One of the common misconceptions about PRINCE2 is that its only useful for huge organisations running massive projects. However it’s wrong to think that PRINCE2 can’t be applied to smaller projects.
One of the key things to remember about PRINCE2 is that it is a toolkit. You don’t have to apply all of it all of the time – you can adapt PRINCE2 to the needs of your project (rather than the other way round!)
In this post we’ve provided a short checklist of things that you should think about in relation to the PRINCE2 processes and themes before you start your small project, to consider how they can be applied and adapted.
Using PRINCE2 in Small Projects – Tips
OK – first up – how small is ‘small’. If this is something that is going to take a couple of people a couple of days then you haven’t really got a project!
However if its something that you need to make a business case for, and you think you will need to identify particular roles and responsibilities for project team members then you DO have a project and can certainly apply aspects of PRINCE2 to it.
The PRINCE2 Organisation Theme sets out the authorities and responsibilities in the project. Have a look at these and see how they can apply to your small project. Do some of these need to overlap? E.g the Senior User (who provides project resources & funding) might also be the Project Manager. That’s not PRINCE2 ‘by-the-book’, but you can use your common sense and as long as you’re confident the right decisions that’s fine.
PRINCE2 Processes and Stages
In small projects, the PRINCE2 processes can be a little more flexible than for large projects – and sometimes these can be combined where sensible. For instance the Start-Up process can be combined with Initiation.
If there’s one golden piece of advice it is never to leave out the initiation stage. It might not take very long (possible only an hour or so), but without it you can’t be sure that your stakeholders are all in agreement on the requirements, scope & benefits of the project, and roles, timings and costings will be unclear.
Project Plan & Stage Plans
It’s also important to agree project tolerances whatever the size of your project.
In order to get the information needed to define these you need a Project Plan. However – if you only have one development stage in your project you can combine your Project Plan with your Stage Plan
Risk & Change
There are always risks and the potential for changes, even in the smallest of projects. As a minimum, think about the potential risks before you start and monitor them throughout – and make sure you have a procedure in place for dealing with changes before they occur.
This is a part of PRINCE2 which many people don’t like and can seem unnecessarily bureaucratic. The key thing to think about here is “am I going to have more than one version of my product (or more than one product)?” If the answer is yes then you need configuration management, and you need to link it in with your change control activities and make someone responsible for that.
Always important – but use your common sense.
- If you only have one project stage, you don’t need an End Stage report.
- If you only have one team in your project, you don’t need Checkpoint Reports.
- If the project is very short – you probably don’t need Highlight reports
If you think about all of the above before you start running your project, you will find that you can apply PRINCE2 to it effectively.
Similar posts you may like:
- When to be Flexible in PRINCE2 Project Management
- How to Avoid Project Management Failure
- PRINCE2 Crossword Revision
- A PRINCE2 Management Team Structure
- Adapting PRINCE2