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Combining The Best of PMBOK® and PRINCE2™ (#16 in the series How PRINCE2™ Can Complement PMBOK® and Your PMP)
By Jay Siegelaub – MBA, PMP, PRINCE2

PRINCE2™ needs experience and the depth of PMBOK® to fill it out, so it makes sense to study the PMBOK® and get a PMP. But after Project Managers receive their PMPs, they often ask “Where do I start? How do I put all of this together to actually run a project?” PRINCE2™ becomes useful at this point, because, as a methodology, it can shape and direct that knowledge. Here are a few approaches to getting value out of PRINCE2™. PRINCE2™ was designed in an integrated manner, so a project manager can get the most out of it when it is used in its entirety. But there are elements of PRINCE2™ that can be lifted and applied directly in any project environment. Neither of these approaches requires deviating from a “PMP”or “PMBOK®” environment.

Use it for its unique approaches and insights into project management. Read the PRINCE2™ manual, or read the manual and take a PRINCE2™ course. Get a grasp of how the “package” as a whole works. Focus on the elements that can be most easily transplanted into your current environment. The most straightforward elements are: Product Descriptions, Change Control, Issue Management, Quality Reviews and Work Packages (all discussed under “The Strengths of PRINCE2™”). None of these require “permission” from authorities outside the project, so they are easily implemented by the Project Manager. They can even be used by project teams or in sub-projects. As these approaches and techniques become accepted by stakeholders and others on the project, consider using other aspects of PRINCE2™. Because of PRINCE2™’s integrated approach, if you use most of PRINCE2™’s approach to a specific piece in the first round of implementation, you can add features in almost a plug-and-play manner.Features like Project Boards can be powerful when implemented, but require greater buy-in and commitment from stakeholders to succeed — so put these off until greater interest is shown by management.

Use it as the proven, low-cost basis for your company’s methodology. Get to know PRINCE2™ and consider using it as the core of your company’s new project management approach – perhaps along the lines of “PMBOK® and PRINCE2™ – Together”. Suggest it to management, selling it through its credibility wherever it has been implemented (internationally, including by such organizations as the United Nations Development Programme), and its open (no-fee) availability. Remind management that, when used in an integrated manner, it will support your company’s fulfillment of any future “maturity” plans. Propose that a small group create a prototype project management methodology built around PRINCE2™, to build understanding and to plan out how to integrate it into your organization’s environment. (You can do research on how PRINCE2™ has been used via the website of the accrediting body, the APM Group [].They also have case studies on how to implement it.) Your core group should consider getting themselves accredited in PRINCE2™, so you are all sure your team understands how to use it most effectively. (You will also become the Project Office/resource team for all future work under PRINCE2™.) Remember that you will need to bring pieces of the PMBOK® into this methodology to make it complete, so while you’re learning about PRINCE2™, think forward towards how you will combine the two. PRINCE2™ doesn’t have to be used “as-is” – but understanding how to implement it to cover critical quality areas will help ensure that your company will meet later “maturity” accreditation requirements.

By using the PMBOK® and PRINCE2™ together you are taking advantage of the two most respected project management approaches in the world today, and are getting the best of both!

Jay Siegelaub has over 30 years of professional experience delivering and supporting projects in information technology, insurance systems, banking, and nonprofit strategic planning, as well as in the pharmaceutical, financial service, consulting, and consumer products industries. As a recognized educator he has trained thousands of project managers over the past 23 years, including 13 years as the Project Management tutorial instructor for the Drug Information Association.

Jay’s recent responsibilities included leading the North American Change Management and Training practices for a UK-based management consulting firm, training corporate consulting professionals in project and program management, and supporting clients in managing the “people” issues of their business change initiatives. He has authored articles on training, project management and information technology for various publications, and often presents at conferences, including the PMI North American Congress (1999, and 2004 – 2007), ProjectWorld and ProjectSummit.

In addition to his PMP® certification, Jay has his MBA in Organization Management from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and is an accredited PRINCE2™ Practitioner, Instructor and Examiner. He has taught and consulted in PRINCE2™ in North America for 10 years (the first US-accredited PRINCE2™ instructor), and worked for the company (and with the authors) that wrote the PRINCE2™ Manual for the UK government.

He has provided Change Management and Project Management consulting and training (including PRINCE2) to companies such as Sun Microsystems, NATO, the United Nations Development Programme, Bechtel, IBM, Philip Morris, Credit Suisse, JPMorganChase and Diageo.

Jay also consults in Organizational and Professional Development.

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