What is PRINCE2®?
You might probably be thinking that PRINCE2®® is a term that is related to the word ‘prince’. Actually, PRINCE2® is a framework, guideline or methodology for delivering projects. In other words, PRINCE2® is about project management.
What project is about?
The ultimate goal of every organization is to reduce cost and increase revenue. To make this happen, functional units or departments are created e.g. I.T, sales, human resources, marketing, etc. These departments carry out day-to-day activities in order to meet the overall organizational goals. The routine activities are called operations or ‘Business As Usual’ (BAU).
With advances in technology, customers’ buying habits are changing dramatically. To continually meet customers’ expectations, there is a need to make improvements or adjustments. As they say, change is inevitable. This is very true in business, too! The reasons for the change are numerous. Some of them include the need to expand, comply with current government policies, adapt to technology, changing customer requirements, etc.
Therefore, there is a compelling need to move from the usual way of doing business to activities that will bring about change. To implement change within an organization, projects are undertaken. The successful delivery of projects brings about the needed change in an organization. After delivering the project, the organization then goes back to its BAU activities in order to manage and sustain the change.
The importance of projects to organizations cannot be overemphasized. Successful organizations undertake projects on a regular basis to grow and to survive. For instance, global organizations like Apple, Facebook, Google, Alibaba, and Amazon carry out projects to improve their services and products. They do this to satisfy their customers and other relevant stakeholders. Remember, ‘when your customers are happy, your business grows’.
The need for standards
As with most sensitive professions, for example, medicine, law, and accounting, guidelines, and rules on acceptable skills and competencies worthy of the profession are set. For instance, the medical profession has rules and guidelines on how to diagnose and treat a patient.
Without these guidelines or acceptable standards, it becomes difficult for medical doctors to know how to diagnose or treat a patient. The competencies and skill set needed to diagnose and treat a patient are also laid out in the medical professional standards. Standards in any given field are developed in collaboration with professionals who have tried, used and tested different methods. The standards are based on consensus, openness, and due process.
Framework for project management
In the past, many projects have failed. The reason for this was that people used different methods to manage and deliver projects. A lot of these projects were not completed, some overrun their budget while it took ages to complete others. Due to the criticality of projects in organizations, there was a need to develop a project management framework. PRINCE2® was developed in response to failing projects in the United Kingdom. This framework gives professionals a common set of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques in managing and delivering projects.
PRINCE2® as a standard for managing projects
What we now call PRINCE2® today was derived from an earlier method called PROMPTII. PROMPTII is an acronym that means Project Resource Organisation Management Planning Techniques. In the late 1980s, the Central Computer and Telecommunication Agency adopted an updated version of PROMPTII. They called it PRINCE (PROMPT II IN the CCTA Environment).
PRINCE was later renamed PRojects IN Controlled Environments. In 1996, PRINCE2® was released as a generic project management framework. Over the years, there have been a series of updates and the latest version is the PRINCE2® 2017. The PRINCE2® standard or methodology is based on four integrated elements. The elements are principles, themes, processes and project environment. Today, over 150 countries use the methodology. Also, over 1 million professionals are already certified.