Is my Prince now a frog?

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frog-prince2v2Is PRINCE2 still relevant in an agile world? Or like in the fairy-tale, has it lost its relevance and changed into a frog? Well, no… it is still very relevant for two reasons:

  • Certain projects do not require an agile approach
  • Certain projects prefer a blended (waterfall and agile) approach. It was seen in my last post that the term Water-Scrum-Fall has been termed to indicate that the market currently seems to prefer ( or pragmatically accept) such a blended approach.

PRINCE2 is not the only option when considering a traditional methodology but it is a popular one and one that blends in well with new Agile project methodologies such as the Agile project management framework  which is derived from DSDM.

PRINCE2 Structured Project Management

PRINCE2 is a formal, structured approach to project management. It recognises that there are three major levels of activities:

  • Direction (Management Sponsorhip)
  • Management (Project management)
  • Delivery (Solution development and delivery)

The major focus of PRINCE 2 is in management and direction. Delivery it treats as a black box because it may be internal or external. Prince2 does not dictate how delivery is  done but it does state the expected communication and deliverables.

A PRINCE2 project looks like the following:

Prince2-Process-Trans

In fact, the 2009 revision to PRINCE2 reiterated its underlying simplicity by recognising explicitly seven principles:

  • There is continued business justification for a project (or you should stop!).
  • There are defined roles & responsibilities (everyone knows what they should – and should not – be doing).
  • Manage projects by stages (bite-sized chunks are easier to track).
  • Manage by exception (don’t micromanage or meddle when things are going fine).
  • Focus on products when you plan (think things you can measure and tick off a list, not open-ended tasks).
  • Tailor the process to a project’s size, complexity etc.
  • Learn from experience! If that didn’t work last time, change it!

It doesn’t say anything about how you should build your products.The only things PRINCE2 says about making things is the following:

  • focus on products when you plan;
  • break down complicated products into smaller ones, until each unit needs around 5-10 days’ effort to build;
  • factor quality procedures into your building process;
  • have a mechanism to hand a product-to-be-built over to the technical team – a spec of some kind (PRINCE2 calls this a “workpackage”) – and a way to sign off built products that come back.

PRINCE2 and Agile as a Blended Approach

PRINCE2 can be used to manage the project and Agile  methods can be used to deliver the solution. The two methods are entirely complementary; they touch only in the definition of what constitutes a “workpackage” – and they even agree on how big that should be!

Project-Mgt-Frameworks3

 

A paper on integrating  DSDM and PRINCE2 is on the DSDM website. Another option is to use PRINCE2 for direction and use an agile Project management methodology  and solution delivery. Agile Project Management is an initiative which extracts the Project Management elements of DSDM Atern and makes them available as Agile Project Management – a certified approach in its own right. This can then be combined with popular Agile solution delivery approaches such as Scrum and XP. This is detailed in this Agile Proect Framework for Scrum document.

What about “Just Agile please”?

In some cases the requirement may be to go completely Agile. This is possible as long as the direction provided is agreed and sufficient for the company leaderhip.  Agile Project Management derived from DSDM (Shown in next 2 diagrams) or Disciplined Agile Delivery  (Shown in bottom diagram )may be used.

DSDM-Artefacts

 

Journey-so-far,-1-project-f

 

disciplined-agile-delivery

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