Implementing PRINCE2 in the organization – strategies for success

"Embedding" PRINCE2 in an organization is a Change Project. This requires tailoring to the organization's business and ongoing quality review and improvement.

My PMs are all PRINCE2 certified…

So now you have a bunch of PRINCE2 certified PMs. Having PRINCE2 "embedded" in the organization needs more. Embedding P2 is a culture change requiring tailoring P2 to fit the organization but without compromising the methodology and process. Tailoring does not mean cutting bits out. The organization also needs to change. If it is already a 9001 certified organization then P2 should slot right in. Embedding P2 should be run as a P2 project itself, with the CEO as at least the sponsor if not the Project Executive

What is so special about PRINCE2?

Nothing really. It is best practice developed and refined. Giving it a name, originally PRINCE, and adopting it by the UK Government gave it some status. Making it compulsory for all public sector IT projects initially meant that it gathered momentum quickly so early adoption created good feedback, and proven benefits, the method was enhanced and developed further to cover all project categories. Later it became compulsory for companies over a certain size bidding for public sector projects. PRINCE2 was born in 1995 and is free to use for any organization. Buy the “Dummies guide” and learn it from that. Being certified though is a worthwhile step.

Why do organisations embed PRINCE2?

There a number of reasons:
  • PRINCE2 is ISO compliant in its core principles and themes so if an organization is committed to best practice and process improvement, maybe ISO9001 certified, then PRINCE2 makes a lot of sense. It integrates nicely into “Business as Usual”, is auditable, and the transition to operations is much smoother.
  • Companies wanting to bid for public sector projects are obliged to manage them with PRINCE2 and that will be in their contract. The customer has the right to audit them to ensure they comply.
Public sector bodies in several countries are obliged to use the method for any project over a stated value. UK National Health Service, UK Local Authorities, Universities etc. Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, many European countries. Why? Well they are spending taxpayers money and they are looking for best practice in preventing bad projects starting and quickly identifying those which have started but are not going to deliver. They are subject to severe audits and PRINCE2 process meets those needs with ease.

Which organizations implement PRINCE2?

There are 3 main types of PRINCE2 organizations.
  1. Those who are committed to quality management principles and best practice and carefully planned a PRINCE2 project to implement the method across their enterprise.
  2. Those organisations who were obliged, reluctantly, in order to win public sector bids.
  3. Those who adopted it unofficially without total commitment and left it “optional” so it became a bureaucratic process with no real value.
The last we commonly call PINO, or PRINCE2 In Name Only! PRINCE2, like ISO has to deliver value.

Some of the mistakes organizations make.

  1. Just expecting the PMs to get on with it with no structure and no process change
  2. Picking up P2 as "the method" but ignoring, or just playing lip service to, the DIRECTING A PROJECT process.
  3. Issuing a scheduling tool, like Microsoft Project, and just feeding the P2 process into it as a series of tasks and milestones. Microsoft Project is one of the finest and, probably the best selling, general scheduling system on the planet - but that is what it is, a scheduling tool.
There are several systems on the market which focus on the PRINCE2 method. You will notice that they keep the process separate from the scheduling application. E.G. Project-In-A-Box where the process is laid out in a graphic format. The "Project Controls" are separate documents - RISK - ISSUES - SCHEDULE

What are the essential criteria for a successful implementation of PRINCE2?