Tag Archives: Prince2

PRINCE2 awareness email course

paem2-150x150I received a request from Nader Rad (Management Plaza) to have a look at his micro-courses regarding PRINCE2, and PRINCE2 Agile.

It’s a great concept if you want to get a flavour of these best practices.

PRINCE2 Awareness email course:

After subscribing you get during 6 weeks, every day an email. In this personalized email a single topic will be discussed. Every mail ends with a sort of ‘cliff-hanger’ or question regarding the next mail to come. In every email you will find a progress indicator too. It will cost you a few minutes to read so if you are not familiar with PRINCE2 you don’t have an excuse anymore. Subscribe, spend a few minutes per day and after 6 weeks you have a basis understanding of PRINCE2.

As I stated, it’s just to get a flavour, it’s not a full eLearning course. You will follow step by step the introduction, the seven principles, the seven themes and the seven processes.

Some suggestions:

  • Give subscribers the possibility to immediately request for the next episode. If they do not ask, they will receive the next episode the next day
  • Replace the video regarding processes with mails in line with the rest
  • Add figures, tables etc.

If you are interested see: http://mplaza.pm/free-prince2-course/ where you can subscribe (for free).


PRINCE2 Agile in one picture

In one of my previous posts I already gave some preliminary facts regarding the new PRINCE2 Agile framework. See: preliminary facts 

In this post you get a simple overview regarding PRINCE2 Agile. This framework is based on blending PRINCE2 and agile together. PRINCE2 is strong in the areas of project directing and project management and agile is strong in the area of product delivery. It’s not a matter to chose between PRINCE2 or agile but to decide how far you can go using specific agile ways of working by tailoring the PRINCE2 approach. The new framework offers the Agilometer to understand how far you can go using agile. Together with the usage of the Cynefin framework created by David Snowden you must have a good view how to blend PRINCE2 and agile.


For the PRINCE2 part this new framework is based on the existing PRINCE2 2009 version. For the agile part they use The definitive guide to scrum by Ken Swaber and Jeff Sutherland (integral copy included in the manual) and material based on The lean startup by Eric Ries and Kanban – Successful evolutionary change for your technology business by David Anderson (see book review).

Besides these frameworks you can also find explanation of behaviour in the areas of collaboration, self-organisation, transparency, rich communication and exploration.

In a next post I will give a summary of PRINCE2 Agile based on the official PRINCE2 Agile manual.

Reynier Pronk’s PRINCE2 blog: Prince Reynier

Schermafbeelding 2015-02-22 om 13.23.03Recentelijk stuurde Reynier mij een link naar zijn blog waar hij zoals hij zelf zegt “graag de in de afgelopen jaren vergaarde kennis niet verloren wil laten gaan.

Op zijn blog vind je vele interessante artikelen voor zowel beginnende als gevorderde PRINCE2 gebruiker.


  • Een uitgebreid voorbeeld over product-based planning
  • Het rapport Elias en PRINCE2
  • Haal meer uit PRINCE2
  • De Noord-Zuid lijn case
  • Vele columns

Zie: Prince Reynier, hoe projecten falen en waarom dat niet nodig is.

PRINCE2 in pictures: The TAG-PM PRINCE2 Trigger MAP

Dia1It’s already a while ago that I used the tag PRINCE2 in pictures. I received a nice overview of PRINCE2 containing all triggers to and from all the processes. It’s called the TAG-PM PRINCE2 Trigger Map from Trans Atlantic Group (TAG). Besides the graph you will also get an explanation of the flow within and between the processes. You will also see where most of the Management Products are created or used.

To download: PRINCE2 Trigger Map EN Poster v010212

For those who are studying for their PRINCE2 exam this is a nice and simple aid to support their study.

In a next version I would suggest a few small adjustments:

  • Add some missing Management Products: Issue Report (from CS4 Capture and Examine Issues and Risks to CS5 Review Stage Status), include Project Product Description and Business Case as part of PB and PID and add Product Descriptions to the different plans. Lessons Report could be added to the End Stage/Project Report. If you add Management Strategies to the PID you are complete.
  • I would also give a try to eliminate those process activities, which are mentioned more than once. E.g. DP5 is showed 3 times, but I could also see that it helps to understand the flow. You could add End Stage Report to the output of white box SB.
  • Divide SU in two steps. One step to create the Project Brief and another step to create the Initiation Stage Plan. If there is no viable outline Business Case it doesn’t make sense to create the Initiation Stage Plan.
  • Because this is a trigger map I would suggest to add the formal PRINCE2 triggers/events to the map as well. E.g. the requests to, the notifications, the recommendations, etc.

But as stated definitely helpful if you are preparing yourself for the exam. If you already want to have complete pictures showing all management products and where the are created, used and/or updated, all events, processes but also the principles, themes and roles and responsibilities have a look at my handy PRINCE2 Quick Reference Card. See Prince2 2009 Edition Quick Reference Card

Lost in standards

Dia1In the last “projectie, edition 04-2014”, the bi-monthly magazine of ipma-nl, I published a Dutch article about the many methods and frameworks that are available in the field of portfolio, programme and project management. To download: Verdwaald in het standaardenbos IPMA Projectie magazine 04-2014 I created a sort of quick reference card with available standards and frameworks (It’s limited, there are many more). To download: standards-qrc-170129-v1-9

In the middle of the quick reference card you find a generic model with portfolio, programme and project management as horizontal boxes. Behind these boxes you will find vertical boxes with PMO, IT, benefits management, value management and risk management to support project, programme and portfolio management. And as the background I used two triangles representing the people and maturity of project, programme and portfolio management. From this model I made connections with several well-known organizations that develop and own standards. E.g. Axelos as the owner of PRINCE2, MSP, MoP, MoV, MoR, P3M3 and ITIL or PMI as the owner of PMBoK, The standard for Portfolio Management, The standard for Programme Management, OPM3, etc. You will also find AMPG, APM, IPMA and several suppliers of Agile/Scrum as well as some ISO models. dia1 In the Dutch article, I focus on the usage of these standards. It’s not that simple that you only have to select a project management method. Je must be aware that it will not be possible to implement all your ideas and ambitions. You have to select the right initiatives. This will ask for a portfolio management method. To realize your strategic objectives, you need more than only projects. You will run programmes too, asking for a programme management method. Besides temporary project and programme offices you probably need a permanent portfolio office as well as a centre of excellence to communicate, support and train staff to use these standards and best practices.

At a certain moment you want to know were you are from a maturity view, in comparison with others, and based on your own ambition you would like to know the gap you have to bridge. It will be beneficial for an organization if all these models or frameworks are connected to each other. As a rule of thumb, I would advice an organization to choose for either Axelos or PMI as the starting point and combine your choice with the competence baseline from IPMA. If you choose e.g. for PRINCE2, it makes sense to choose for MSP and MoP for your programme and portfolio management. For maturity scans you look at P3M3 because that’s in line with these standards. Your temporary and permanent PMO will be supported by P3O, etc. For supplementary techniques you could make use of the PMBoK from PMI.

Or, when you started with the PMI family, it makes sense to combine this with the project or programme board approaches from PRINCE2 and MSP and the usage of business cases as described in PRINCE2 9789401800068_CoverLR-541x850I am one of the authors of the book Global standards and publications, edition 2014/2015, Van Haren Publishing. You can download a free copy of this book. http://www.vanharen.net/file/PDF/9789401800068.pdf Please let me know if you are aware of new standards that are worthwhile to mention in this QRC.

for a comparison between PRINCE2 and PMBoK see the overview from KnowledgeTrain: Comparison PRINCE2/PMBoK


  • 17/01/29: Added PM2 Project Management Methodology from The European Commission
  • 17/01/29: Added Scrum @ Scale from Srcuminc.com
  • 16/01/23: Added Nexus (Scaled Professional Scrum) from Scrum.org
  • 15/10/04: IPMA ICB3 replaced with ICB4
  • 15/07/07: Added new Axelos framework PRINCE2 Agile
  • 15/05/27: Added Change mgt vertical + CMBoK (Change Management body of Knowledge) + CHAMPS2
  • 15/04/24: Added ISO 21500 project, 21503 programme, 21504 portfolio, 21505 Governance, 21506 Vocabulary
  • 15/02/24: Added CCPM (Goldratt), CMMi, Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards (GAPPS)
  • 14/10/21: Added Exin Agile Scrum from EXIN
  • 14/09/29: Added Agile Programme Management (Agile PgM) from APMG
  • 14/09/29: Added PRiSM™ (Projects integrating Sustainable Methods) from GPM
  • 14/09/29: Added Portfolio, Program & Project Sustainability Model (PSM3) from GPM

Integrating PRINCE2

default.aspx-2Alan Ferguson did a great job in writing this new book about Integrating PRINCE2. I was happy to be part of Alan’s support team in the role of mentor when he wrote this book.

This practical guide shows you how to embed PRINCE2 within your organization and tailor the method to your specific work environment and business context.

Complementing and expanding on the guidance in the PRINCE2 manual, this publication covers a divers range of situations, using case studies based on real experience. You will find out how to assess a project to determine what level of tailoring is required, and how to embed PRINCE2 effectively within your organization to enhance the benefits of using this method.

The author, Alan Ferguson, is vastly experienced in project management and a leading figure in the development of PRINCE2. By bringing project management to life, he shows you how to make PRINCE2 work for you and your circumstances.

A must-read for those who want to get the most out of putting PRINCE2 into practice and enjoy improved delivery as a result.

To order: integrating prince2

Book review: The metis of projects

metisI received from Ben Berndt, one of my colleagues, a copy of his PhD thesis The quest to find the metis of projects and a copy of the commercial edition of his thesis The metis of projects. How to remain cognizant of a project’s (social) complexity. I will follow in this review his commercial edition.

The book is divided into two parts. Part A: In search of the metis of projects, and part B: An attempt to touch the metis of projects.

The first part (A) focuses on theory and the second part on his personal and pragmatic experience to touch the metis of projects. Before I will go into more details of the book, I will copy, from the book, a description of ‘metis’: “Metis is a type of intelligence and thought. It implies a complex but very coherent body of mental attitudes and intellectual behaviour which combine flair, wisdom, forethought, subtlety of mind, deception, resourcefulness, vigilance, opportunism, various skills, and experience acquired over years.”

Part A is divided into five chapters. The first chapter explains why the author chose this topic. His unease with too-linear traditional project management frameworks prompted him in the world of logics, cybernetics, systems theory, complexity and uncertainty. His goal was to find other frameworks and tools that respect the fact that the world is complex, emergent, non-linear, and somewhat unpredictable. He found what he was looking for in a more participated project management style that uses, for instance, whole systems methodology and social network analysis and some glimpses of metis.

In chapter 2 the author analyses the project area using Peter Checkland’s Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) to create a rich project management picture. The author uses a social and political analysis of the environment. He analyses interventions to understand why stakeholders get a false sense of security from the prevalent project management frameworks. He continues to enrich the picture with a social analysis based on roles, values and norms. The chapter continues with a SSM analysis based on CATWOE (acronym for Customers, Actors, Transformation, Worldviews, Owners and Environment) to think about any purposeful activity. Here the author puts an interesting point on the table. In your projects you need to respect group knowledge to stimulate effectiveness of communication and interaction in project management networks (the ‘wisdom of groups’). The chapter ends with some other worldviews and feedback from the project management community why projects so often fail. The community is looking for emergent but still ‘project management’ control frameworks. Emergent meaning more flexible and the author sees this as an argument for more participative project management.

Chapter 3 gives a deep dive into those project management tools that the author considers to be too linear for complex project management environments, e.g. PRINCE2, ToC and Agile. He criticized the frameworks and describes some preliminary injections to make these frameworks better aligned with complexity.

The biggest part of this chapter is related to PRINCE2. It’s a pity that the author uses a very old version (2002) of PRINCE2. PRINCE2 is based on proven best practices and is updated every 4-5 years. As of version 2009 PRINCE2 is based on four integrated elements (7 principles, 7 themes, 7 processes and tailoring to the project environment). I am not saying that the linear approach has been changed but the principles of learning from experience, management by stages and tailoring includes several of the proposed injections. Management by stages supports the iterative approach and implies that there will be a high-level project plan and only for the current stage, a detailed stage plan exists. Something some managers don’t understand, they still want to have a detailed plan for the complete project! Also remarks about people issues are not taken into account in the product based planning technique, I don’t agree. From PBS, Product Descriptions and PFD you have to go into estimating. From estimating you will go into scheduling and this is the place to take these people issues into account, here you could even apply ideas from CCPM (Goldratt) into account. PRINCE2 doesn’t say you can’t, you have to tailor it, use common sense and use any technique, which will help you to manage your project.

Chapter 4 is about complex project management frameworks. Here, the author moves further away from linearity. He discusses more complexity-aligned models like the Cynefin model, PM-2, CPMCS, MODeST, …). He also gives some academic insights about systems theory, complexity and uncertainty, and their relevance to project management.

Using the Cynefin framework as a reference, the author created a project complexity matrix showing the four areas (within the complex) Simple, Complicated, Complex and Chaotic, their context’s characteristics, the project manager’s responsibilities and related project management tooling. I simple table and it gives a good overview. See also a simple video about the Cynefin framework (a simple explanation cynefin framework).

The next model is the PM-2 framework that can be used in parallel with the PMBoK (refers to this as PM-1) and is applicable to all kind of projects in different fields of business. PM-2 represents a ‘dual cybernetic cycle’ principle. The main characteristic is the co-existence of complexity management (evolution, self-organizing, edge-of-chaos) and traditional project management. The PM-2 model consists of a four-worlds vision (traditional approach, management of complexity, human behaviour, and ways of thinking).

A next model is CPMCS (Complex Project Management Competency Standard). It’s principles are similar to the concept of PM-2. CPMCS established nine new competency areas, titled views. Views provide insights from multiple perspectives that together provide holistic understanding (e.g. view 4: innovation, creativity, and working smarter). CPMCS is focused on large projects within specific fields of business (e.g. defence, climate change, construction of major plants, …).

The author ends this chapter describing some more models. MODesT is a framework that in the opinion of the author will not help you to manage complexity. A last model he describes is Harry Rorije’s project Kaleidoscope (four discs emphases project goal, approach, it’s steering, and environment). I was in the lucky circumstances to offer Harry a floor to test his model. See book review on my blog: book review ik zie ik zie wat jij de ontmaskering van projectmythes. For me this chapter offered a lot of new insights and that there are many more methods than Agile, PMBoK and PRINCE2 to help you manage projects.

In the last chapter of part A the author gives an overview of the foursquare semiotic dialogue model (coherence and contradiction between experienced coherence, affordance, homology and attributed coherence). This model leads to a dialogue square meaning creation (Counter circumstances, ascribe meaning/significance, uncertainty/creativity/strange attractors, Narrative/storied) to support you in asking ‘what’ questions (what factors are …, what externalities …, what trade-offs see …, etc.). By using this model you could understand that frameworks will not help managers to manage complexity in their projects.

As stated this is the last chapter of part A of the book. You now have an academic overview on several models and frameworks to help you with complex projects and the author’s view on shortcomings of existing linear methods like Agile, PMBoK and PRINCE2. A great piece of work which will definitely help you to enlarge your knowledge about project management frameworks and specifically when you talk about complex projects.

In a next blog post I will go into the second part of the book where the author uses two projects to show how the mentioned techniques and frameworks in this part are applied and the author will end with his view on project management.

To order:
Amazon: The metis of projects