I am studying for Prince2 foundation exam and it is very obvious that Prince2 is expected to be introduced from the top down. The embedding – which means introducing Prince2 into an organization – talks about securing executive commitment, building high level strategies and other nonsense high-commitment steps. And the corresponding templates are all overwrought, with actual content appearing somewhere towards page 3 or 4 only.
My view on project management is quite different. In a small organization, projects are often unmanaged in any real sense of the word. However that has a price that those projects then can cause sudden unexpected problem and have to be dealt with.
I feel that this is basically choosing a price to pay. It can be paid early in project management overhead, or later, through overpaid consultants, failed projects and/or burned out people who suddenly have to deal with unexpected consequences.
The problem however is that management often does not experience the pain directly and therefore does not feel the pressing need to invest in deliberate, planned Prince2 embedding process. After all, if they already were effective in coordinating efforts to achieve results, why would they need Prince2?
So, what I feel is needed in those situations is a lightweight, gradual rollout of Prince2 that can be done by the person actually doing project management and therefore interested in reducing risk, improving processes and reducing possibility of project failure for which they will be blamed. Not very Prince2 of course to blame PM, it should be The Executive’s fault, but go tell that to the Executive.
Yet, the gradual rollout – by stealth – would require a very different set of strategies that Prince2 manuals seem to cover. I would have expected to see discussion points such as:
- most bang for the back,
- starting with daily log,
- are we there yet,
- the simplest Project Initiation Document, and
- 10 Prince2 questions to ask at the start of the project, without being obvious
Some of this is covered by other project management books, but, given the popularity of Prince2, it would have been useful to have some specifically tailored for that methodology and cycle definition.