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Having to close a project earlier than anticipated can be a big disappointment and source of concern for Project Managers.
On the other hand, premature closure should be considered as a learning opportunity and even a chance to salvage useful products other than those planned.
With this in mind, the PRINCE2 methodology is focused on controlling every aspect of a project, including its closure, and gleaning as much use out of work done as possible.
Closing a project early can become the best course of action in a number of situations, e.g.
- If an unforeseen dependency comes into play
- If the budget for time or cost goes too far beyond agreed tolerance
- If the budget has to be reconsidered due to reasons beyond the project itself (e.g. programme or corporate budget cuts)
We decided that PRINCE2 diagrams could do with a freshen up so we've created an easy to read, standardised set of diagrams covering the 7 PRINCE2 processes to help learn PRINCE2. Starting with the PRINCE2 Process Model and then breaking it down into each of the 7 processes.
If you've ever searched Google for 'PRINCE2 diagrams' you will know that it's not a pretty sight, and a lot of those diagrams are either too plain or impossible to decipher.
Our set of diagrams make the PRINCE2 processes easier to understand by complimenting your PRINCE2 pre-course work and manual when preparing for your PRINCE2 Practitioner Exam.
PRINCE2 Process Model
PRINCE2 describes the steps of project management in seven processes. Any PRINCE2 project will need to address each of the processes but the extent of the application of a process should be decided on a project by project basis.
The PRINCE2 Process Model below describes the relationship between the seven processes:
Within the Directing a Project (DP) stage of PRINCE2, authorising a project is a particularly important process.
Without it, the next stage plan cannot be approved which means that the project cannot proceed.
In this post we'll take a look in more detail at why it is a necessary process, who is responsible for each aspect and how it should be carried out.
If you'd like to find out more about PRINCE2 processes like authorising a project, try our PRINCE2 Courses.
Why is it Needed?
By using this process it means that the project board can make sure that there is:
- An acceptable Business Case in place (read 'What is a Business Case?' for more details)
- The goals and methods of the project match that of the corporate strategy
- An acceptable set of tolerances (and scope) has been set
- Risks are accepted and outlined fully
- The right controls have been set
How many times have you heard your customer complain that the product you have delivered doesn't meet their expectations?
This is as a result of not addressing their expectations early enough in the project to get it right. You can learn how to do this on our 5-day PRINCE2 Practitioner Training.
But customers also bring problems too! They often don’t seem to know what they want.
It will be your job as a project manager to work with your customer to establish their quality expectations and then to create some measurable criteria against which you can deliver something fit for purpose.
Where Do We Start?
At the beginning... of the project. During the early stages of the project – Starting Up – you should be talking to your customer about the solution:
- What they hope it will do
- How it will work
- What it will look like
These initial expectations will be little vague and may require some prompting and input from you to gain clarity around what the expectations mean.
The Business Case in PRINCE2 is the document against which all decisions are ultimately made. It provides the decision makers (Project Board) in the project with a clear picture of what the project is set to deliver, how much it is all going to cost, how long it will take, and an analysis of when the expected benefits will come on stream.
So why is this any different to any other project that we already undertake? For example at home; if we are considering enlarging our living accommodation we first of all have to gain a common understanding of why we need to do it ... to have good REASONS. Once that is agreed and decided there are several options that may be available to us...
- We could “do nothing”
- We could move to a larger house
- We could build an extension on side of the existing house
- We could grow into the loft
- We could adapt the existing room layout
Each of these OPTIONS would of course have different costs and timescales attached to them... but we would consider them all, and decide which of them could be discounted and capture why that decision was made. We may be left with a couple of alternatives which need further investigation, but eventually we come to a decision on the way forward... and that is our chosen OPTION.
Learn more about the Business Case in PRINCE2 on our PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner Training Courses. One of our most popular training methods is applying PRINCE2 to every day examples to help you understand them and pass your exam!
In a project such as the above, the costing and timescale would almost certainly have been supplied by a builder and their associated trades, and all of these costs added together will form the basis of the COST heading in our Business Case. Equally the overall timescale from their various trades will equate to the TIMESCALE heading in our Business case. It should be noted here that the builder (and other trades) are all in business to make a profit, and therefore they will all have their own Business Case... our focus is on OUR Business Case.