We at Röhrich & Partner also use the widespread, process-oriented and freely scalable project management method PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments) as a basis for software development. What makes this project management method special?
PRINCE2 forms a structured framework around the respective development project and gives the members of the development and project management team concrete recommendations for action about each project phase based on the process model. The development and further development of the method is based on best practice. Over the past 15 to 20 years, PRINCE2 has established itself as one of the leading project management methods with over 250,000 certified project managers worldwide.
The advantage of PRINCE2 is the benefit-oriented work and development of software. The method ensures that the project participants concentrate on ensuring that the project remains suitable for the goals of its business case – and do not regard the completion of the project as an end in itself. PRINCE2 delivers highly standardized projects that have a consistent approach, vocabulary, and documents, and ensures a controlled start, progress, and end of the project.
It enables R&P developers to provide methodical support in the implementation of a software project through optimized project management (each development is a “project”). Suitable measures increase the probability that this “project” can be successfully completed and is not one of many failed IT projects, because both the press and recognized studies (MIT, OASIG) report and document the high proportion of failed IT projects that were overrun in terms of deadlines or costs or even cancelled.
Presentation of PRINCE2 project model (Source: Office of Government Commerce (OGC): Managing successful projects with PRINCE2 (Official PRINCE2 publication); The Stationery Office Books)
Working with PRINCE2
Software development at R&P follows a process-based approach according to project management based on PRINCE2. A process is a structured sequence of activities aimed at achieving a specific goal. In a process, a defined input is converted into a defined output. The seven processes in PRINCE2 define the activities necessary for successfully steering, managing and delivering a project:
- Starting up a Project
- Directing a Project
- Initiating a Project
- Controlling a Stage
- Managing Product Delivery
- Managing a Stage Boundary
- Closing a Project
It is important to separate the above-mentioned processes from the project phases. A phase consists of several processes. The process “Preparing a project” is upstream of the project and therefore it does not belong to any phase. A PRINCE2 project must consist of at least two phases: the initiation phase and at least one management phase (execution phase). The initiation phase consists of the processes “initiating a project” and “managing a phase transition”, a management phase consists of the processes “controlling a phase”, “managing product delivery” and “managing a phase transition”. If the management phase is the last one, the “Managing a phase transition” process is replaced by the “Completing a project” process. The “Managing a Project” process refers to the entire duration of the project. Typical management phases of a project can be, for example, a “concept phase” and an “implementation phase”.
What are the basic principles of PRINCE2?
The seven basic principles form the foundation of the PRINCE2 method and must therefore not be changed. They are formulated in general terms and thus enable application in any project in any company – thus they are also valid for software projects at R&P. The application of these 7 basic principles determines whether a project is actually managed according to PRINCE2 or not:
The projects are subdivided into phases and managed analogously (management by stages).
- They must be justified on an ongoing economic basis (according to their usefulness) – at least at the end of each stage.
- Learning from experience (PRINCE2 has been tried and tested in practice for over 25 years).
- There are clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
- Control via management phases. Projects are divided into foreseeable and controllable phases according to PRINCE2. Additional detailed planning is carried out for each phase.
- There is a clear action framework for controlling according to the exception principle (management by exception), so that intervention is only necessary if the measurable tolerances are exceeded.
- Planning is product-oriented, with PRINCE2 focusing on the final results of the projects or phases.
- PRINCE2 should be adapted to the needs of the project according to clear guidelines.
Presentation 7 PRINCE2 basic principles