From time to time we are asked to recommend project management systems and
methodologies, or to compare them as part of some selection process. This month
we have been taking an in-depth look at PRINCE2, a widely recognized de facto
standard used extensively by the UK government and in the private sector. As a basis for comparison, and because we are located in North
America, we will refer to the Project Management Institute's ("PMI") PMBoK as represented by A Guide to the Project Management
Body of Knowledge - 2000 Edition, also known as the PMBOK® Guide ("Guide").
"PRINCE" stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments
and is described as a structured method for effective project management for
all types of project, not just for information systems, although the influence
of that industry is very clear in the methodology. The 2002 version has been
through a number of incarnations in the past and is now the result of the "experience
of scores of projects, project managers and project teams." The 408-page
document, like the Guide (216 pages) is copyright, but the content is clearly
generic common sense. The PRINCE2 Introduction lists a significant set of reasons
why projects fail, and the methodology sets out to remove these causes.
Figure 1 above shows the knowledge areas and processes
of PMI's Guide and Figure
2 below shows the comparable PRINCE2 content and usage.
It must be born in mind that both sets of documentation must be tailored to
suit the occasion. For example, the Guide is not intended to tell people how to
do any of the techniques or use any of the tools described. It only lays out
the processes, how they link together and the tools and techniques that can
be invoked. Somewhat similarly, the application of PRINCE2 must be scaled for
the size and needs of the project. Indeed, scalability is a topic specifically
included in the description of each process.