What is Prince2 Agile Project Management?

28 Feb 2019

Introduced in 2015 by Axelos, Prince2 Agile is one of the newest additions to the Agile project management certification palette. As a comprehensive, business-ready solution, it blends principles of Prince2 project management with the agile delivery framework. This may seem like a weird and somewhat contradictory combination, but the two disciplines can actually work very well together.

The system is recognized worldwide because it manages to combine the best of both worlds and because it does it in a way that makes the methodology easily applicable across industry sectors.

So, what exactly is Prince2 agile project management and how can it help your team(s) deliver?

What is the fuss all about?

Prince2 agile project management

In a nutshell, the Agile facet covers the area of project delivery and introduces a variety of concepts, frameworks, behaviors, and techniques. On the other hand, Prince2 side of it governs the whole spectrum of project management tasks. Together, these two concepts are converting stakeholders to the government style of Prince2, but with the high-level of flexibility and responsiveness involved.

source: www.axelos.com

The adoption rates are the highest in software development, specialist production, and event management sectors. However, players in other industries stand to potentially gain a lot as well. All of this does not mean it is a one-size-fits-all solution.

With that in mind, note that methodology itself encompasses both formal and fluid styles, as well as concepts like Lean Startup. What is more, it does not favor any particular Agile approach, although it leans towards most popular ones, such as Scrum and Kanban. All in all, you can think of this model as a set of behaviors and practices rather than one adaptive project lifecycle.

The outline of system workings

To grasp the basics, first get familiar with six major areas of project performance that Prince2 institutes:

  • Learn
  • Build
  • Measure
  • Ideas
  • Data
  • Product

When these are successfully combined, they lay the groundwork for projects to be delivered on time and budget. Here, Prince2 Agile focuses on achieving a solid return on investment early on in the process, by the virtue of flow-based work models.

Furthermore, project managers are tasked with monitoring five types of behavior that move forward the project’s success:

  • Transparency
  • Exploration
  • Collaboration
  • Self-organization
  • Rich communication

It does not take much effort to realize that team empowerment, fixed timeframe/project costs, and iterative development serve as mainstays of Prince2 model. Companies that already work on maximizing them are well-positioned to make strides. Other organization could struggle to implement the framework without friction.

Grasping the roles

The good news is that the default Prince2 roles remain and that the responsibilities have not changed that much either. The framework does mention roles such as Scrum Master and Product Owner, but these are not fixed, default parts of the team. One demand that is put before managers is to enhance the role of a delivery team.

For those not familiar with Prince2 roles, they include:

  • Project board
  • Executive
  • Senior Supplier
  • Senior User
  • Project Manager
  • Team Manager
  • Project Assurance
  • Change Authority
  • Project Support

There are some additional roles, but we will not go into detail there. The crucial thing to emphasize here is that, before fleshing out concrete roles, tasks, and responsibilities, you need to evaluate current processes within the organization. In other words, determine how agile you want the collective to be and take into account the risks of Prince2 Agile implementation.

Overcoming the learning curve

You may already feel overwhelmed, but don’t fret. Instead, do yourself a favor and consult a defined process model and its different stages: starting a project, initiating a project, managing a stage boundary closing a project, directing a project process. These stages should match project specifics and hold one or more iterations, which are also called time-boxes.

It is highly advisable to get familiar with Prince2 agile project management certification and training opportunities. Even better, take an exam and become a professional practitioner of this innovative Agile development method. There are classroom courses available in Australia, Europe, UK, New Zealand, etc. They are offered by certified Prince2 Agile coaches.

Making it work for you

Once you are sure you understand how things work, you can identify tangible goals you will pursue. As we have already indicated, Prince2 approach encourages timely project completion and is geared toward preserving product quality. It also entices business owners and managers to embrace constant change, manage stakeholder expectations, and keep the teams stable.

Lastly, remember that the purpose of Prince2 Agile adoption is not to blindly follow a trend. This process revolves around making the most of tailored solutions that suit specific business needs, industry requirements, and set goals. The success always hinges on the ability to stay flexible and adjust to shifting workflows and settings.

So, before you dive into it, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you fine with on-the-fly development with little to no upfront specifications?
  • Is your organization ready to execute continuous iteration and assessments?
  • Do you think causal communication and collaboration fit your business culture?
  • Are you prepared to bid farewell to rigid, top-down decision-making?
  • Can you develop projects in small incremental bursts (chunks)?

If the answers to most or all of these questions are yes, then Prince2 agile is probably for you. Otherwise, you might want to steer away from it.

Conclusion

Prince2 Agile project management unites two seemingly disparate models in a complete solution designed for business success. If you are serious about embarking on your agile transformation journey, come up with a rock-solid plan on how to put together an agile work environment. Likewise, hone your management skills in order to master the process of both management and delivery.

Ultimately, the marriage of Prince2 and Agile PM must be beneficial for the organization as a whole. Following tried-and-true steps, you should be able to meet the deadlines and stay within the limits of the budget. Not only that but you may also gain a powerful edge in the market.