Cast (SPaMCast).
  • From maturity assessments and organisational healthchecks, through ITIL®, MSP® and PRINCE2 implementation, to programme and project performance management, ILX Consulting has a proven record of delivering tangible improvements in capability, productivity and customer satisfaction to a wide range of businesses and organisations. Call on ILX Consulting for all your needs.

    Realise the true benefits of PRINCE2 and other Best Practice learning via ILX Connect. ILX Connect can design your e-learning programme, offer support on how to approach and even organise exams.

  • Why not come along to one of ILX Group’s popular FREE PRINCE2 seminars and webinars, and gain valuable PRINCE2 insights from leading industry experts such as Steve?