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This is an essay that talks about the software project management methodology using Prince2. We will discuss about the demerits and merits of Prince2 methodology in project management and its related type of application.
The practice of using a chosen process technique in software engineering field is to improve the effectiveness of a software development effort. Based on the assumption, subject to never ending debate and supported by experience that a methodical approach to project management results in fewer mistakes and therefore, assures a shorter delivery time and better value. "The documented collection of polices, process and procedures used by a development team or organization to practice software engineering is called software methodology".
There are many different types of project methodologies and techniques around the globe. Discussing all types of methodologies would seem an impossible task. The aim is to project and select the most commonly and frequently used methodology in project management. The factors that led to the methodology discussed (Prince2) in this essay were based on the availability of reasonable amount of information and resources.
PRINCE 2 METHODOLOGY
Projects in Controlled Environment (PRINCE) is a project management methodology that involves the organizing, management and control of projects. Prince2 is a procedural based structure for project management, achieving a smooth tailored and scalable project management methodology for the management of all types of projects. The use of prince2 as a method in project management in the United Kingdom is regarded as the de-facto standard and it is practiced worldwide.
Prince was launched in 1989 by CCTA (Central Computer and telecommunication Agency) since renamed the OGC (the Office of Government Commerce). Prince was derived from PROMPT a project management methodology developed by simpact systems ltd in 1975. Prompt was the methodological principle to be used by the CCTA in 1979 for all government information systems project. Prince was launched in 1989 it competently replaced prompt within government projects. Prince and its copyright are retained by the crown.
Prince2 was published in 1976, having been contributed by an association of some 150 European organizations. Prince2 is a project management method which has grown to be the most widely used methods for managing projects, from small to large sized projects. This is largely to the fact that Prince2 is completely generic in nature; it can be applied on any project irrespective of the nature of the project, organization, scale of project, type of project, geography or culture.
Prince2 is usually based on roles rather than jobs that are been carried out in a project. In regards to circumstances a role could in fact be carried out by more than one person or a single person can carry out more than one role. Prince2 is based on the assumption that a project will involve users of the product of the project, and suppliers of goods and services needed by the project.
STRUCTURE OF PRINCE2
Prince2 method provides project management with four elements of principles, themes, processes and project environment.
The Principles: These are the factors in Prince2 that determine whether the project is genuinely being managed using prince2 guidelines and practices. There are seven different principles unless all principles are being applied then it is not to be regarded as a prince2 project.
Seven Principles of Prince2:
Continued business justification: this is when a project has a continued business justification for project to start, the reasons remains valid throughout the life cycle of the project and every justification is rigorously documented and approved. In prince2 documentation is done in the business case, implementing decision making and make certain the project stays in line with business objectives and benefits.
Learn from experience: In Prince2 project team members are expected to learn from past project experience. Lessons learned are sought, recorded and implemented through the project life cycle. Lessons are used in past projects to learn from others and better the way projects are carried out or done. Lessons are usually recorded or documented in the lesson log and it becomes the details of the lesson report drafted by the project manager at the end of each stage and overall project.
Defined roles and responsibilities: Prince2 is usually based on roles rather than jobs that are been carried out in a project. In regards to circumstances a role could in fact be carried out by more than one person or a single person could carry out more than one role. Prince2 is based on the assumption that a project will involve users of the product of the project, and suppliers of goods and services needed by the project.
Mange by stages: Prince2 projects are planned in stages of management that involves the creation of control points throughout the project. This method of approach provides an environment where by projects can be watched carefully and overseen on a stage by stage basis. At the end of each management stage, the project would have to go under review to see whether it will deliver its business case. This is carried out by using two types of planning, rolling wave planning and a detailed stage plan where work is being performed during a project life cycle.
Manage by exception: Prince2 projects define time, cost, quality, scope, risk and benefits to provide limitation of assigned authority over the levels of management. This influences a clear defined accountability and decision making and ensures the implementation of the concept of management by exception. If these problems are exceeded or predicted to be exceeded, they must be extended to the next level of management for a decision on how to proceed in the ongoing project.
Focus on Products: Prince2 focuses on describing and bringing to successful products that meet their stated business objectives in a project. This contains the finished product of the project as well as other important management and significant products produced across the project life cycle. The "output oriented" structure to projects results in defining a group of agreed upon and also planning the work to accomplish them. By using the product based planning techniques and product description; this can be largely achieved in a project life cycle.
Project environment: Prince2 should be aligned to function for the projects environment, importance, complexity, size, capabilities and risk. It is of great importance not to remove any element when tailoring the prince2 method since they are interrelated. The idea or primary objective is to adapt the functions for your organization and project environment.
The themes: This is an aspect prince2 method of project management that must be addressed on continuous bases and in parallel throughout the project life cycle. There are seven different themes in prince2; which are Business case, organization, quality, plans, risks, change, and progress. They explain the specific treatment required by prince2 on different kind of project management fields and why they are necessary. I will briefly explain each of the seven themes available in prince2.
Business case: This is an established mechanism to judge whether the project is needed, useful and achievable as a means to support decision making in its continued investment.
Organization: Prince2 focuses on the project structure of which accountability and responsibilities are of great importance to the project.
Quality: it focuses on the level at which the project will create and verify that the products are fit for its purpose.
Plans: Prince2 method in project management is basically a plan which ensures that a project is completed on time and on budget. With this in the minds of project managers using the prince2 methodology in project management, a project plan must be in place to facilitate communication and control to define the means of delivering the product within a specified period of time.
Risk: Risk in a way is inevitable within a project life cycle. Prince2 provides a means whereby it identifies, accesses and control any uncertainty in a project and as result improve the ability of the project succeed.
Change: Prince2 ensures that it identifies and control potential and accepted changes to the objectives of a project.
Progress: Prince2 method provides project managers with a structure to monitor and evaluate actual progress with detailed plans in order to provide a reasonable forecast for the project objectives.
The Process: Prince2 is a process based approach that describes a progression through the project life cycle. Each process is described with its unique, important key inputs and outputs combined with the objectives attained and functions to be carried out in a project. The methodology defines how a project is separated //sub manageable levels enabling effective control of resources and frequent progress monitoring the project. Each process in a project ensures that check listed documents are made to keep records of recommended activities, products and related responsibilities in its life cycle.
Prince2 Lays out eight processes that entailed to successfully carry out a project. These are; starting up a project, directing a project, controlling a stage, managing stage boundaries, planning, managing project delivery and closing a project.
Starting a project: This is a process that ensures a project has a very understandable beginning, this process happens even before the project starts off. Decision makers come together to appoint a project manager who will carry out the task of managing the project in a very competent way. Both decision makers and the project manager will come together and discuss the project's objectives and planning, they will arrive at a decision on how the project will be implemented. All necessary information will be combined together in a project brief.
Initiating a Project: Before a project can be approved by the project board, and it must be thoroughly planned to certify that the project meets its objectives of the business case. Detailed estimations of cost, required time and other important resources have to be made available and these are fixed together by the project manager into a project initiation document for necessary approval by the project board.
Directing a project: After concluding on the project brief and the project initiation document (PID) they have to be attached together in order to for it to be approved by a group of senior managers also known as the project board (PB). The project manager has the day to day responsibility of ensuring that every step that is needed to be taken is accomplished on time and within budget to meet the objectives of the project. The project board members are responsible for the overall success of the project. Example: providing the necessary funding for a project.
Controlling a stage: Prince2 provides an environment, where by projects are divided into stages to provide a well managed and controlled project for managers. The numbers of stages used will determine the project size and as well the level of risk involved. Each stage must be completed before embarking on a new stage. During the process of a stage the next one is usually planned before it starts. The project board approves the stage plan which helps make secure that the project meets its target objectives and within budget.
Managing stage Boundaries: This is a process that involves planning the next stage and also involves analyzing the active stage. A project with understandable stage boundaries is usually controlled and managed efficiently by project managers.
Key Concepts of prince2
Control: for a project manager to be able to manage and control its project efficiently is usually the key to its success. Pricnce2 breakdown projects to manageable stages to guarantee easy control of project by project managers.
Quality: Attaining a good quality product to meet the customer's quality expectation is of great necessity to any project. This is usually agreed upon by the project board and project manager during the planning of the project.
Planning: In Prince2 planning starts at the beginning of a project and it spans through the life cycle of every prince2 processes until the closing of the project.
ADVANTAGES OF PRINCE2
Prince2 is widely recognize across the globe and easily understood by its users by providing a common language for participants in a project.
Prince2 provides an environment for managers to effectively control and organize projects from start to finish. Prince2 provides a flexible decision points.
Reviews are carried out on the progress of a plan and on the project business case. Also, prince2 provides good communication between all participants of a project from the project management to the rest of the organization.
DISADVANTAGES OF PRINCE2
With PRINCE2 every participant in a project should be familiar with how prince2 works in order to be efficient in implementing its process. It's very often not the case, because it is very expensive to provide each individual in the project a course to study PRINCE2.
Dividing PRINCE2 project into stages results in a lack of the project knowledge by the project manager.
In this essay document I have concisely reviewed a well known project methodology known as PRINCE2. Perhaps the most widely used methodology in the United Kingdom and across the world. I observed that PRINCE2 is very generic in nature and that it can be applied to any type of project from small to large size projects. It provides an environment for managers to control and organize projects in an efficient manner from the beginning of a project to its end. There are some disadvantages associated with PRINCE2 which was earlier highlighted in this essay but irrespective of its few shortcomings, prince2 remains one of the best options for any organization to implement in their projects.