What We Liked: Process Relationships
PRINCE2 displays the main relationships and links between its processes, components
and techniques in a simplified diagram shown in Figure 3. This
figure, somewhat modified since the 2002 version, shows the system from the Executive's
perspective of Directing the Project. It displays six central Processes acting on
the Components, of which there are eight discrete items and which essentially represent
project management products or "assets". The remaining two Processes, Directing and
Planning are shown as overarching the whole system.
Figure 3: Simplified diagram of PRINCE2 components, processes and techniques
Although not stated specifically, one may conclude that the top three processes are in the domain of the Project Board under the Executive, while the lower three are in the domain of the project manager. The three techniques considered critical to PRINCE2 are shown in pink in the figure.
While the figure moves from Starting up a Project at the top to Closing a Project at the bottom, it is not intended to represent a project life span. In fact, PRINCE2 draws a distinction between project management stages and stages in the development of the product as two distinct sequences that may or may not be congruent. We will comment further on this later.
A process can be defined as "A series of actions directed towards a result" and consequently project management, a project, a method or methodology are all processes in one degree or another. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that PRINCE2 should claim itself as a "process-based approach to project management." Figure 4 elaborates on how PRINCE2's main complex process of Directing a Project invokes various lesser processes in acting upon each of the eight Components.
Figure 4: The PRINCE2 Component template
In the figure, DP4, DP1, DP2, DP3 and DP5 represent Giving Ad Hoc Direction; Authorizing Initiation; Authorizing a Project; Authorizing a Stage or Exception; and Confirming Project Closure respectively. Following a detailed description of every process and its sub-processes, the manual then details each Component in turn. In our view, the central part of the figure gives a good thumbnail sketch of how the complex business of managing a project has to work along with its component aspects.
We like the way in which the manual deals with each topic in a consistent and detailed manner using bulleted checklists and offering Hints and tips along the way.
20. Ibid, Figure 2.6, p20
21. Webster's Electronic dictionary
22. PRINCE2 (2005), p11
23. Ibid, p195, revised and redrawn in 2005