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How to Decide on PRINCE2 Management Stages - One Step at a Time

What makes PRINCE2 such a successful methodology (when it’s used properly) is that it understands that projects, like journeys, are best managed in stages. And although, it’s the Project Board that decides on the number of stages, project managers need to understand the process in order to deliver what the board and the project need.

  1. One step at a time. Just as your journey plans could go awry if you tried to do everything in one go, so your project would stall or crash if you tried to do everything in one stage. The Board therefore bolts together reasonably sized units of work that fit naturally together.
  2. Money, cash, dosh... Call it what you will, it’s one of the key controls used by the Project Board. So while it sets aside money for the whole project, it will likely only authorise cash for one project at a time. If the Board determines that 5 million is the most it will authorise for a stage and one particular stage will cost 8 million, you will be asked to break up the stage into two smaller ones.
  3. Tick, tock. While you may be happy to drive a project on for six months to complete a stage the Board may well feel it’s sensible to pull things over every three months to check progress.

    Gambling on the future. If the project journey is high risk through dangerous territory, you can bet your carburettor that the project board will, quite understandably, be jumpy. The most likely result will be that they’ll divide up the project into as many stages as necessary to lower the risk.

  4. You! Projects are about people and you’re one of the most important there is on a project. If you’re a Formula 1 project manager then the Board will entrust you with longer, expensive stages knowing that you’ll deliver. If you’re Formula 3 standard then you won’t blame them for wanting to keep a close watch on the project. This can even be to your benefit as it means that you’ll be able to check in with them from time to time when you’re not sure about something.

If you think that there should be more factors to help the Project Board decide on stages, you’ve obviously got a project management brain, because you would be right! There are other elements and aspects to understand because PRINCE2 isn’t a question of ticking things off on a list. To find out more come along to one of our free seminars before signing up for one of our popular interactive courses.

Useful Links

  • Check out our Downloads page which has loads of forms, discussions and case studies for current and potential project managers.
  • ILX Group delivers PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner e-learning, classroom and blended learning to suit every situation.
  • The APMG has a slew of useful information about PRINCE2 accredited training options.
  • The PRINCE2 e-learning experience provides cost-effective, rich and collaborative training that includes a blog, a forum and social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
  • ILX Connect can help companies implement PRINCE2 training.
  • ILX Consulting provides everything from maturity assessments and organisational health-checks, through ITIL, MSP and PRINCE2 implementation, to programme and project performance management. It has a proven record of delivering tangible improvements in capability, productivity and customer satisfaction to a businesses and organisations.