7 Processes of Prince2

7 Processes of Prince2

As we have seen in my previous articles there are 7 Principles and 7 Themes of Prince2. There is a third 7 in Prince2 and that is 7 Processes. Prince2 by design is a process based approach to project delivery and that means projects progress through the processes in a linear way. In this article I will cover the objectives and activities of each of the 7 Processes. I will take each process in turn and by the end of this article you should have a very good overview of the 7 Processes of Prince2. By having this good overview it will help you with the Prince2 exam as you will understand what happens and when on the project. With the exam being open book you will be able to look up the detail if and when you need it.

The 7 Processes of Prince2 are:

  1. Starting up a Project
  2. Directing a Project
  3. Initiating a Project
  4. Controlling a Stage
  5. Managing Product Delivery
  6. Managing a Stage Boundary
  7. Closing a Project

7 Processes of Prince2

Process 1: Start up a Project

“The purpose of the Starting up a Project process is to ensure that the prerequisites for Initiating a Project are in place by answering the question: do we have a viable and worthwhile project?”

What this means in plain English

Do we have the capability to do the project and is it worth spending money on.

Objective of the Starting up a Project process:

  • Document in an outline Business Case what the reason is for the project
  • Put in place the people who have the authority to initiate the project
  • There is enough information available to be able to produce the project scope and write a project brief
  • A project approach is selected based upon the different ways the project can be delivered
  • People are assigned to undertake the initiation of the project and/ or take a project management role in the project
  • Documented in a Stage Plan and planned is the work required to initiate the project
  • The project is not initiated due to poor assumptions about the scope, timescales, constraints and acceptance criteria

Activities of Starting up a Project:

  • Assign the Project Manager and the Executive to the project
  • Capture previous lessons from other projects that may be useful for this project
  • Create project management team
  • Produce an outline business case
  • Produce project brief and select project approach
  • Plan the initiation stage of the project

Starting Up a Project

Process 2: Directing a Project

“The purpose of the Directing a Project process is to enable the Project Board to be accountable for the project’s success by making key decisions and exercising overall control while delegating day-to-day management of the project to the project manager.”

What this means in plain English

The Project Board makes important decisions, holds the project manager to account and lets them get on with delivering the project.

Objectives of Directing a Project process:

  • Able to authorize Initiating the Project
  • Able to authorize the delivery of the project’s products
  • Ensure the project remains viable and that control and management direction is provided to the project
  • Provide an link to the corporate or programme management level above the project
  • Able to authorize to close the project
  • Manage and review the plan for realizing the post-project benefits

Activities of Directing a Project

  • Authorize the Initiation of the project
  • Authorize the project
  • Authorize a stage plan
  • Authorize an exception plan
  • Provide direction when required
  • Authorize project closure

Directing a Project

Process 3: Initiating a Project

“The purpose of the Initiating a Project process is to establish solid foundations for the project, enabling the organization to understand the work that needs to be done to deliver the project’s products before committing to a significant spend”

What this means in plain English

How much is this project going to cost and how long will it take?

Objectives of Initiating a Project

Providing a common understanding of:

  • The risks, benefits and reason for doing the project
  • What products will be delivered and the scope of what will be done
  • The when and how the projects products will be delivered and how much they will cost
  • Who will make the project decisions
  • What is the required level of quality and how will it be achieved
  • How will a baseline be set and monitored
  • How will changes, issues and risks be identified, assessed and managed
  • Who needs what information, when do they need it and in what format

Activities of Initiating a Project

  • Produce a Risk Management Strategy
  • Produce the Configuration Management Strategy
  • Produce the Quality Management Strategy
  • Produce the Communication Management Strategy
  • Set up Project Controls
  • Prepare the Project Plan
  • Update the Business Case
  • Gather the Project Initiation documentation

Initiating a Project

Process 4: Controlling a Stage

“The purpose of the Controlling a Stage process is assign work to be done, monitor such work, deal with issues, report progress to the Project Board, and take corrective actions to ensure that the stage remains within tolerance.”

What that means in plain English

Assigning tasks, check that they get done and report progress of the tasks. Deal with and sort out any issues.

Objective of the Controlling a Stage process:

  • The delivery of the products that the stage will produce
  • Monitor to ensure products are produced as agreed. Any change is called scope creep
  • Manage risks and issues
  • Make sure the business case is still valid by reviewing it
  • Products are delivered to the agreed level of cost, quality, effort and time in support of the achievement of the benefits
  • Project management team deliver within the agreed tolerances

Activities of the Controlling a Stage

  • Work Packages
    • Authorize packages
    • Review progress
    • Receive completed packages
  • Monitoring and Reporting
    • Review stage progress
    • Produce highlight report
  • Issues
    • Identify and assess risks and issues
    • Escalate risks and issues
    • Take action to resolve risks and issues

Controlling a Stage

Process 5: Managing Product Delivery

“The purpose of the Managing Product Delivery process is to control the link between the Project Manager and the Team Manager(s), by placing formal requirements on accepting, executing and delivering project work.”

What that means in plain English

How the Team Manager will be receive, complete and hand back tasks to the Project Manager.

Objective of the Managing Product Delivery process:

  • All work is authorized and agreed before they start
  • Team Managers, members and suppliers are all clear on what needs to be done by when, at what cost and with how much effort
  • Products are delivered within the agreed tolerances
  • Progress is accurately reported at the agreed frequency so expectations can be managed

Activities of the Managing Product Delivery process:

  • Accept Work Packages
  • Execute Work Packages
  • Deliver Work Packages

Managing Product Delivery

Process 6: Managing a Stage Boundary

“The purpose of the Managing a Stage Boundary process is to enable the Project Board to be provided with sufficient information by the Project Manager so that it can review the success of the current stage, approve the next Stage Plan, review the updated Project Plan, and confirm continued business justification and acceptability of the risks.”

What this means in plain English

What the Project Manager must do when reporting to the Project Board.

Objectives of the Managing a Stage Boundary process:

  • Confirm to the Project Board that all products detailed in the stage plan have been completed and approved
  • The next stage’s plan has been completed
  • Review and if required update project documentation such as the project plan, business case, project team structure, approach, role descriptions and strategies
  • Gather information for the Project Board to assess if the project remains viable – including the total risk exposure
  • Document any lessons or information that can be used to help later stages and/or other projects
  • Request authorization to start the next stage

For exceptions the Objectives of the Managing a Stage Boundary:

  • Produce an exception plan as directed by the project board
  • Request approval to replace the current project or stage plan with the exception plan

Activities of Managing a Stage Boundary:

  • Planning the next stage
  • Update the business case
  • Update the project plan
  • Produce stage end report
  • Produce exception plan if required

Managing a Stage Boundary

Process 7: Closing a Project

“The purpose of the Closing a Project process is to provide a fixed point at which acceptance for the project product is confirmed, and to recognize that objectives set out in the original Project Initiation Documentation have been achieved (or approved changes to the objectives have been achieved), or that the project has nothing more to contribute.”

What that means in plain English

Making sure the project is definitely complete with the produced product accepted or that there is nothing left for the project to do.

Objectives of the Closing a Project process:

  • Confirm the project’s products have been accepted
  • When the project is disbanded make sure the products are properly supported
  • Review how the project performed against the set baseline
  • Produce a forecast of when benefits will be realized and assess any benefits that have already been identified
  • All open issues have follow-on action recommendations

Activities of Closing a Project:

  • Prepare planned or premature closure
  • Hand over all products
  • Evaluate the project
  • Recommend that the project is closed

Closing a Project

Summary

Hopefully you now have a good overview of the 7 Processes of Prince2 and understand the purpose of each process. By learning the overview you will have a very good idea of how to answer the scenario based questions of the Prince2 Practitioner exam and if you need the detail you will be able to use the book.

Once you have passed the Prince2 exam it lasts 5 years and at the end of those 5 years you have to reaccreditate (take the exam again). I did my last reaccreditation with Prince2.com and personally recommend them as a Prince2 training provider. Prince2.com offer a guaranteed pass on the Foundation course so start your PRINCE2 journey with their PRINCE2 Foundation Course.