Project management is the art of creating the illusion that any outcome is the result of a series of predetermined, deliberate acts when, in fact, it was dumb luck! Most people will agree that project success is accomplished through a structured process of project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and control, and finally closure. A project is a temporary organization that is created for the purpose of delivering one or more business products according to an agreed Business Case. Project management is the planning, delegating, monitoring and control of all aspects of the project, and the motivation of those involved, to achieve the project objectives within the expected performance targets for time, cost, quality, scope, benefits and risks. PRINCE2 is generic and based on proven principles, organizations adopting the method as a standard can substantially improve their organizational capability and maturity across multiple areas of business activity – business change, construction, IT, mergers and acquisitions, research, product development and so on. There are six variables involved in any project, and therefore six aspects of project performance to be managed. Costs The project has to be affordable and, though we may start out with a particular budget in mind, there will be many factors which can lead to overspending and, perhaps, some opportunities to cut costs Timescales Allied to this, and probably the next most-frequent question asked of a Project Manager, is: ’When will it be finished?’ Quality Finishing on time and within budget is not much consolation if the result of the project doesn’t work. In PRINCE2 terms, the project’s products must be fit for purpose Scope Exactly what will the project deliver? Without knowing it, the various parties involved in a project can very often be talking at cross-purposes about this. The customer may assume that, for instance, a fitted kitchen and/or bathroom is included in the price of the house, whereas the supplier views these as ’extras’. On large-scale projects, scope definition is much more subtle and complex. There must be agreement on the project’s scope and the Project Manager needs to have a detailed understanding of what is and what is not within the scope. The Project Manager should take care not to deliver beyond the scope as this is a common source of delays, overspends and uncontrolled change (’scope creep’) Risk All projects entail risks but exactly how much risk are we prepared to accept? Should we build the house near the site of a disused mine, which may be prone to subsidence? If we decide to go ahead, is there something we can do about the risk? Maybe insure against it or have thorough surveys carried out? Benefits Perhaps most often overlooked is the question, ’Why are we doing this?’ It’s not enough to build the house successfully on time, within budget and to quality specifications if, in the end, we can’t sell or rent it at a profit or live in it happily. The Project Manager has to have a clear understanding of the purpose of the project as an investment and make sure that what the project delivers is consistent with achieving the desired return. PRINCE2 is an integrated framework of processes and themes that addresses the planning, delegation, monitoring and control of all these six aspects of project performance. The structure of PRINCE2 The PRINCE2 method addresses project management with four integrated elements of principles, themes, processes and the project environment 1 The principles These are the guiding obligations and good practices which determine whether the project is genuinely being managed using PRINCE2. There are seven principles and unless all of them are applied, it is not a PRINCE2 project. 2 The themes These describe aspects of project management that must be addressed continually and in parallel throughout the project. The seven themes explain the specific treatment required by PRINCE2 for various project management disciplines and why they are necessary. 3 The processes These describe a step-wise progression through the project lifecycle, from getting started to project closure. Each process provides checklists of recommended activities, products and related responsibilities. 4 Tailoring PRINCE2 to the project environment Need to tailor PRINCE2 to the specific context of the project. PRINCE2 is not a ’one size fits all’ solution; it is a flexible framework that can readily be tailored to any type or size of project. There is a companion guide, Directing Successful Projects with PRINCE2, which addresses the PRINCE2 method from the viewpoint of senior personnel, specifically Project Board members.