At this moment I am facilitating Project board awareness workshops for senior managers from different business units in Central and Eastern Europe.
The theory in these workshops is based on Michiel van der Molen’s book ‘PRINCE2 for the Project Executive’.
During these project board awareness workshops we discuss governance principles of PRINCE2. Based on the 2009 version we now must say the PRINCE2 principles. Explaining the theory of these principles is not enough. What are the current governance issues? How will those principles help us? The discussion of the current set up of project boards and compares those project board compositions with the theory regarding the roles and responsibilities of the executive, the senior user and the senior supplier will give a lot of clearness. And as a result project board compositions will change.
Now, with the new PRINCE2 2009 version, there is a new book Directing Successful Projects with PRINCE2. As stated in the introduction, a manual designed;
– For managers taking on senior project roles
– As a reference guide for managers who wish to check the detailed guidance on specific topics
– As a source of information on PRINCE2 for senior managers considering adopting the method.
What does this mean? Can I skip my project board awareness workshops and buy an distribute copies of this book to senior managers?
The book itself starts with an overview of PRINCE2 and the project board duties and behaviours. Next it describes standard intervention moments and corresponding actions during the project. It follows the sequence starting up a project, authorize initiation, authorize the project, authorize a stage or exception plan, gives ad hoc direction, authorize project closure and reviewing benefits.
Especially the project board duties and behaviours and the set up of the project board are very useful. It gives for each role a nice overview of all responsibilities. For all steps it clearly described what the focus must be from every role within the project board. I missed some more detailed guidance regarding the size of the project board. Now it’s very briefly discussed within the seventh PRINCE2 principle ‘Tailoring’ but this is an issue where lots of organizations are struggling with. The appendix contains product description outlines of the baseline management products and most of the report management products. This is a subset of all baseline, record and report management products as described in the ‘Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2’ guide.
Does this mean that the manual can replace the workshops? I don’t think so. I think that having discussions with senior management about existing PRINCE2 principles issues like the current set up of project boards is much more valuable than only read this book. For me it’s even the question if senior management will read this 160+ page book. Is this really a book designed for senior managers or must we say that the content is very important for managers taking on senior project roles but they will not find time for reading. It’s complex material with lots of lists, actions to perform etcetera. Maybe this was also the reason why corresponding parts from chapter 13: ‘Directing a Project’ from the ‘Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2’ guide, are not reflected here. Take e.g. the overview of directing a project (fig 13.1) or the responsibility matrices with the producer, reviewer and approver of the management products. I would say that the manual is especially designed for those people in an organisation who are responsible for the implementation of PRINCE2 throughout the whole organisation. Thus training/coaching of project managers as well as senior managers who will have senior project roles like executive, senior user or senior supplier. And for this purpose I will definitely recommend this manual.
In a next article I will discuss the PRINCE2 management documents and I will make a comparison between the 2005 and 2009 documents.