Saturday, 2 April 2016

A tour of PRINCE2 Principles - Focus on Products (6)

Like Snow White, the PRINCE2 Project Management methodology is built around 7 helpers :-) There are 7 guiding Principles, 7 Project Management Themes leading to 7 Processes. In a series of posts,  I want to take you through the 7 PRINCE2 Principles, my views on them aiding Project success and relate these to other posts on the Better Sheepdog site. Let me continue with Principle 6 - Focus on Products.
PRINCE2 Principles

Principle 6 - Focus on Products

This key principle implores that before looking at what activities are required to deliver the Project, the focus should be on Products i.e. Artifacts:
  1. The most important Product is the final one(s) delivered by the Project
  2. To achieve the final Product there are various intermediate Products that need to be produced - both Technical and Management
  3. Technical Products will be different for differing types of Project types and Project life-cyles and are concerned with the real journey to the final Product. So if the Project is producing something, you may need some intermediate Products defining the Requirements, the Design, any Testing etc
  4. Management Products are concerned with the running of the Project itself. PRINCE2 defines many of these such as the Project Initiation Document, Stage Plan, Business Case etc
So in English grammar a Product is a noun not a verb. Put more simply you should be able to touch most Products!


So PRINCE2 recommends that you commence your planning by considering the Products to be delivered. It suggests a number of techniques to adopt including a Product Breakdown Diagram (not Work Breakdown!) and Product Flow Diagram. For more detail, have a read of the post on Product Based Planning.

Is the Product properly understood?

PRINCE2 also suggests you spend effort defining in some detail, the characteristics of each Product. While this is a powerful technique, I look to short cut in a number of ways which I cover in the post on Product Descriptions.

This should also cover how we assure that the Product is of "fit for purpose" quality. For intermediate Products I prefer to address this via a Quality Plan which I covered in this post. For the final Product(s), this is so important that the Quality acceptance criteria should be covered in the Project Definition.

Don't forget Management Products!

PRINCE2 is quite "heavy" in terms of the Management Products it recommends and this is an area where some tailoring can be useful, see Principle 7

Other PRINCE2 Principles

The other PRINCE2 Principles are:
  1. Business Justification - continuously throughout the Project execution
  2. Learn from Experience - from previous Projects
  3. Defined Roles and Responsibilities - so there is clear understanding of who is responsible for what
  4. Manage by Stages - breaking down the Project execution into manageable chunks with gate reviews to move from one to the next
  5. Manage by Exception - once plans are in place with the owner, no news is good news
  6. Focus on Products - this one!
  7. Tailor to suit the environment - the methodology should be tailored to the environment, organisational culture, size, complexity and risks


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