PRINCE2 Process Model

PRINCE2 is a process-based approach for project management; providing a scalable and easily tailored methodology for the management of large and small projects.

Each process of a PRINCE2 project is defined with its key inputs and outputs together with the specific aims to be achieved and activities to be undertaken.

The  following diagram and explanations of the PRINCE2 processes will help you when managing projects with PRINCE2.

PRINCE2 Process Model

Starting up a Project (SU)

The Starting up a Project process is designed to ask the question “do we have a viable and worthwhile project?” – thus meeting the pre-requisites for Initiating a Project.

This process is triggered by a mandate and is designed to establish the following:

  • A business justification for initiating the project (documented in an outline Business Case)
  • Sufficient information is available to define and confirm the scope of the project (in the form of a Project Brief)
  • All the necessary authorities exist for initiating the project
  • The various ways the project can be delivered are evaluated and a project approach selected
  • The work required for project initiation is planned (documented in a Stage Plan)
  • Individuals are appointed who will undertake the work required in project initiation and/or will take significant project management roles in the project
  • Time is not wasted initiating a project based on unsound assumptions regarding the project’s scope, timescales, acceptance criteria and constraints.

Directing a Project (DP)

The Directing a Project process enables the Project Board to be accountable for the success of a project; empowering them to make key decisions and exercise overall control, while delegating day-to-day management of the project to the Project Manager.

The objective of the Directing a Project process is to make sure that:

  • There is authority to initiate the project
  • Management direction and control are provided throughout the project’s life, and that the project remains viable
  • There is authority to deliver the project’s products
  • Corporate or programme management has an interface to the project
  • There is authority to close the project
  • Plans for realising the post-project benefits are managed and reviewed.

The Directing a Project process begins on completion of the Starting up a Project process and is triggered by the request to initiate a project.

Initiating a Project (IP)

The Initiating a Project process will establish solid foundations for the project, allowing the organisation to understand the work that needs to be done to deliver the project’s products before committing to a significant spend.

The objective of the Initiating a Project process is to make sure that there is a common understanding of:

  • The reasons for doing the project, the benefits expected and the associated risks
  • The scope of what is to be done and the products to be delivered
  • Who is to be involved in the project decision making
  • How and when the project’s products will be delivered and at what cost
  • How baselines will be established and controlled
  • How the quality required will be achieved
  • How risks, issues and changes will be identified, assessed and controlled
  • Who needs information, in what format, and at what time
  • How progress will be monitored and controlled

Managing a Stage Boundary (SB)

The Managing a Stage Boundary process is designed to enable the Project Board to be given enough information by the Project Manager so that it can assess the success of the current stage, approve the next Stage Plan, assess the updated Project Plan, and confirm ongoing business justification and acceptability of the risks. Therefore, the process should be executed at, or near to the end of, each management stage.

The objectives of the Managing a Stage Boundary process are to:

  • Assure the Project Board that all products in the Stage Plan for the current stage have been completed and approved
  • Review and, if necessary, update the Project Initiation Documentation (in particular the Business Case, Project Plan, project approach, strategies, project management team structure and role descriptions)
  • Prepare the Stage Plan for the next stage
  • Record any information or lessons that can help later stages of this project and/or other projects
  • Provide the information needed for the Project Board to assess the continuing viability of the project – including the aggregated risk exposure
  • Request authorization to start the next stage

Controlling a Stage (CS)

The objectives of the Controlling a Stage process are to:

  • Assign work to be done
  • Monitor such work
  • Deal with issues
  • Report progress to the Project Board
  • Take corrective actions to make sure that the stage remains within tolerance.

For each stage, the following cycle of activities will be covered:

  • Authorise a Work Package
  • Receive completed Work Packages
  • Review Work Package status
  • Review the stage status
  • Report highlights
  • Capture and examine issues and risks
  • Escalate issues and risks
  • Take correction action

The continued assessment of risk and issues during this process is important.

Managing Product Delivery (MP)

The Managing Product Delivery process is designed to control the link between the Project Manager and the Team Manager(s), by putting formal requirements on accepting, executing and delivering project work.

The Team Manager’s role is to coordinate an area of work that will deliver one or more of the project’s products. They can be internal or external to the customer’s organization.

The objective of the Managing Product Delivery process is to ensure that:

  • Team Managers, team members and suppliers are clear as to what is to be produced as well as the expected effort, cost or timescales
  • Work on products allocated to the team is authorized and agreed
  • Accurate progress information is provided to the Project Manager at an agreed frequency to ensure that expectations are managed.
  • The planned products are delivered to expectations and within tolerance


Closing a Project (CP)

The Closing a Project process is designed to provide a fixed point at which acceptance for the project product is confirmed, and to recognise that objectives set out in the original Project Initiation Documentation have been achieved (or approved changes to the objectives have been achieved), or that the project has nothing else to contribute.

The objective of the Closing a Project process is to:

  • Verify user acceptance of the project’s products
  • Ensure that the host site is able to support the products when the project is disbanded
  • Assess any benefits that have already been realized, update the forecast of the remaining benefits, and plan for a review of those unrealized benefits
  • Ensure that provision has been made to address all open issues and risks, with follow-on action recommendations.
  • Review the performance of the project against its baselines

Please see the PRINCE2 download centre for many more useful PRINCE2 resources.

Similar posts you may like:

  1. Take a closer look at the PRINCE2® Processes
  2. PRINCE2 Crossword Revision
  3. Video: PRINCE2 The 7 Key Processes
  4. How to Close a Project in PRINCE2
  5. A PRINCE2 Management Team Structure

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Andy Trainer

Andy is a Training Manager at Silicon Beach Training who enjoys writing about Project Management & Leadership. Follow Andy on Google+, Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn.

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