poniedziałek, 17 grudnia 2007

Preparing for Prince2 exam

About Prince2 exams
Prince2 stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environment and it is non-agile type of project management methodology. It bases on customer-supplier pair, who wants to make a business (represented by business cases) in a strictly formalized way, to avoid some possible misunderstanding or potential conflicts. The methodology operates mostly on customer side and it is optional for supplier, who may use different methodology (even agile).

Prince2 was financed, registered and developed by British governmental organization Office of Government Commerce (OGC). The courses, exams and materials are provided by APM Group. There are two exams to certify the knowledge in the area:
Prince2 Foundation – 1 hour long multiple choices, just to prove you may take a part in projects, 50% good answers are enough and 99% candidates pass
Prince2 Practioner – 3 hours long objective testing multiple choices, to prove you may run and manager projects, 50% good answers are enough and 75-80% candidates pass
More about exams details - here.

The interesting thing is that many companies offering authorized Prince2 courses refuses “just exam” option, even when it is not against the APM Group rules. If you are willing to take the self-learning path, probably you will need to use British Council. If it is not an option, contact APM Group directly and remember to choose the examination language ;)
More about taking exams - here.

About Prince2
It is focused on processes and documents flows maintained within 3 main folders for project, each stage and quality. Management is split into 2+ levels (above Project Board there is Company or Programme management, but it is outside Prince2 scope):
  • Project board – taking strategic decisions, before-and-after stages and when project manager reports exceptional situation (beyond established level of tolerance). Its members must represent main 3 interests – customer, supplier and business.
  • Project manager – taking daily tactical decisions
  • Team leader (optional) – may take over part of project manager duties especially if some specialized (eg. technical) teams takes a part in a project

Prince2 consists mainly of 8 processes (flows), 8 components (key elements used in flows) and 3 techniques (important approaches across all processes realized with use of components). The methodology is though scalable and the minimum is 2 level organization (board and manager) and 2 processes (initialization and acting).

The Prince2 is a brother of PMBoK methodology. The main difference is though that Project Manager Body of Knowledge (PMBoK) answers the question what PM should know, and PRINCE2 answers a question what PM should do.

Detail list of all sub-process you may find in number of places like english or polish wikipedia. The scope of the paragraph is to show the boundaries of the processes and linkages between them.

· Starting up a project (SU) [Uruchamianie Projektu/Przygotowanie Założeń Projektu (PP)] – it is about organizing Project Board [Komitet Sterujący] and nominating Project Manager (creating Organization component) and preparing documents for first strategic decision
Input: Project Mandate [Zlecenie Przygotowania Projektu] document
Output: Project Brief [Podstawowe Założenia Projektu], Project Approach [Formuła realizacyjna], Initation Stage Plan (IP) [Plan etapu Inicjowania projektu (IP)]

· Directing a project (DP) [Strategiczne zarządzanie projektem (ZS)] – that is about taking strategic decisions by Project Board; they are always taken when one process/stage finishes and next is about to begin OR if Project Manager request exceptional situation and wants to put into play the Exception Plan
Input: Output from previous stage and plans for the next one from PM
Output: Decision

· Initiating a project (IP) [Inicjowanie projektu (IP)] – when SU is just the general approval to work over vision of the project, IP is about the detail preparation for project realization split into one or number of management stages (they may be parallel to operation stages). It is about quality, risk register, business cases, controls and setting up documentation flow gathered at the end into one key Project Initiation Document. It includes also planning the basic budget plus changes and reserve budgets.
Input: SU [PP] input and permission from Project Board (DP1) [ZS1]
Output: Project Initiation Document [Dokument Inicjujący Projekt]

· Controlling a stage (CS) [Sterowanie Etapem (SE)] – As mentioned above the realization of the project is split into one or many management stages. Within the stage the full responsibility is delegated on PM, who fully manages tactical decisions and optionally he may delegate his responsibilities on team leaders. The process is about all the actions linked with authorizing and acceptance of performed work packages (1,9), controlling the project progress (2,5), registering and managing issues appearing during a project (3,4), reporting to project board (6), small (7) and big (8) crisis management depending if the problem is going out of established tolerance scope or not.
Input: Project Initiation Document and output from previous stage (if any)
Output: Realized set of work packages within controlled time and budget

· Managing product delivery (MP) [Zarządzanie Wytwarzaniem Produktów (WP)] – Prince2 is products based planning. The management products may be split into the specialized products, which may be realized outside the company. The process is mainly about dealing with such a situation. It is a very simple process consisting off three parts – accepting (1), executing (2) and delivering (3) work packages. It is the lowest possible in Prince2 acting level - doing the thing.
Input: CS1 [SE1] work package authorization > (1)
Output: 2 > CS2 [SE2] project progress 3 > CS9 [SE9] work package acceptance

· Managing stage boundaries (SB) [Zarządzanie Zakresem Etapu (ZE)] – When “Controlling a stage” process is coming to the end and a new stage is planned this process is run as a preparation for new stage including updates of project plan, business case and risk register. The result of it is Final Stage Report and plan for the next stage (small IP process), which is presented to Project Board for acceptance. The process is also used for crisis management if some significant changes to the base plan are necessary (the path CS8>SB6>DP3)
Input: Current project documentation
Output: Final Stage Report, plan for the next stage or input for “Closing a project”

· Closing a project (CP) [Zamykanie Projektu (ZP)]

· Planning (PL) [Planowanie (PL)] – planning is unique process as it is a parallel thing happening in the background through the whole project life cycle. This is mainly about documentation review and keeping it consistent. It includes products management, configuration management, schedule, risks register etc. It is especially used at sub-processes SU[PP]6, DP6 [ZS6], IP2 [IP2], MP1 [WP1], SB[ZE]1,2,6
Input: Various
Output: The project plan

1. Prince2 process flow
8 components:
  • Business Case [Uzasadnienie biznesowe]– The justification behind the project.
  • Organization [Organizacja] – The way in which the personnel involved in the project are structured.
  • Plans [Plany] – Documents describing what the project should accomplish, how the work should be carried out, when it should be carried out and by whom.
  • Controls [ Elementy sterowania] – The way in which the project manager and project board should exercise control over the project including the things like tolernace, reports etc.
  • Management of Risk [ Zarządzanie ryzykiem] – The way in which the project should approach and manage risk. PRINCE2 defines a risk as uncertainty of outcome, which may be either a positive opportunity or a negative threat. Enlisted risks are analyzed and then, they are managed in one of 5 ways – prevention, reduction, reassignment (for example on the external company eg. insurance), acceptation, planning the reserve budget in IP process.
  • Quality in a Project Environment [ Jakość w środowisku projektu] – The way in which the project should ensure that a quality product is delivered. Prince2 does not specify details and it relays on external standards – especially the once already used by the customer or supplier.
  • Configuration Management [ Zarządzanie konfiguracją]– The way in which the project's products are identified and tracked including versions management.
  • Change Control [ Sterowanie zmianami] – The way in which the project manages any changes to specification or scope of its products. Benefits/Savings versus risk,cost and time.

3 techniques

  • Product Based Planning – the technique of planning based on defining the products, establishing their hierarchy and than the relations between them – product flow diagram. Based on this information the plan is created including the schedule, quality and risks.
  • Change Control – the technique of registering and taking decisions about the planned changes including analysis and granting permission plus planning Changes Budget in IP process.
  • Quality Reviews – how the quality assurance should be performed on a regular basis, in order to provide the planned quality level

Prince2 Maturity Model (P2MM)
As Prince2 is scalable solution and many companies are willing strongly to get Prince2 label for minimum cost, many companies suffer PINO (Prince In Name Only) syndrome. OGC develops lastly the maturity model as the remedy for this, which defines 5 levels:

  • 1 Initial Does the organisation recognise projects and run them differently from its ongoing business? (Projects may be run informally with no standard process or tracking system.)
  • 2 Repeatable Does the organisation ensure that each project is run with its own processes and procedures to a minimum specified standard? (There may be limited consistency or co-ordination between projects)
  • 3 Defined Does the organisation have its own centrally controlled project processes, and can individual projects flex within these processes to suit the particular project?
  • 4 Managed Does the organisation obtain and retain specific measurements on its project management performance and run a quality management organisation to better predict future performance?
  • 5 Optimised Does the organisation run continuous process improvement with proactive problem and technology management for projects in order to improve its ability to depict performance over time and optimise processes?

APM Group among others, provide the maturity assessment to define the existing level of organization maturity and prepare the action plan to improve it for future (most of companies offering authorized Prince2 trainings does it as well).

„Understanding Prince2” Ken Bradley (polish version)
Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 (polish version)
NOTE! There is a newest edition of these books, which you may buy in AMPG shop.
Polish and English wikipedia
Sample exam questions

I have just passed the Prince2 Foundation exam - happy Christmas ;)

3 komentarze:

darekmysliwiec pisze...


Poniższy link do Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 w Resources:
nie działa.


Darek Myśliwiec

Adam Koszlajda pisze...

Dzięki za uwagę... Ktoś jednak czyta te posty ;) Dodałem inny link.


Prince2 Courses pisze...

A great post Adam, some real nuggets in here you've explained the Prince2 preparation process exceptionally well.

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