Prince 2 Methodology Overview

Project Management Processes - Under development

A procedure is an established method of meeting a business requirement or a traditional order of processes followed to meet a particular outcome. A process is defined as a series of events or steps taken to achieve completion of a procedure.

In Quality Assurance, you start with a companies core procedures, then detail the processes required to achieve and monitor your effectiveness of meeting these Procedures, and as appropriate, provide detailed work instructions on how to complete each process.

The same analogy holds true for a project. A project is like a procedure and requires processes to be carried out at each stage of the project to archive and monitor the effectiveness of completing the project on time and within budget. Within Prince 2 there are eight key processes, each one is applied to the project as appropriate:

  1. Directing a Project (DP) - this is a project board/Program management process that runs from the start of a project through to its completion, and includes the following steps:

    • Approving the project brief
    • Authorising the Project Initiation document and the Business Case.
    • Taking ownership of the Project
    • Authorising the start of each stage
    • Reviewing the project status at the end of each stage
    • Provide direction and guidance to the Project Manager
    • React and manage exception situations
    • Liaising with corporate members
    • Confirmation of project completion and handover (Closure)

  2. Planning (PL) - Interactive steps involved in planning and re-planning the delivery of required products or steps within a project and it's associated stages. This includes:

    • Writing a description of the final product
    • Defining a breakdown of the product components
    • Define the product quality requirements
    • Creating a flow (Gantt) chart showing the creation of the product components and their interdependencies
    • Identify the activities required to create the product and its components
    • Estimate the duration and effort required for each activity
    • Asses all risks
    • Calculate the costs
    • Identify the management control points
    • Document the plan, all assumptions, and justification

  3. Starting a Project (SU) - to if you you have a viable and worthwhile project, the following process steps are completed:

    • Ensure that you are authorised to undertake the project
    • Confirm that the information is available to meet the project objectives, scope, and manage any constraints.
    • Design and appoint the project management team
    • Agree the steps to be taken to deliver the project
    • Create, agree, and initiate the Stage Plan

  4. Initiating a Project (IP) - the first stage of a project, which provides a firm foundation by scoping the management of the project. This process includes:

    • Checking that everyone understands the scope and objectives of the project
    • Confirming that an approved business case exists
    • Checking that the project is adequately planned and costed
    • Carry out a review of any identified risks
    • Obtain commitment from the project board to proceed to the next stage

  5. Managing Product delivery (MP) - Delivery of product and components by the project team
    • Project team agree and accept work packages from the project manager
    • Ensuring completion of the required works
    • Reporting on progress
    • Ensuring quality requirements are met
    • obtaining approval for completed products & components

  6. Controlling a Stage (CS) - the day to day management of project activities. As appropriate, each stage includes the following steps:

    • Approving work carried out by the project team
    • Monitoring and reporting on project progress
    • Capturing and logging project issues
    • reviewing and evaluating required changes
    • Carrying out any corrective actions
    • Confirm delivery of completed steps from the project team

  7. Managing Stage Boundaries (SB) - The project managers responsibilities at the end of each stage, or enable corrective action following an exception,. As appropriate this includes:

    • Reporting on the delivery of the stage products and components
    • Recommending any follow up actions
    • Planning post project review (s)
    • Reviewing project management and reporting any lessons learned
    • Project decommissioning and handover

  8. Closing a Project (CP) - Ensure a clear end and handover of a project following either successful completion or or early termination of the project. This includes:

    • Report on the completion of project objectives defined in the Project Initiation Document
    • Recommend any required actions
    • Plan post project review
    • Assess how the project was managed and report any lessons learned
    • Decommission the project and as appropriate handover the product

Project components

There are a number of key components are used in the Prince 2 methodology, moving clockwise starting with the Business Case:

Business Case

A Business Case contains the details, reasons, and justification for carrying out a project. It includes a cost benefit analysis of all the components affected by the project, no matter how small. This should include any impact on core procedures, related processes, personnel, accommodation, or products


The organisation must include, and have agreement (authorisation) from the owners of:

  • Requirements Definition (i.e. Customer SOR etc...)
  • Budget Holders
  • Resources
  • Change Management
  • Day to Day Task Management
  • Standards requirement

    In some instances, for example, with small projects, the same person may own more than one of these elements. A typical project organistion would include the following people:

    Project Board - represents the interest of the customer, user, and supplier. It provides direction and management during the life of the project. Ensuring the project remains on track, as defined in the Business Case, and within budget whilst retaining quality.

    Responsibilties include:

    Project Startup

  • Approve project brief and authorise startup
  • Agrees project tolerances
  • Defines project assurance criteria
  • Agree the project managers objectives and responsibilities
  • Commits resources to initiation stage
  • Authorise the Project Initiation Document

Project Stages

  • Review the project status and the end of each stage
  • Authorise the start of the next stage or project termination
  • Confirm that project is on track in line with the Business Case
  • Review and authorise exception plans
  • Approve any project changes
  • Provide ongoing guidance to the Project Manager
  • Report progress to corporate management

Project End

  • Confirm successful delivery of the project Business Case
  • Confirm agreement for handover of project outcome to operations/support
  • Approve End of Project Report
  • Review lessons learned
  • approve the Post Project Review Plan.
  • Authorise Project Closure

Project Board Executive - As owner of the Business Case, the executive has ultimate responsibility for the success of the project, and ensures that the solution is fit for purpose, stays within budget, whilst balancing the needs of the business, users, and suppliers.

Project Board Senior User - responsible for the accurate specification of the requirements, making sure that delivery is fit for purpose and within the constraints of the Business Case.

Project Board Senior Supplier - repsonsible for the design, development, procurement, and implementation of the project products.

Project Manager - Runs the project on a day to day bases on behalf of the project board. Repsonsible for ensuring that the project delivers quality product on time and within budget. The project manager will:

  • Project documentation - Project Initiation Document, Project and stage plans
  • Obtain Project Plan approval from the Project Board
  • Define and allocate responsibilities for work
  • Monitor and control the progress of the project according to the Business Case.
  • Manage risk and contingency plans
  • Agree performance and delivery of work with Team Managers
  • Schedule stage control points
  • Manage Project Assurance
  • Prepare and p[resent project reports to the board
  • Maintain risk, quality, and issue logs
  • Mange excpetion plans

Team Manager - As required, manages direct and third party work suppliers:

  • Negotioates work requirements with the Project Manager
  • Plans and allocates work within the teams
  • Monitor progreaa and initiate any corrective actions
  • Report progress to the Project Manager
  • Liaise with Project Assirance and maintain records of quality checks

Project Assurance - Independant to the Project Manager, Project Assurance monitors the project to assure that the project specification and standards relating to the Business Case continue to be met. This should ensure;


  • Project costs and schedule are being monitored
  • Project remains vaiable and provides value for money
  • Project meets strategy and programme requirments
  • Focus is maintained within the Business Case
  • Communication between all parties is maintained
  • Risks are being contraolled


  • An acceptable solution is developed and maintained
  • Needs and expectations are being managed effectively


  • Communication is maintained between customer and suppliers
  • The needs of the specialist work are identified and recognised
  • the scope of the project remains within scope
  • Required standards are being used and are effective

Project Support - Provides support to one or more project as required, and covers:

  • Administration of project documentation including control reviews, meetsings and communications.
  • Provides expert assistance to the project for project tools, estimates, planning and standards.


Plans should be hierarchical, for example, they should include the following levels:

Programme - These are optional plans used when managing a number of projects that may use common (shared) resources.
Project - A high level plan showing key deliverables (stages) and major control (review) points of the project. It is used to summarise and monitor costs against a baseline as you progress through a project.
Stage - A stage Plan contains the day to day detail details required to manage one stage of a project. Stages may be sequential, or in some cases concurrent, to other project stages.
Team - These are optional plans used to manage more detailed activities within a stage, and would be developed alongside the development of the associated stage plans.
Exception - These plans are common to other plans and are used at any time during a project when the project manager identified an exception that deviates beyond tolerance levels set by the project board. An exception plan replaces an existing plan showing the work and resources required to react to an exception or deviation

Plans are often represented as a flow (Gantt) chart:

All plans should include the following details at the appropriate level:

  • Description of the plan
  • Pre requisites and assumptions
  • External Dependencies
  • Tolerances
  • Risk Analysis
  • Resources and Budget requirements
  • Graphical Summary, for example, a Gantt Chart


A Schedule of Controls is required for each stage of a project, which is reviewed on a regular basis with appropriate reports generated and logs kept . As well as monitoring and reporting on the quality and progress of a project against the schedule, controls aid any decision that may be required regarding the continued viability of a project against the business case.

Controls include the following decissions:

Project Initiation - Yes or No?
Stage end assessment - On courSe? risks managed? Still Viable? Move to next stage?
Highlight Reports -
Exception Reports -
Project Closure -
Stages -
Tolerances -
Product Descriptions -
Work Packages -
Project Issues -
Risk Log -

Risk Management


Project Quality


Config' Management


Change Control