Living happily ever after with Prince2


This year for Christmas, everyone should get the gift of open mindedness!

Last month I met Prince2. While it may not be as electrifying (although it’s certainly as eccentric) as the singer or as handsome as Harry, this methodology is filled with helpful utilities and reminders. And, much to my surprise, Prince2 carried core values which alternative agile methodologies also hold close.

With no previous exposure to this methodology, I had turned up to the course with preconceptions about this project management approach and an assumption it was better suited for projects run using Waterfall. I had questioned what I needed to learn about this when I’m working in a flourishing digital agency which, although not truly agile, uses many elements of agile for the craft and delivery of its projects.
Having already acquired my certified Scrum Master 12 months prior, I had therefore assumed my attendance to the course was for comparative reasons, i.e. how not to run projects. Turns out I couldn’t have been any more wrong! Newsflash for those not familiar with the methodology (and as I have already alluded to above); Prince2 is agile!

During the course, there was loads of material to cover and take in. Prince2 has plenty of process to follow and what appears at first to be a scary amount of documentation and administration, with the project brief (including PID), business case, risk register, quality register, issue register, lesson logs and daily logs to constantly keep up to date. Without delving in too deep – as this is more about sharing my Ebenezer Scrooge epiphany than the actual process – my key learning from Prince2 was you can tailor it to suit your project needs.

The one thing that Prince2 asks of you is to stick to its seven principles which are:

  • Continued business justification
  • Manage by exception
  • Learn from experience
  • Defined roles and responsibilities
  • Manage by stages
  • Focus on products
  • Tailoring

Nothing alien. No rocket science. Just a set of core foundations and values that projects should already adhere to. Why wouldn’t you continually revert back to the objectives to ensure the project is still worthwhile? What would the point of retrospectives be if you didn’t learn from them? Managing by stages –isn’t this just another way of saying ‘managing by sprints’?

The great thing about tailoring is it has no limits; it wouldn’t stop us from using multiple methods to run a project so those wishing to apply Scrum to their stages are empowered to do so.

The main issue that I had with the delivery of the course was its heightened relevance for Prince’s use client side, rather than agency. If we are to look at it from that perspective, an agencies roll would fall under the ‘supplier’. Traditionally a supplier would not be the one to prompt project start-up, though those working for agencies know that we too have the knowledge on our clients’ platforms and businesses to propose a case for the mandate and project brief.

This however does not mean that we cannot take elements of Prince’s structure and align it with roles and responsibilities within an agency environment. I have tried to illustrate how it is still applicable below…


Either way, despite the methodology you use or any preconceived opinions you have on others, I recommend you keep an open mind. All project managers can comprehend the importance of adaptation and learning from experience and how fundamental these can be in helping to create a successful project environment. Even if you are to just take one learning forward from new methodologies it might have a positive impact on your next project. If not you can learn from it – and Prince2 has lesson logs to document this.

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  1. Sam

    Very well said! I always give a disappointed laugh when someone says something negative about Prince2, because they’re so brainwashed by Agile that they automatically assume Prince2 is Waterfall, and therefore the devil. I’ve completed Prince2 and agree taking bits of it and applying it to an Agile way of working is a great combination. If people had more of an open mind to different methods, maybe they’d have more successful projects!

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