PRINCE2 2017 update - one year on

In 2016, the National Audit Office (NAO) rated a third of upcoming major government projects as in doubt or unachievable unless action was taken to improve delivery. Recurring issues were highlighted including an absence of portfolio management, lack of clear, consistent data to measure performance, poor early planning, lack of capacity and capability to undertake a growing number of projects, and a lack of clear accountability for leadership of a project. For successful project delivery it is vital that organisations establish consistency. The use of a project delivery method such as PRINCE2 (Projects IN Controlled Environments) is a good place to start.

PRINCE2 is now the most widely used project management methodology used by organisations of all sizes and within all sectors across the world. The method is the distillation of years of experience and best practice in the profession. The PRINCE2 2017 update, which included RSM’s Consulting Director, Nigel Bennett, on the authoring team, outlined improved features to help achieve better success in project management and delivery. To date, the new exam has been taken in over 140 countries. The update has now been translated into German and Dutch, with eight more languages planned for translation. One year on from the PRINCE2 update, we revisit the updated features contributing to its worldwide popularity.

A key element of PRINCE2 has been is its versatile approach to projects. It has been written in a way to apply it in organisations of any size, across all industries and sectors. The 2017 update reflects this in its approach to the project environment, specifically in how to tailor PRINCE2. Tailoring is no longer contained in its own section but is now included as a running thread throughout each chapter.

One of the benefits of this is that the user can take a more consistent pragmatic stance to their project throughout its life, which is of course important because no two projects are ever alike. This allows it to nest inside an organisation and work seamlessly with any industry specific work. By describing the work that needs to be completed, but not prescribing an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ approach, PRINCE2 avoids the pitfalls of other project management techniques that make projects appear paper intensive and bureaucratic. The benefits of this can potentially be found in both operational and strategic areas, such as having improved buy in from the project team and stakeholders, both internal and external.

PRINCE2’s flexible and widely tailorable approach to project management also allows it to be employed in a variety of industries with hugely different needs, from large scale construction to innovative software solutions. Through its use of management stages, the updated PRINCE2 can work in a traditional waterfall approach to managing projects, however, it is configurable with many development approaches. In a more dynamic project, it works well with an agile approach too, allowing you to have strong project governance with the flexibility to adapt to change when needed.

RSM’s consulting director Nigel Bennett, alongside head of projects and programmes Andy Murray, has recently been named within the top 30 most influential people in project management by ILX, an internationally recognised provider of accredited professional learning. Nigel was singled out for his contribution to the 2009 and 2017 editions of PRINCE2 and the current version of P3M3, AXELOS Limited’s maturity model. 

For further information on how RSM can help you with your projects and programmes or on the Prince2 2017 update which Nigel recently authored, please contact Nigel Bennett.