PRINCE2 stands for Projects IN Controlled Environments and is a widely used project management method. First came PRINCE in 1989 as the UK government standard for IT project management. Since then it has been adopted by the public and private sectors world-wide and revised several times; PRINCE2 was the most significant rewrite. The most recent version was released in June 2009, which has split the manual into two, covering project managers and project sponsors.
PRINCE2 is processed based, with processes covering starting a project, directing a project, initiating a project, managing stage boundaries (sign off and moving between stages), controlling a stage, managing product delivery (there is an emphasis on product based planning) and closing a project. This is all done in an environment of seven themes: business case, organization, quality, plans, risk, change and progress.
It’s approach to running a steering group or project board is very clear and there is an emphasis on roles and responsibilities. There is a lot of documentation but you don’t have to do it all and what you do complete really helps people understand the project scope and get things right.
PRINCE2 doesn’t cover working with people and as team management and getting the best out of the people is what we all do every day, this seems like a big oversight on the part of PRINCE2, especially as project boards form such a critical part of the standard. The PMBOK talks about the need for a project sponsor, but doesn’t go into any more detail, so it’s not much better in my opinion. In my experience, a board, or steering group, ensures much wider buy-in for the deliverables and benefits across the organization. The downside of boards is that they are harder to set up and manage, and sometimes having one person who provides executive sponsorship can be all that is needed to make decisions quickly. Boards can also be overkill for small projects ? as can a lot of PRINCE2 documentation.