Project management techniques such as PRINCE2 are based on careful planning and tight control. There is also the fundamental acceptance that plans will need to be changed as the project progresses – if this sounds confusing then learning PRINCE2 techniques will let you know when and how to adapt the project.
For example, you will usually set flexible decision points for each stage where progress is reviewed against the business case. What I want to discuss today is the scope for flexibility beyond these points.
It’s true that PRINCE2 is a structured methodology, but this should not mean sticking to procedure when a common sense approach may be more appropriate. It can be tempting to measure PM success as how closely you stuck to the framework, but the most important thing is that the job is done well, not that the job is done by applying the PRINCE2 formula to the letter.
The best project managers can apply their training to real-life scenarios – when things never quite go the same as they do on paper! Sometimes you need to make business decisions on a gut feeling. A great PM is not a robot – you are hired for your personality and experience, which make your decisions valid.
Here are our top insights for understanding the role of flexibility in PRINCE2:
PRINCE2 is a flexible methodology. This means that, when implementing it within an organisation, you can choose which parts of the process are most suitable. If you have a firmly established PRINCE2 set-up, and you find you often make the same changes to the process, consider adapting the way you implemented PRINCE2 in the first place. That will increase your chances of being able to stick to one project plan and structure.
Similarly, if you are trying to use the same process for projects that differ greatly in scale, you should seriously consider applying PRINCE2 in different ways for different size projects. Practitioners should certainly have the capability of adapting the PRINCE2 methodology in this way. Here are our tips on using PRINCE2 in small projects.
Plans can – and should – change
As mentioned above, planning documents within the PRINCE2 process are designed and written in a way that makes them easy to refer to and update as you go along. Don’t ever be precious about sticking to a plan, no matter how well designed it was in theory. Accept the change as a natural part of a project and follow the right procedure to get things back on track, i.e. re-plan from the end point back to the current status.
Write the right reports
When you have to change your plans or team structure in project management, of course you’ll have to feed this back to the Project Board. Never be tempted to hide anything, just structure your reports to make it work in the PRINCE2 framework.
Don’t be too flexible!
I’ve already mentioned the importance of getting the right balance between following the PRINCE2 framework and using common sense. The balance between maintaining procedure and getting the work done has to be right!
If and when you decide to do something outside the box, make sure the rest of the project team is aware of the change, and that there is consensus on the need for flexibility. Once you’ve bent the rules, don’t keep going! You’ve learned PRINCE2 for a reason – it’s proven to work – so stick to it as much as you possible can!
Similar posts you may like:
- Using PRINCE2 in Small Projects
- How to Avoid Project Management Failure
- Adapting PRINCE2
- Video – The future of PRINCE2 training
- Explaining Projects to Stakeholders – 5 Tips