If you happen to have a familiarity with the Prince2 system, you will already be aware that there are 7 processes involved in Prince2 training and activities. Furthermore, you can divide these into several dozen more activities. I counted all of them up just the other day and came up with more than 40. If you’re going to do Prince2, you need to learn to do it well, which is what led me to think of what I would do if there were only 5 activities I had to choose from. Here are the ones I would choose to help me manage a difficult project with the least amount of difficulty. It was harder than I thought it would be, but the basics should apply to any situation.
1. Chose a Project Manager and an Executive
The first choice is probably the one that will find the least amount of disagreement. The Prince2 manual states that you need a decision maker who has the right kind of authority to get things done in projects. From that point, the manual then notes that when you hire or appoint a project manager, you can then manage the project from one day to the next for the executive.
As noted, this is probably the choice that the fewest people will disagree with. However, it is worrying to think of the number of project managers out there might try to use Prince2 without the proper training or project executive. Similarly, there might be some out there working without project executives who fully understand their roles and how to discharge them.
2. Update your Business Case
Some people might think of this choice as cheating. After all, they might ask how a business case might be updated if it was not prepared through outline or refund. However, it’s important to properly focus on the business case during the work itself instead of to try to focus on it at the start of a project and then leave it alone and keep going without it.
No matter which activities you think are most important for your own five, it’s still important to address business. After all, projects are for delivering projects in agreement with agreed business cases.
3. Look towards Next Stage
Planning the stage to come is essential in Prince2, as it means more than making the next stage’s stage plan. It also means looking over any changes that the customer might have in expectations, project approaches, or acceptance criteria. It also means looking over strategies and controls to make sure they remain relevant and suitable to the task at hand. And of course, it also means looking over any modifications made to the project management team or to the descriptions of their roles.
Any Prince2 sticklers reviewing this list might note that these elements have not yet been created. However, the point that was made earlier regarding the business case is still true in this case: it is better to get these things done late than not to do them at all.
Another advantage of planning the next stage is that it allows one to use the planning technique based on the product, and this is where the real work of planning takes place. This is also where the team starts to understand what they need to do to make things turn out well.
4. Review the Status of your Stage
While the process of controlling a stage might have 8 separate activities making it up, reviewing the stage status is probably the most important of all of these put together.
A review of the name of the activity reveals the objective, which is to keep an up to date and accurate snapshot of progress on whatever work is being done, as well as a picture of what the resources look like. If one is interested in looking into the process at a deeper level, the Prince2 manual suggests a wide range of actions that can be used to create the picture in question. The analysis of these actions helps one decide if it is necessary to perform any actions.
5. Provide ad-hoc Directions
Finally, there isn’t really a point in having someone in charge of the project if they aren’t engaged, which is why directions are key. According to the Prince2 manual, ad-hoc direction might be necessary in a variety of situations, including when there is a need to respond to requests. For example, one might need to clarify options that are available or clarify conflicts ongoing during the project. Similarly, there will often be a need to respond to any reports that are generated. Finally, there will always be a need for someone to respond to influences that are placed on the project from the outside world in a timely manner.