Chapter 2 - Project Life Cycle and Organization
2.1.1 Characteristics of the Project Life Cycle
Both The Guide and PRINCE2 agree that a feasibility study is normally best treated as a separate project. The Guide still leans towards its phases being linked to technical activities, whereas PRINCE2 insists that the breakdown of a project into stages is based purely on management decision concerns. These include issues such as risk, major commitments and the continuing viability of the Business Case. The Guide suggests that phases may overlap - for example, when using the development techniques of fast-tracking and iterative life cycles in software development. It does, however, now include a link between phases and deliverables, and takes a similar line to PRINCE2 that a phase will normally have a management review at its end to decide whether the project should continue. In PRINCE2 its stages do not overlap and always end in an end stage assessment where the Project Board decides whether to continue or not.
2.1.3 Project Life Cycle and Product Life Cycle Relationships
PRINCE2 and The Guide share the idea that the project life cycle forms part of the product life cycle, although this is more simply explained in PRINCE2. The Guide's explanation is a little confusing, ending as it does with the statement:
"The driving forces that create the stimuli for a project are typically referred to as problems, opportunities or business requirements. The effect of these pressures is that management generally must prioritize this request with respect to the needs and resource demands of other potential projects."
How this relates to the relationship between a project life cycle and the life cycle of its product is not clear.
2.2 Project Stakeholders
Both documents share the same idea of stakeholders. The Guide supplies many examples of stakeholders and says how important it is to identify them and keep them involved. PRINCE2 defines how, when and what to communicate to stakeholders, including their requirements in the Communication Plan.
2.3.2-3 Organizational Cultures and Structures
The Guide provides a reasonable discussion on matrix organizations (companies organized by function) as opposed to those organized by project. But having discussed the subject, no recommendations are made on how project management can overcome any difficulties with the former.
2.3.4 The Role of the PMO in Organizational Structures
This section begins with a repetition of what was said earlier about the role of the PMO, but then makes statements that put it on a different track from PRINCE2. The Guide talks of a PMO possibly delegating its authority to the Project Manager, plus a Project Manager receiving administrative support from the PMO, either through shared staff or through a dedicated staff member. Project team members might be either dedicated to the project or shared with other projects, in which case they would be managed by the PMO. We then have a repetition of the statement that the Project Manager reports directly to the PMO.
PRINCE2 makes a clear distinction between those with authority and those who provide support. In much earlier versions Project Assurance reported to the Project Manager and became, through misuse, merged with Project Support. Today PRINCE2 offers a much clearer structure. The Project Manager reports to a Project Board, comprising managers representing the sponsor (Executive), the users of the final product (Senior User role) and the suppliers of the product (the Senior Supplier role). The Project Board owns the project and is responsible to corporate or program management for its success.
Project Assurance monitors the project on behalf of the Project Board and can be delegated by the Project Board members at any time and to one or more people. The Project Manager can call on Project Support for help, if needed, in administration, configuration management, risk management, planning and control tool expertise, etc. Project Support can be dedicated to a project or can be provided from a central PSO.
The Guide's PMO seems to be a mixture of PRINCE2 Project Board authority, Project Support skills and some other group managing shared personnel with the last one provided by line managers in a matrix organization. The Guide actually hints that the PMO is also a central pool of project managers in a "projectized" organization.
10. Ibid, p23