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Product-Based Planning – The Strengths of Prince2™ (#9 in the series How PRINCE2™ Can Complement PMBOK® and Your PMP)
By Jay Siegelaub – MBA, PMP, PRINCE2

The Product Breakdown Structure of PRINCE2™’s Product Based Planning technique echoes PMBOK®’s Work Breakdown Structure in identifying the constituent parts of the project deliverables. PRINCE2™ continues the logic of focusing on deliverables (since they are the goal of the project, not the activities), by providing an additional step to this technique: explicating those deliverables through Product Descriptions. PRINCE2™ calls for a Product Description (for each product/deliverable for which it is needed), comprising these important characteristics: why it is being created; what it is made up of; the source of materials and the tasks needed to create it;what it should look like when it is done; the resources and skills needed to create it; the criteria for accepting it; any acceptable variances, and how we will make sure that it meets its criteria.

These traits shape and clarify expectations, and help assure the right product will be created the first time around, not shaped by afterthoughts. These elements together also serve as a baseline reference for changes to the Product. The thoroughness of PRINCE2™’s Product Descriptions vigorously supplements the PMBOK®’s approach. This emphasis on Product Descriptions helps ensure that a sound and agreed basis is established for scope management, earned value management, and quality management.

Product Descriptions provide clarity for time and resource estimates, and risk management, and they are the core of Work Packages.

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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