Last month we published Part 1 of concerns expressed by Colin Bentley concerning observations we made in our review of PRINCE2, 2005 Edition. http://www.lyfca.net.cn/papers/prince2-05/intro.htm
Colin was one of the principle authors of the methodology. We feel that it is important for visitors to these web pages who are interested in PRINCE2 to understand these issues and correct any misconceptions. As previously, we have repeated below the relevant text from our original review followed by Colin's observations and our own responses where appropriate. Feel free to contact us if you disagree.
Original Text: The Planning Process: 1
In PRINCE2 a project must get from a "basic business requirement" to the start of work on the actual outcome, or product, that is the objective of the project. We attempted to follow the flow through the prerequisite processes and their respective control document outputs to arrive at this start of work. This path is neither straightforward nor very clear. We counted eleven processes or sub-processes and sixteen output documents in one form or another.
Why do you suggest that this is not straightforward? You go from an unknown Project Mandate that may or may not contain the basic requirements to the Project Initiation Document. We could make that one step, but would that help anyone who wants to know a little more of the 'how'?
PRINCE2's Figure 11.1 showing an Overview of Planning displays seven steps, but has eleven documents associated with it. Are as many as this really necessary just to get to the Stage 3 shown in the figures? And in practice, might we not find that these are redrafted or abandoned when it comes to actually producing the project's product?
Figure 11.1 is a stylized overview and has no "products" at all. PRINCE2 is designed for any size of project, so let's assume that we have, say, a year-long project in front of us. Which of the seven steps would you not do? Would you have a thought, however brief, about what planning software you will use? How will you make allowances for a mixture of experienced and inexperienced project staff? Will you make allowance for telephone calls, unplanned meetings for the Project Manager and Team Managers? Then you need to think of what products will be needed. In what sequence will these be needed? What activities will be carried out to produce the products? How long will it take for each activity? How can these be allocated to staff to smooth out the workload? Are there any risks embedded in the plan? Can we describe to those who have to approve the plan what we are going to do, how we are going to do it and any assumptions that we are making? Which of these steps are unnecessary? And the same applies to the documents we have created to answer these questions, like a network plan and a Gantt chart.
13. Prerequisite processes to starting production work: Ad hoc source of Project Mandate (DP4); Preparing a Project Brief (SU4); Defining Project Approach (SU5); Planning Initiation Stage (SU6); Authorizing Initiation (DP1); Planning a Project (IP2); Refining the Business Case ((IP3); Assembling a (draft) Project Initiation Document (IP6); Authorizing a Project (DP2); Authorizing a Stage (DP3); Authorizing a Work Package (CS1).
14. Documents associated with the prerequisite processes to starting production work: Basic business requirements; Project Mandate; Outline Business Case; Project Brief; Project Approach; Draft Initiation Stage Plan; Authorization to Proceed (to initiating a project); Project Plan; Stage Plan; Updated Business Case; Draft Project Initiation Document (PID); Authorization to Proceed (to project); Approved PID; Approved Initiation Stage Plan; Authorization to Proceed (to work package); Authorized Work Package.
15. Ibid, p167