What is PRINCE2?

An easy way to understand the qualification!

With it becoming glaringly obvious that disorganised projects lead to wasted time, money and resources, the true importance of project management is being understood by more and more people around the world. Consequently, the demand for high-quality, project management certifications are also increasing globally. There are countless project management certifications currently in the market, some more recognised than others or with a narrower area of focus, but all with one singular goal: to ensure that the applicant obtains the necessary knowledge and skills to implement and manage a project management system. One of the most popular certifications is the PRINCE2 certification, which is in high demand worldwide.

What is the PRINCE2 certification?

PRINCE2 is a project management certification offered by the government of the UK. It stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments and is a process-based methodology of effectively managing projects. A key benefit of getting the PRINCE2 project management certification is that it’s scalable and can be applied across various industries. Its scope is somewhat narrow when compared to other certifications like PMP but is also globally recognised. The PRINCE2 certification comprises two levels: PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner.

What are the PRINCE2 project management methodologies?

The key differentiating factor between PRINCE2 and other project management certifications is that PRINCE2 is highly structured when it comes to its project management methodologies. It comes with rigid templates, processes and steps which need to be adhered to when being implemented and are applied throughout the entirety of the project.

There are seven main principles when it comes to the project management methodologies of the PRINCE2 certification. They encompass all stages of a project from start to finish.

1. The project must be feasible and have a sound business justification

Trying to implement project management principles on a project that is simply not justifiable from a business point of view is a complete waste of time. PRINCE2 requires the projects in question to have a clearly defined end-goal or objective, as well as an identified target customer or customer segment, ability to generate tangible profits and a basic understanding of costs involved. Project management is so heavily prioritised due to its capability in increasing return on investment through improving efficiency and reducing wastage. Even the best project management methodologies will not be able to be put to good use if the project it is being applied to has no clear end-goal to work towards or is unable to generate a profit at the end of the day.

Therefore, the PRINCE2 certification demands that all projects have a sound business justification. This will help all team members to work towards a singular goal while understanding what the potential benefits and risks are.

2. Projects must be geared towards encouraging continuous learning for team members

The PRINCE2 certification highly emphasises continuous learning for all team members involved in the project. Not only does this improve the overall level of knowledge and skill of the team members, but it also greatly benefits the projects when they are being handled by highly-skilled individuals who can react and adapt to any situation. This is done by closely tracking the progress of the project and noting down any special events, crises, effects of making changes etc. These are considered as key lessons and are disseminated among the team members so that everyone is on the same page.

These key lessons will be extremely valuable in the future whenever a team member is faced with an unusual or unexpected situation; they can then draw on the shared learnings from other team members and come up with a solution.

3. Team members’ roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined

PRINCE2 requires the project manager to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each team member so that they know what their scope of work is, as well as those of their colleagues. It is incorrectly assumed that strictly defining roles and responsibilities is done to make it easier for the superiors to assign blame in the event of a crisis. Clear definition of one’s roles and responsibilities actually does the opposite, in that there is no blurring of roles and prevents passing of the buck. It eliminates clutter and brings clarity when it comes to employees’ tasks and what is expected of them. A good project manager can even help employees feel needed in a team and give them a sense of purpose by assigning them a holistic and impactful list of responsibilities.

The PRINCE2 certification dives very deeply into this area within its project management methodologies.

The PRINCE2 certification requires project managers to break down an entire project into various stages or phases. This greatly helps in viewing what might seem to be an insurmountable project into more doable tasks. At the end of each stage, all outcomes and key lessons learned should be identified and disseminated among all team members. Not only does this help keep all the team members aware of the current overall state of the project, but it also helps to ensure that the project is still going in the same direction as initially planned. This also helps the project manager understand whether deadlines are at risk of being missed or whether the project is more or less on track.

5. The project and team should be managed by exception

This principle is aimed at allowing the project manager to make decisions regarding the project without needing to consult the board of directors or senior management about every little detail. The board or senior management will only be responsible for setting the overall direction and baseline requirements of the project ie. cost, time, objectives, scope etc. This is simply because PRINCE2 takes into consideration that these top-level executives do not have time to look into each and every aspect of the project; instead, it encourages delegating and empowering the project manager to make decisions regarding the daily operations of project management. The top-level management will only intervene if there is any risk of the initial baseline requirements being overrun.

6. Constant focus on creating high-quality products

The PRINCE2 certification is focused on not only streamlining the project and its processes, but also on the end-product, with very high emphasis on creating products of the highest quality. This is done by maintaining a quality register, where the product quality and deliverables are constantly compared to the standards and product requirements agreed-upon prior to commencing the project. There should be no gap between expectation and reality, and it is imperative that quality checks be conducted at all stages in order to measure product quality.

7. Customised, project-based approach

The PRINCE2 project management certification is generally considered one of the best due to its ability to be implemented across all industries and businesses. This is because it understands that no two projects or companies are the same, thereby allowing project managers to tailor its principles and templates to fit their own project or company. The PRINCE2 method is adjustable as per the needs of the project, taking into consideration the feasible amount of planning required for projects of differing sizes, resources, team structures, time periods etc.

PRINCE2 is not composed solely of these seven principles; it encompasses a much wider area of knowledge as well as providing clear templates and other project management methodologies. When applied properly, the PRINCE2 certification allows project managers to better control project resources and handle risks, making it one of the most important weapons in a project manager’s arsenal.

March 25, 2022

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