If you've been doing project mgt for any length of time, you've probably thought
that if you've seen one project management methodology (PMM) you've seen them all, right? That
was my thought when the boss
threw my current project in my lap and shipped me out for PRINCE2
(Project In Controlled Environments) training. My first thought was "Great! Another PMM with a new set of nomenclature slapped on it."
Though...my perception bended a bit when one of the 1st comments out of the
instructors mouth was "PRINCE2 is not meant to replace your current project
protocols that work well, nor is it recommended that you implement every P2 tool
with your project."
I found it rather refreshing that the P2 mantra was not
"This is it! The holy
grail of managing projects, people! Use this exactly as instructed and your
project will never fail and you'll never die. Your projects will deliver on time
and under budget. And oh...don't forget to buy our bazillion $ software products
on your way out the door. Bye-bye, have a nice day." What they don't tell you
is they don't use their project mgt products on their own projects because
they're too cumbersome.
Instead, I've found that P2 tools have blended well with existing practices from
other PMMs - such as Six Sigma
(known internally as Sun Sigma
), other PMM practices, &
internally developed best practices. Further, I've come to appreciate the
flexibility of taking specific P2 tools and molding them to meet the specific
needs of the program team.
The best part of P2? The program team org structure. Here's a simple P2-based organization diagram of my project:
It places all the right people in the right position to \*really\* be engaged with
the project. The program board for my project includes my VP
and four of his direct
reports (mostly at the director level - including my boss
...who plays the role of Sr. Supplier). The project is managed by
exception...meaning there are time and budget boundaries agreed to up front.
Exceptions that can be managed within these boundaries require no board
approval. Exceeded boundaries are escalated to the board by me (the prog mgr) w/
proposed actions. I meet w/ the program board every other week...pretty sweet
deal to have that calibur of execs fully in the know on your project!
Another thing I like about the program team structure is the engagement of a
project mgt team (AKA team mgrs in P2 terms)...individual Project Managers focusing on their area of
expertise (as opposed to a single PM playing the role of the entire project mgt
team). They report to the Program Mgr in a matrixed fashion. How many projects
have you been on where 'Proj/Prog Mgr' included the roles of Dev Mgr, Quality
Assurance Mgr, Business Analyst, Training Mgr, Support Mgr, Data Mgr, Sales
Mgr, Marketing Mgr. etc.? Sure most small projects might
get away with this
model, but you're doomed for burn-out and failure if you attempt it with larger
So....there's my initial 2 cents on PRINCE2...more to come...