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Work Packages – The Strengths of Prince2™ (#11 in the series How PRINCE2™ Can Complement PMBOK® and Your PMP)
By Jay Siegelaub – MBA, PMP, PRINCE2

The Work Package is the definitional element of PRINCE2™’s work authorization system: the packet of information relevant to the creation of one or more deliverables (products). It contains one or more Product Descriptions as the core of the work to be performed.

PRINCE2™’s Work Package also details any constraints on production such as time and cost, interfaces and confirmation (between the Project Manager and the resource slated to deliver the Work Package) that the work can be done within those constraints. Work Package contents may go further, providing: risk information; suggested (or required) tools, techniques or standards to do the work; how work is to be reviewed, checked and approved; how work is to be returned; and how issues, problems and status are to be handled and reported. The Work Package becomes a mini-PID (Project Initiation Document), conveying the project’s requirements to performers of the work. As with other PRINCE2™ tools, this product will vary in content and in degree of formality – ranging from verbal directives to formal written instructions for contractors. The recommended content provides a more comprehensive description of the work to be done than the PMBOK®, along with the mechanism to ensure that completed work will meet expectations on all levels. (PRINCE2™ also links the Work Package and associated “Authorization” into its relevant processes: “Controlling a Stage” manages Work Packages from the Project Manager’s side; “Managing Product Delivery” handles them from the side of those performing the work.The PMBOK® identifies “Work Package Authorization” as outside its scope – and PRINCE2™ fills in this gap.)

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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