One of the challenges with Prince2 is it can appear a very rigid way of managing a project. In reality, it is flexible and possible to tailor it to meet different project environments. To pass the Prince2 practitioner exam, you will need to have a good understand of how to tailor Prince2. In this post, I will show you how to adapt different elements of Prince2. I will break this post into six different elements and explain if and how to adapt it along with an example. By the end of this article, you will have a good understanding of how to tailor Prince2. Do not forget to read my other posts on the 7 Principles, 7 Themes and 7 Processes which will help with the Prince2 exam.
Following Prince2 without thought or question will lead to a rigid approach. This will reduce the chance of the project being a success. The way to use Prince2 is to tailor it to different project environments. I often hear that a project does not need a full Prince2 approach and some elements are not needed. Prince2 has lots of interwoven elements and dropping aspects weaken the project.
The tailoring of Prince2 is about adapting the approach to the project environment. For example changing the language to industry terminology. The aim is to apply a level of control without overburdening the project.
There are many environmental and project factors and below is a list of some of them.
The 6 Elements
There are 6 elements to consider when tailoring Prince2:
I will now take each element in turn and look at if and how to adapt it to suit the project environment.
The principles of Prince2 are fundamental and remain unchanged as part of tailoring. By having a good understanding of the principles will help with how to tailor Prince2.
Adapting the themes to the project environment does not mean changing the approach. It is about how to put in place the theme. For example, in the organization theme, it may be suitable to have one person perform two roles. Such as the role of the project manager and the team manager. This still follows the theme, but because of the project size, it is appropriate to have one person.
This is a common the area of adaptation. Organizations and industry sectors use lots of different terms and language. Change the project language to fit the industry or the organizational environment. Doing this will increase the chance of the project being a success. For example, an organization may use financial assessment and not a business case. By changing the name will still mean the project is following Prince2.
Adapting the product descriptions is possible under tailoring. The important point to remember is everyone on the project should be clear on the purpose of the product. For example, an organization may want to add dependencies in the business case. Adding to the products relevant information is acceptable.
When setting up the project structure Prince2 provides clear roles. When adapting it is acceptable for individuals to take on more than one role. It is also possible to adapt the responsibilities for each of the roles. For example one for the responsibilities of the executive is realizing the benefits. But what happens when the project is part of a program? Responsibility for delivering the benefits lie with the programme. It is in this example acceptable to remove the responsibility from the role of the executive.
This is a common area where Prince2 is not tailored in the right way. Removing processes is not tailoring Prince2. If a process is not done then the project is not following Prince2. It is acceptable to tailor the responsibilities of who does what activities. For example, if someone is doing two roles then they can have one list of responsibilities.
While there are 6 elements of Prince2 Principles is one that must remain the same. The remaining five elements are not about removing aspects of Prince2. Instead, they are about how to adjust them to suit the environment. The important thing to remember is to not remove anything. Adjust the language, combine roles or move responsibilities is all part of tailoring. As soon as an element is not done then the project is no longer a Prince2 project. This is a key point to remember for the Prince2 exam.
Principles – Do not change them at all.
Themes – How to adjust the themes
Language – Change the words, but the meaning stays the same
Products – Adapt but remember to keep clarity on the product purpose
Roles – Combine roles but do not remove any. Different roles can have other responsibilities.
Processes – These must be part of the project and changing who does what activity is fine.
I hope that you now have a good understanding of how to tailor Prince2 to fit the project environment. The purpose of this post and my previous posts is not to read them on their own and take the Prince2 exam. The aim is that these will help prepare you before attending a certified course. This will give you a great start with getting the most out of the course and increase the chance of passing the Prince2 exam.
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. (link is https://www.prince2.com/uk/training/prince2/foundation)