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Wrapping PRINCE2 around Agile

Roger Fance
April 30, 2012

Over the years, many organisations have invested heavily to increase the chances of project success by establishing project management frameworks, methodologies, processes, tools, templates and training to support their project managers and teams and improve project management maturity.

However, an ever increasing speed of change as a result of competition and technological innovation presents a serious challenge to business. It compels the need for continual re-evaluation of the project methods employed to ensure that organisations are responsive and adaptable enough not only to simply survive, but prosper.

Some organisations have turned to Agile project management in an effort to improve their response to business change. In the right circumstances, Agile offers an effective way to rapidly react to change, indeed embrace change, through a range of management techniques. Some may be tempted to combine their original investment in traditional project management techniques like PRINCE2 with the benefits that Agile can bring.

Agile techniques are best suited to the development of emergent and innovative products like pharmaceuticals, consumer electronics or software. In these circumstances, requirements are often not well understood up front and yet, there is a time-to-market imperative which demands the rapid delivery of customer value.

As leader of one of the most innovative companies in the world, Apple, Steve Jobs once said: “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show them.”

Further, requirements often rapidly change over time. Steve Jobs again: “You can’t just ask customers what they want and give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” The adoption of iterative development and incremental delivery helps to address these business problems.

On the other hand, the origins of PRINCE2 began when the sequential Waterfall method for delivering software projects was the dominant paradigm. To acknowledge that there are other ways to deliver projects and to remain relevant, PRINCE2 has been adapted and become more generalised compared to its sole early use to deliver government information systems. There is also explicit recognition that PRINCE2 should be tailored to suit the circumstances, in fact this is one of the seven key principles of PRINCE2.

Has this process of adaption gone far enough to permit PRINCE2 integration with Agile? What are the benefits and limitations of doing so? Should organisations even try?

Read more by downloading the whitepaper in PDF form.

Roger Fance
Roger Fance is a program and project management professional with international experience in professional services, financial services, government and telecommunications. He holds an Honours Degree in Applied Science, an Advanced Diploma of Project Management, and a Diploma of Project Management, and is an MSP Advanced Practitioner, PRINCE2 Practitioner and Certified ScrumMaster. He is a principal consultant at UXC Consulting and heads the UXC Consulting Agile Centre of Excellence.
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