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PRINCE2™ Process Overview – The PRINCE2™ Processes (#5 in the series How PRINCE2™ Can Complement PMBOK® and Your PMP)
By Jay Siegelaub – MBA, PMP, PRINCE2

“Starting Up a Project” enables a controlled start to the project. It occurs once in the project life cycle, providing the groundwork for project management and oversight, and viability evaluation. This process creates the Project Board, and ensures that resource requirements are understood and committed to the first Stage, “Initiating a Project”.

“Directing a Project” operates throughout the project, and defines the responsibilities of the Project Board in its oversight of the project. Like its location in the process model diagram, it sits above and interacts with many of the other processes. It provides the mechanisms for authorizing the project, approving continuity at the completion of each Stage, and closure of the project (all based on the Business Case). “Directing a Project” is the framework for supplying input to the project manager, receiving requests from the project manager for information and assistance, and making decisions.This is the only process in which the Project Board is active (other than “Starting Up a Project,” when the Board is first formed). All other processes are guided by the Project and Team Managers.

The PRINCE2 Process Model

“Initiating a Project” occurs once in the project life cycle. It lays out the view of how the overall project is to be managed,and sets it down in a “contract” called the Project Initiation Document (PID).The intention of the PID is to provide a common understanding of the critical elements of the project (similar to the PMBOK®’s Project Scope Statement and Project Management Plan). “Initiating a Project” also calls for resource commitment by the Project Board to the first developmental Stage of the project.

“Planning” is the common process for several other processes in PRINCE2™. Plans are produced by identifying the project’s required deliverables, the activities and resources necessary to create them, and the management and quality requirements – all at a level consistent with the control requirements identified in the PID. Use of a common module highlights the concept of a consistent, coherent approach to all planning. Central network diagramming, estimating and scheduling is left in a skeleton format, as the PMBOK® covers the corresponding material thoroughly.

“Controlling a Stage” provides guidance to the Project Manager in managing the project on a day-to-day basis. It includes:work authorization and receipt of work; issue and change management; status collection, analysis and reporting; viability consideration; corrective action; and escalation of concerns to the Project Board. “Controlling a Stage” is iterative, and is repeated for each developmental Stage of the project. “Managing Product Delivery” is part of PRINCE2™’s work authorization system. It is the mechanism for the performers of technical work (teams, individuals and contractors) to agree on work to be performed, report on progress, complete the work, and return it. It occurs as frequently as work packages are authorized.

“Managing Stage Boundaries” manages the transition from the completion of one work Stage to the commencement of the next Stage. It includes assurance that work defined in the Stage has been completed as defined, provides information to the Project Board to assess the ongoing viability of the project (done in “Directing a Project”), develops plans for and obtains authorization for the next Stage of work, and records lessons learned.

“Closing a Project” is the mechanism to transition the project back to the organization. It closes out the project, whether closure is precipitated by completion of the work, or premature termination. In either event, “Closing” picks up lessons learned and project experiences for organizational records. For completed work, its goal is to ensure that (a) the work has been completed to the Customer’s and Management’s satisfaction, (b) all expected products have been handed over and accepted by the Customer, and (c) arrangements for the support and operation of project products are in place.

All PRINCE2™ components and processes are integrated into a single flow.

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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