The 7 principles every Project Manager must know about PRINCE2
Jennifer Fitzpatrick

The 7 principles every Project Manager must know about PRINCE2

Many business projects can be complex, lengthy affairs that go on for months, taking up a lot of valuable resources. In this instance, an understanding of project management and its methodologies will help business leaders keep things on track, avoiding lengthy and costly delays.

Project management methodologies bring structure and order to proceedings and one of the most recognised in the world today is the PRINCE2 Project Management methodology.

The seven principles of this approach are flexible and can be applied to projects of any size in any industry, and it’s these that we’ll examine today.

1. Continuing business justification

All projects must be justified, not just at inception, but throughout their execution and implementation. This might sound simple in principle, but when you consider the shifting events, markets and management agendas, the reality of justifying a project over the long term becomes a little more challenging.

Benefits and progress must be clearly defined throughout a project’s lifecycle by guiding a committee to ensure sustained involvement and buy-in from corporate sponsors and stakeholders.

2. Learning from previous projects


All project planning should begin by clearly examining the outcomes of previous projects. This will highlight potential areas of difficulty and help set realistic timescales, assess risk and avoid the mistakes of the past projects. Therefore you should keep a log throughout and beyond the life of the project. This creates an environment of consistent risk assessment and analysis.

3. Clear roles and responsibilities

It’s vital that roles and responsibilities are set out in a clearly defined hierarchy from the beginning of the project. This ensures a clearer understanding of roles so that there are no gaps or overlaps in day to day project work and that everyone understands who they are reporting to.

4. Manage in stages

Projects are better understood and managed if they are broken down into clearly defined stages, which should be laid out in the planning process. These will come together to create a roadmap, giving the PM a high level overview of the project’s progress and future direction.

5. Manage by exception

One of the founding principles of PRINCE2 is the idea of management by exception. This ensures that interference from senior management is only necessary if the situation demands it. If everyone on the project team knows what they are doing and the project is properly planned, then everyone can get on with their job without the need for regular interference and inevitable ‘micromanagement’.

6. Product focus

A ‘product’ in project management terms refers to the end result compared to the work itself. With that in mind, project management should be product, not work focused. With this in mind, products should be clearly defined by their purpose, quality, format and composition and the project should be focused on delivering the product to clearly defined quality criteria.

7. Tailor to your specific environment

A defining feature of the PRINCE2 methodology is that it is flexible in its approach. While all projects should learn from past projects, there also needs to be an appreciation of the unique environment of each project therefore enabling you to build around the specific requirements of that project.

If you wish to know more about PRINCE2, contact any member of the SureSkills Training and Certification team to enroll in one of our PRINCE2 courses.

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