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Tailoring (part 2) – Projects in Programmes

October 11, 2010


As I wrote in my last article about tailoring, it’s all about making choices! What do I have to do to be successful. This article I will getinto tailoring PRINCE2 to fit for projects within a programme and large projects versus small projects.
As was indicated earlier, one programme recognizes one or more projects and a number of activities. Think, for example, of an organization that is starting up a warehouse as a programme, where all kinds of projects are necessary to bring about its utilization. The aim of the programme is then formulated in terms of profits, stocks, number of customers (per time unit), etc. Examples of projects could be: the organization of the shop, constructing the parking bays, hiring of staff, etc. Nevertheless activities are still required to enable development and to realize benefits , such as the buying and selling of products.
With the tailoring of a project as a part of a programme, a few aspects are adapted: themes, processes and management products. For the programme management aspects reference is made to ‘Managing Successful Programmes’ (MSP) from the OGC.
With Starting up a Project within a programme there will usually be a good overview in place of what must happen in outline. The project mandate will mainly contain the information that is necessary to enable a Project Brief . Sometimes the complete Project Brief has already been delivered by the programmes. However, this Project Brief must not simply be accepted. It remains important to check again every time whether the delivered particulars are consistent and realistic. That is the responsibility of the Project Manager .
The Business Case of the project is defined on the basis of the standards of the programme. Sometimes the Business Case is provided by the programme or it can be a reduced level of content. The responsibility for realizing and monitoring the benefits of the project lies with the programme. The Benefits Review of the project can be a part of the benefits realization plan of the programme.
The organization structure is about an optimal connection being created between the programme and project organization for an efficient manner of reporting and reviewing. Often the role of Executive will be filled by the programme manager or a direct delegate. In this way coordinated Project Support and Project Assurance is also organized in most cases. This helps enormously with communication in the programme and across projects. In this way the underlying projects will get the necessary information of the programmes much more directly. And vice versa, with information about, for example, a project experiencing scope creep reaching other parties involved in the programme more seamlessly.
Another example of the possible integration of roles is that the change manager(s) in the programme can fill the role of Senior User(s) in the project. The design authority, or the architect of the programme, can also fill the role of Project Assurance or Change Authority in the project (see figure 1). What is important is that there is a clear division of responsibilities and that overlap is prevented.

Figure 1. Project and Programme management roles
(Source: Project management based on PRINCE2)

With any project that exceeds the planned level of change, coordination with programme management must take place and, where necessary, programme management will have to take decisions. Here one can for example think of not only changing of the objectives, but also changing the Business Case.
Another aspect is that the programme can supply the Quality Management Strategy for the project. In this way the programme can give advice about quality methods and provide help with the execution of quality control and quality assurance activities. With the planning of the project, care must be taken that the standards of the programme monitoring and control are followed. In the Project Plan dependencies with other projects within the programme must be covered.
When determining a project’s strategies, the strategies of the programme should form the starting point. It also has consequences for the techniques and classifications to be used, in the project. The issue solution strategy of the programme is used as a guideline for the issue and change procedures of the project.

The information management strategy of the programme will be a guideline for the Configuration Management Strategy of the project. In the same way the monitoring and control strategy of the programme is a guideline for reporting and monitoring activities of the project. In addition the programme determines the project tolerances and the number and length of the stages.

Scale of the project
The scale of a project doesn’t only relate to its size, but also the complexity, the risk and the importance of the project. For all PRINCE2 principles it must be established how they can be used instead of not using certain principles. The use of PRINCE2 can be regarded as the reduction of project failure. If an element of PRINCE2 is taken less seriously, it must be regarded as a risk.

Table 1. Examples of projects of different scales
(Source: Project management based on PRINCE2)

Large versus small projects
Medium-sized and large projects recognize several delivery stages in addition to the initiation stage. With short-running, non-complex projects with limited risks, the project may only consist of two management stages: the initiation stage and the delivery stage. With small and straightforward projects the Starting up a Project and Initiating a Project processes are sometimes combined (see figure 2).
In such cases the two processes can be informally dealt with together in a single discussion. It is advisable in such instances to record the decisions in a discussion memo. For example this could be possible where the project involves a small internal move within one department or something similar.

For small projects the Controlling a Stage process can be summarized in the following activities:

  • Allocating work to be executed;
  • Monitoring the progress;
  • Ensuring that the agreed quality is realized;
  • Ensuring that changes are carried out after approval;
  • Monitoring risks;
  • Reporting the progress of the work;
  • Keeping a watchful eye for changes occurring to the plan.

These activities must be carried out even in the smallest projects. The question is, however, whether reporting on these activities must always be done by means of bulky reports. In small and informal projects quite simple reports are adequate, or reporting can even be done verbally or via e-mail. However, the project management team must realize that verbal reports have inherent risks. An argument may develop about what had been agreed. And what happens if the Project Manager is temporarily unavailable or leaves the organization? The other themes can also be completed in a simpler manner, which results in smaller overheads.

Figure 2. Phasing projects
(Source: Project management based on PRINCE2)

For smaller projects and for those projects with only one team that reports directly to the Project Manager, the coordination between the Project Manager and the Team Manager can also be less formal. The Project Manager and the Team Manager may be one and the same person. The work of the Team Manager can be summarized as:

  • Setting up agreements on work that must be done;
  • Planning the work;
  • Supervising the execution;
  • Keeping an eye on the progress;
  • Reporting the progress;
  • Having the product s tested;
  • Recording the results;
  • Keeping up with the changes;
  • Ensuring that the products are checked;
  • Delivering the products to the Project Manager.

The role of Project Support can also be undertaken by the Project Manager.
For small projects the Closing a Stage process can be summarized in the following activities:

  • Checking whether everything has been delivered and accepted;
  • Checking that there are no loose ends;
  • Recording outstanding points;
  • Archiving the project file for later assessments;
  • Signing off people and resources.

Small projects and bureaucracy
Sometimes small projects are choked by too much paper and bureaucracy. Most procedures and templates in organization s that are developed to organize and manage projects, are based on large and complex projects. For organizations that have ISO certification, it is applicable for management and specialist activities to be thoroughly undertaken. That requires additional paper work and the accompanying signatures. This is not a PRINCE2 requirement, however.
PRINCE2 can reinforce all of this because the method is complete and is underpinned by a large number of templates. All available PRINCE2 templates are often also used to guarantee a feeling of maximum control over the project. The result is an overkill of documents. This can detract attention from what is really important and can create an aversion to all documents, including instances when a document is in fact important. An overkill of documents in any case costs a lot of time and attention to produce and study. This time and attention can often be better spent on other matters.
All PRINCE2 processes must be adhered to in every project. However, the question is whether all processes in a given project are so important that specific procedures and templates for the execution of these processes are necessary. It is important to use only those procedures and templates in a project that are really important in the given circumstances and provide added value for organizing and managing that project. For small projects certain processes can be gone through and completed quickly and informally.

Project Manager versus Team Manager
Small projects typically use one project team. Only members of the project team itself work on the project, reporting directly to the Project Manager. In addition two situations can arise:

  • Separate Work Package es are to be differentiated, but these Work Packages are still undertaken by one person. This person is then simultaneously a member of the team and Team Manager. In such a case the Project Manager and the Team Manager are separate people.
  • The Project Manager does not direct the team member at the level of Work Packages, but at the level of activities. That is also the case if the team member is not yet sufficiently senior to execute the Work Package independently and the Project Manager has sufficient subject content expertise about the work area to be executed. In such a case the Project Manager and Team Manager are one and the same person.

In small projects both situations can occur simultaneously. The second option, however, has the inherent danger that the team member concerned feels insufficiently involved and will sit back, “The Project Manager tells me what to do anyway. It is their project/problem and not my project/problem.” This develops especially when a team member (in their own estimation) has sufficient expertise to function as Team Manager, but is not given this responsibility. This is not good for team building and commitment in the team and only reinforces the risk that the Project Manager will still interfere with the content. Too often the Project Manager strongly interferes ‘out of habit’ with the content of the activities. It could be that the Project Manager is not used to directing on the basis of Work Packages and remains stuck in the old procedure. Coaching by a senior Project Manager is then necessary to avoid similar situations.

Large projects
There is essentially no difference between a ‘small’ and a ‘large’ project. A product or service still has to be delivered. A large project, however, is regarded as a project with several project parts where each is directed as a project, for example with its own Executive , Project Board and Project Manager. A Project Board that coordinates all the different Project Boards is responsible for the entire project. The building of the space shuttle is a huge project, just like the building of the Channel Tunnel. However, the result that is delivered is nonetheless still a product. It is for the customer to use the product and to realize their objectives with it. So, it remains a project and not a programme .
The difference between a portfolio of projects and a large project is that in a portfolio of projects the different projects sometimes deliver several results, sometimes solitary and sometimes in clusters, with each being capable of delivering added value for an organization; with a large project, one inextricably bound total result is delivered.
With a large project one can naturally use the same methods and techniques as with multi project management and with managing a portfolio of projects, and these techniques are found again in the management of programmes.

In the next article I will go into tailoring PRINCE2 for different kinds of projects and in different context. All kinds of projects have their own characteristics and possibilities to tailor it towards success!
Please feel free to comment on my articles. I’d love to get into remarks and questions.

For any other information, please mail me (

PRINCE in Practice meeting – 30th of June

August 5, 2010

I was looking forward to this event, the Prince in Practice meeting about portfolio management with Liander, titled ‘portfolio management and Liander, a good combination’. Liander/Nuon is a client for over 10 years now and I carry the organization and colleagues in my heart. It is a interesting environment with all kinds of elements that makes it dynamic and challenging. The approach was to share some knowledge and experience about (implementing) portfolio management based on our own experience in the last couple of years.

We had some 20+ project and programme managers joining us in this event. For starters I gave a presentation about the theoretical side of portfolio management; what is it about, how does it look like and how can you employ this in an organization. So we looked at different definitions of the item from several organizations and choose one of them as leading for this evening.

the management of a group of projects and programmes that collectively provide the new capabilities that are necessary to realize one or more strategic corporate objectives

Basic question was how to use portfolio management and also what the main reasons are to implement portfolio management. We discussed this from the perspective of both the organization as well as the project manager. Why should he choose for such approach or at least how can he profit best from this situation. It was a lively discussion and it was most interesting to see the balancing of disadvantages and advantages of implementing a management structure that is both increasing power for projects, but also feels like losing individual power as project manager. This is exactly what happens in organizations implementing portfolio management.

Next I explained more about the ways portfolio management can be positioned in the organization and the role of portfolio manager and portfolio  board. Also we looked at the factors that can determine a successful implementation and working portfolio management. This was the starting moment for Ben Tubben, manager Projects of Liander, to give some insights in the way portfolio management is being used within the Uitvoering- organization of Liander. He was very clear on the choices they made along the way and how this worked out for them.

Ben explained the roadmap to us, used by Liander for all their developments and how this interacts with portfolio management. He told us about the different aspects they used as pillars for implementation; Organization, Processes, Resources and People.

Finally Ben shared his dreams for portfolio management and his Projects department with us. It was a cloudy sky, but the sun was shining through the clouds. Ben, thanks so much for your open and meaningful presentation!

As I said, I was very excited to do this presentation with Liander. There was lots of interaction with the group and good discussions. Several of them continued during the closing drink. I want to thank all attendants for their contribution and inspiring feedback!

Download presentation: Presentatie_intrprimus_PiP Portfoliomgt en Alliander_v100

Improving projects by project leadership – part 2

July 26, 2010

In my blog article of April 26th I wrote about the importance of leadership in organizations and projects. As a result I got a lot of questions and comments.

I want to share a comment of my friend Allard de Ranitz :

“Personally I always enjoy the trivia that is created on any business level when people start using terms like maturity and leadership, without taking time with each other to identify what it is that we’re talking about. We all know what we mean, more or less, but the misunderstanding usually occurs right there in those areas; the more and the less…. Besides that, it is pretty difficult to support people in increasing their leadership and advancing their maturity levels when we don’t know exactly what we’re advancing or increasing, other than better, more and up… which are usually terms that coincide with measurable aspects of What we do and not How we do things.
The English language has a great word that helps identify the characteristics of maturity and leadership. ‘Responsibility’ when taken apart there’s two words that provide meaning to the word itself in a continuum. Response and Ability. With increasing ability to respond, you’re better equipped to take responsibility. Responsibility as such is all about the Response one creates as an answer, effect of or counter to a certain influence. The more mature your response the more effective the flow of things continues. Immature responses, therefore create disruptive flows. This is important to recognize, since it looks at maturity in a different way.
Most of the maturity models we know, like CMM(i), INK or EFQM consider maturity to be an increasing level of quality based on system borders. Level one deals with activities, projects, singular responses to stimuli where level two is based on repetitive action responses; being capable of repeating the same response to triggers, that worked the first time, when similar stimuli came your way. Level three already starts to recognize a larger scale outside of your own influential sphere to be reckoned with where levels four and five (and possibly beyond that where other models are concerned) increase the view of the system that is influential for and partial to an ‘Able Response’ – being that type of response that supports, possibly increases and not disrupts, the flow of things within that entire system.
Maturity therefore, has only to certain limitations to do with the skills with which a (project) manager, person, leader, fulfills there task. Much more so however, it deals with the overall capability to take perspectives; to see the whole picture from all different angles and to be Able to Respond to a trigger in such a way that the entire system flow is maintained. Just as ecological principles only stand up in larger perspectives, because the earth as a whole is one complex, intertwined related system, the same principle accounts for projects having to be viewed in light of business cases and organizational change and the maturity of organization responses to change having to be judged by their larger environment and effects on that.
In the smallest sense I respond to triggers, because of me having to respond to make me better; an egotistic, self oriented view on maturity. I can still show prevailing traits of managerial capacity, however since it is merely for my benefit, maturity cabn be considered low! When I can grow beyond ego and look at myself and the others concerned, my perspective becomes more ethnocentric and involves the good of the group. Maturity increases, since I encompass my fellow men / collegues into the course of action, however I can still and will disrupt the flow of my entire life system, merely trying to do what is good for me and the other and make money. The fact that I’m polluting my environment, wreaking havoc on  all other outside my system, is not included in my perspective, causes my ability to respond to only partially create flow, however disrupting it slowly on a larger level. When being able to see the entire system we’re part of and therefore creating perspectives on a system/world centric way, we’re able to make balanced decisions for the good of the entire flow. Possible shortly disrupting smaller streams, however in the end being able to create flow for the entire system and not merely for a partial impact. This is what Responsibility and the ability to Respond is all about.
To be able to develop the maturity of your Project managers, therefore is to be able to increase their way of perspective taking into a more systemsapproach and world centric view of responding. How do you do that, I can hear you ask. Well, there’s no simple conventional answer to this question.
The way forward lies in developing the consciousness of the Project manager. What research has found, is that the higher the consciousness the more empathic and world centric the being is. I suggest we incorporate a new way of developing people in organizations. Next to developing skills, knowledge and experience in the field and the subjects, which are all extremely necessary to be able to succeed, we should also start developing the personality beyond the ego. The conscious Project manager is someone who possesses all necessary skills and the personality to match it. A conscious human in a conscious mind. That’s Maturity and that is the maturity that creates a Great Response Ability!!!”

Introducing tailoring PRINCE2® (part 1)

July 5, 2010

Introduction basic principles

One of the characteristics of a project is that the change is unique, or in any case unique enough not to be managed under a line management function but to be started as a project. This means that, in principle, no project is the same as another. Just think of the different sizes of projects, the varying organizations, and the differences in respect of the types of product. Put alongside this the fact that no Project Manager, Executive or project environment is the same and the basis is established for ‘tailoring’.

Figure 1. Effects of tailoring (Source: Project management based on PRINCE2)

Naturally it is so that a number of types of change, projects and environments can be distinguished to get more insight into all this complexity. This is useful to determine the approach to the project or the selection of the Project Manager who will execute the project. It is important to look at what the project and sometimes even the stage requires. With every project or every stage the Project Manager and the Executive should check what the specific characteristics of the project and the environment are (see figure 1). The Project Manager must organize the project accordingly. In this PRINCE2 offers structured guidance to enable the organization of the project to be adapted for every required situation. As such it is a generic method of project management and the method can be used as the start point for organizing and managing all types of projects.

Tailoring a PRINCE2 project is all about making the application of PRINCE2 fit a particular project, so that the correct means of planning, controlling, directing and the use of processes and themes can be adopted.

On the other hand PRINCE2 is embedded with a method for organizing products. This refers to the assurance of the PRINCE2 method throughout the entire organization. The table below indicates all the interim changes and tailoring (see table 1).

Table 1. Embedding and tailoring (Source: Project management based on PRINCE2)

In tailoring the project organization all aspects of the project must be considered, thus all themes and processes of PRINCE2. What can be used and what not? Can processes be combined (think of Starting up a Project and Initiating a Project in a small project)? How does the terminology link up with the standard corporate terms? Which roles can be combined by one person? How is a link obtained between the programme and the project organization? Which project approach fits which type of project best at the moment? How are the templates and the management products used?

In this article I will give an illustration of a number of specific situations and the application of PRINCE2 that can be used. The aim of tailoring the method must always be that what is done is precisely what the project requires to be successful.

Nothing more and nothing less!


Projects never stand alone and are always executed in conjunction with many factors – whether these are environmental factors or project factors. In figure 1 a few examples of such factors have been included. So, tailoring is also about the application of PRINCE2 bearing in mind the external factors.

PRINCE2 has a number of generic principles, themes and processes, but also a few specific topics such as terminology, management products and roles. The principles are universal starting points for project management and in this sense must always be applied in a PRINCE2 project. The themes are the aspects of project management that must be addressed continually and integrally during the entire lifecycle of a project. These aspects must be tailored for the specific project and for the specific circumstances. This often happens in the different project strategies. In a formal organization the risk strategies will, for example, be much more formally structured than in a more vision driven organization. Also the way of directing the line organization to the projects will differ in similar organizations and this will have an impact on the plans and strategies.

The PRINCE2 processes consist of connected activities that must be executed at certain times in the lifecycle of the project. It is therefore not advisable to leave these activities out or to skip them. The art is in the application of these process activities, giving each the attention that it deserves. It is thus more a question of how extensively and formally an activity must be executed, or the extent to which activities can be combined, rather than omitting activities altogether.

The same applies for the roles within PRINCE2. The starting point is that the correct person must fulfill the correct role in terms of the appropriate tasks, responsibilities and qualifications, and that everyone is clear what these roles, tasks, responsibilities and qualifications are, and not there is a signed role description available for every party. That can be necessary in critical projects with external parties, but that will more likely work counterproductively in other projects.

The terminology of PRINCE2 is one of the great plus points of using it as standard methodology. By all using the same terms and knowing what they mean, there is much less miscommunication, making the hand-over of work easier. That does not mean that the PRINCE2 terminology must always be insisted on. If everyone in an organization has been used to referring to a project contract instead of a Project Brief and the meaning is the same, then it is probably advisable to continue to use the existing terms.

In principle this also applies to the application of management products. It is sometimes advisable to keep on using existing documents or lay-outs and to enrich these on the basis of the set-up of the management products of PRINCE2, rather than replacing them altogether. One should take care that all aspects are addressed.

It is always advisable to pay attention to all the parts. Make a conscious choice if it is necessary and, if yes, to what extent it is necessary to describe the part. Avoid bulky plans in which all aspects are described in detail, when this does not contribute to the success of the project. This costs unnecessary energy, time and money.

Whatever an example is given, there will always be a unique situation in a project, so on the basis of that, choices are made for its organization. It is all about the purpose, not the means! Just think: There are no bureaucratic methods… only the bureaucratic applications of methods. Bureaucracy is a choice!

The above example ends with the most important starting point in the tailoring of PRINCE2. CHOOSE CONSCIOUSLY!


In the next article I will go into tailoring PRINCE2 for projects within a programme. This project environment has its own characteristics and possibilities to keep PRINCE slim and lean! So it seems to probably become a interesting article again :-).

Please feel free to comment on my articles. I’d love to get into remarks and questions.

For any other information, please mail me (

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Differences in PRINCE2® v2009 versus v2005

June 23, 2010
In 2009 OGC, the owner of the project management method PRINCE2, has released a new edition of the PRINCE2 manual. In this 2009 edition there are several changes were applied to improve the method. The fundamentals of the PRINCE2 method have not changed. The most important improvement is that the underlying principles of PRINCE2 are now explicit guiding principles for the content of the themes and processes as these are defined within the method (see figure 1).

Figure 1. Differences in PRINCE2TM v2009 versus V2005
(source: Project management based on PRINCE2, 2009 Edition)

The principles are also emphatic guiding principles for tailoring the method to a specific project in a given context. It is explicitly stated that deviation from the use presented in the themes and processes is possible, but that if not all PRINCE2 principles are applied in a project, it can no longer be termed a PRINCE2 project. The changes that have been implemented can be distinguished according to methodical changes, changes in the structure of the manual and smaller changes within a specific theme, product or process.
Structural changes
The most important structural changes are:
• Firstly, of course, the new chapter that has been added in which the PRINCE2 principles are explicitly named and described.
• More attention has been paid to adapting the method to a specific project in a given context.
• This has now become a separate chapter called Tailoring PRINCE2.
• The method is less prescriptive. With regard to many subjects, it is stated that deviation from the approach described is possible. It is stated that it is better to work according to the spirit of the method than to adhere to the rules of the manual.
• The method is less bureaucratic. Sub-processes have been swapped for activities. Fewer management products have been defined.
• There is now greater emphasis on learning from experience. In the first PRINCE2 process, learning from experience gleaned from previous projects is expressly mentioned as an activity.
• Lessons now come up for discussion in all reporting and meetings. Conveying one’s own experiences to the corporate or programme management is now included during stage boundaries too.
• There is a clearer link to other OGC methods, such as Management of Successful Programmes (MSP) and Management of Risk (M_o_R).
• Strategies have been introduced for risks, quality, configuration management and communication, all in line with MSP.
• There is more reference to techniques to be used. Reference is made to frequently-used techniques, not only in planning but also for risks and (for example) the Business Case.
• Delivery of the results in stages is pointedly assumed.
Changes to the manual
• First of all, the manual has been reduced from some 450 pages to around 330 pages, primarily by removing duplication of components and processes.
• The components have become themes and have been put before the processes. As themes they have also become what they are, namely areas for attention, without wishing to create an impression of being integral to a project – the term ‘component’ suggests.
• The eight components have been reduced to seven themes. Configuration management has now been integrated into the Change theme.
• Control aspects have now been renamed as the Progress theme.
• The Techniques section is now defunct. The techniques are now described in the relevant themes, alongside other important techniques.
• The number of processes has been reduced from eight to seven. The Planning process has now been included as a procedure within the Planning theme. This puts planning in line with other procedures, such as those of risk management and change control, which always used to be dealt with like procedures within the components/themes.
• There are more support and guidelines for the members of the Project Board and the senior management. To this end, the OGC has even published a separate manual with a separate exam associated with it.
• The appendix incorporating risk categories has become defunct.
• The health check has now been arranged according to the different steps in the project process.
Detailed changes
• Business Case – The Post-Project Review Plan is now called Benefits Review Plan. This plan is now created during initiation of the project and assessed by the Project Board during project authorization. For each stage, the Benefits Review Plan is brought up to date. Justification of the project is now based on whether the project is wanted, viable and achievable. The lifecycle of the Business Case is now subdivided into developing, verifying and confirming. The Business Case now also contains an Executive summary, dis-benefits and benefit tolerances. In the case of delivery in stages, benefits reviews can be held during the project.
• Organization – The four levels of management are now called corporate or programme management, directing, managing and delivering. The Change Authority has now been included in the organization chart. The configuration librarian is now part of the Project Support. In line with MSP, the Senior User is now responsible for identifying and defining the benefits and the operational or programme management holds this role responsible for demonstrating that the benefits forecasted are being achieved. The agreements on communication are now detailed in a Communication Management Strategy.
• Quality – There is now greater emphasis on the quality of the products. The quality path has been replaced by a quality audit path with overlapping paths for quality planning and quality management and quality control. The ‘project product’ has been introduced, which refers to the project’s final product to be delivered. The Project Product Description contains the customer quality expectations, the acceptance criteria and the quality tolerances at project level. The Project Quality Plan has been replaced by the Quality Management Strategy. The Stage Quality Plan is no longer distinguished separately in the Stage Plan.
• Plans – The method now states that a Product Description is required for all products identified. In contrast to this, the technique focus on products, which is now explained within the Planning theme, is less prescriptive. Thus for external products they only ‘advise’ choosing an anomalous colour or shape, for example.
• Risks – This chapter has been completely revised and therefore ties in heavily with the Management of Risks (M_o_R) method from the OGC. The agreements on approach to risk are now set down in a Risk Management Strategy. The risk process has been modified. Risks are now distinguished according to opportunities and threats. The responsibilities of the risk owner have been extended and the role of a risk-actionee is now recognized. The Risk Log has now become a formal Risk Register, which is created during the initiation of a project.
• Change – The Daily Log is now also used to record issues and risks that can be managed informally. The change procedure has been modified. Formal issues are now recorded in an Issue Register. The configuration management has been fully integrated into the Change theme. The approach to change control and configuration management is now recorded in the Configuration Management Strategy.
• Progress – The Progress theme replaces the Control component. This theme now concentrates entirely on the implementation of the project. The control aspects in the processes Starting up and Initiating a Project and Closing a Project are now no longer dealt with within this theme.
• Starting up a Project (SU) – Now also specifies the review of previous lessons. The project organization, the project approach and the Project Product Description have now been incorporated into the Project Brief. The Daily Log and Lessons Log are arranged in this process.
• Directing a Project (DP) – This process now begins at the end of the SU process in response to the request to commence initiation of the project. Apart from this, the DP process in itself has largely stayed the same. However, whereas in the past the Project Board requested initiation of the process Managing a Stage Boundary and premature closure of a project, this action is now the responsibility of the Project Board itself.
• Initiating a Project (IP) – The first activities of this process are now developing the different strategies for risk management, quality control, configuration management and communication management. The Risk Register is now arranged in this process too. The ‘PID’ is now defined as the Project Initiation Documentation. It now has to be explicitly recorded in the PID how the PRINCE2 method has been tailored to a project in this context.
• Controlling a Stage (CS) – This process has largely stayed the same. Only the sub-processes ‘capture’ and ‘examine issues’ have now been merged and extended into one activity: capturing and examining issues and risks.
• Managing Product Delivery (MP) – This process has largely stayed the same. Only the responsibility for recording the risks and the results of the quality reviews has now been returned to the Project Manager or (as the case may be) Project Support.
• Managing a Stage Boundary (SB) – The name of this process is now in the singular. The action ‘update the Risk Register’ is now part of the ‘update Business Case’ activity. The PID and the Benefits Review Plan are now being updated. The products completed in the project up until that point can already be delivered in stages and transferred to the customer. The formulation of a Lessons Report and recommendations for follow-on actions can now be part of this process.
• Closing a Project (CP) – New here are the activities prepare planned closure and prepare premature closure. Separate activities for handing over projects and recommending project closure have now also been defined. In principle, the Lessons Report and the recommendations for follow-on actions are now part of the End Project Report.
Tailoring PRINCE2
This is a new chapter. Whereas previously this aspect was addressed separately in the various processes, it has now been merged into one chapter. This subject has also been expanded considerably with regard to what had been set down in the 2005 version of the PRINCE2 manual. A distinction is made between implementing the method in an organization and tailoring the method to a specific project in a given context. The various aspects of the project and the environment that merit adaptation of the method to the project are examined. In addition to this, the differences between project and programme management are explained and the possible connections between the project and programme organization are examined. Finally it is explained how the method can be tailored to projects of different size and complexity.
• A. Arrangement of management products – The number of products has been reduced from 36 to 26. Further explanation is now given for each product. How the different management products can best be presented has been added.
• Governance – This is an entirely new appendix in which it is shown how and to what extent the PRINCE2 method covers governance of the principles of project management as published by the British Association for Project Management (not included in this book).
• B. Roles and responsibilities – The role Change Authority has been added. The role project office has become defunct. The requisite competencies for the various roles have been added.
• C. Example of product-based planning – This example has moved from the previous technique focus on products to the appendix. A Project Product Description and an example of a product breakdown structure in the form of a mind map have been added.
• E. List of terminology – This has been expanded in relation to the previous version.
• F. Other information – This contains a brief explanation of the various methodologies supported by the OGC.
So quite a lot has changed in the 2009 version, but the fundamental principals are still in place. I think the new edition is a real improvement regarding the 2005 version and easier to work with in practice. The biggest advantage are the explicitly made guidelines for tailoring PRINCE2 to your own situation.
Good luck applying PRINCE2!

PRINCE2® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce in the United Kingdom and other countries

Our goals for our book “Project Management based on PRINCE2™”

May 7, 2010
In the last couple of years I published several books about project management and programme management. For most of them I worked with Bert Hedeman, my good friend and fellow guru in this field of expertise. With every book we wrote we had some goals in mind we wanted to achieve. We wanted our books to add value to the books already available. In this article I want to give you some insights on our goals and ideals.
The reason for us to think about writing a book about project management was the observation that an increasing number of organizations were working in a project-like manner and were using the PRINCE2® project management method. For these organizations the advantages of using one uniform standard method are obvious: a uniform method of working and terminology makes projects comparable, transferable and orderly. Moreover, PRINCE2 has additional qualities, such as the standard ‘no go’/’go’ decision with each stage, the Business Case at the centre of the project and clear agreements about who is responsible for what.
Our book is intended for everyone doing projects in their daily work. It is written for Project Managers, Project Leaders and Team Managers and all others who are involved with the starting up and management of projects. It aligns with the 2009 Edition of the PRINCE2 methodology, with many lists serving as reference material for all project types and sizes. As our book illustrates, PRINCE2 is quite logical and this title demonstrates why it is often referred to as a structured best practice for project management. In addition, the contents of the book meet the majority of the theoretical requirements set for successfully passing the PRINCE2 Foundation exam. It also provides a good reference title as part of the wider reading and practical experience required from those taking the Practitioner exam.
In this book, we have tried to combine our long experience in project management and PRINCE2 training. Using this background we explain the PRINCE2 approach in a structured manner, complemented with useful examples to help bring the theory alive. The Themes, Processes, techniques and Management Products as defined in PRINCE2 are explained in an easy-to-read, concise text. In the appendices you will find an example of a Project Brief and a paragraph on how to deal with lessons learned in a project.

Enriching the PRINCE2 Manual
Although this book is based on the manual ‘Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2™’ from the OGC, which was fully revised in 2009. It is by no means the intention to ’translate’ the manual, but rather to make the methodology more accessible to the reader and to ‘enrich’ it with additions, practical tips and examples. It provides insight into how PRINCE2 can be used to manage projects and thus serves as a practical reference work for the experienced Project Manager. Thanks to its accessibility, the book is also extremely well suited to being used by anyone wishing to acquaint himself/herself with the method or working on a team engaged in projects (PRINCE2 or otherwise).
For instance, we wanted to provide the reader with extra information about working in a project management environment. So with Chapter 1 we added an introduction to Project Management. This first chapter provides the reader with insight into what a project is or is not, why projects are ‘different’ and what managing projects entails. In chapter 2  we introduced PRINCE2 and specifically examines what the PRINCE2 method encompasses, the structure of the method, its relationship to other OGC guidelines, what is not included in the method’s scope, the benefits of the method and the differences between the 2005 version and the 2009 version. In the rest of the chapters we go through the fundamental principles, themes and processes of PRINCE2.

Preparation for exams
In the PRINCE2 method, a PRINCE2 Foundation and PRINCE2 Practitioner exam can be taken based on Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2TM.
The PRINCE2 Foundation exam is aiming to measure whether a candidate could be act as an informed member of a project management team on a project using the PRINCE2 method. The PRINCE2 Practitioner exam is aiming to measure whether a candidate could apply PRINCE2 to the running and managing of a non-complex project within an environment supporting PRINCE2. With this book we provide a good basis for both exams.
So overall we aimed for a practical, easy-to-read book for project managers with all knowledge of PRINCE2 to pass the examination. But also a comprehensive book about working in a project management environment. Follow this link when you want to know more about the book or buy it.

PRINCE2® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce in the United Kingdom and other countries.

Improving projects by project leadership

April 26, 2010

Last week I was talking to a friend of mine, Peter Milovic, about the significance of the presence of real leadership in organizations. We explored several paths of why organizations are successful in their field of expertise. And every time we concluded that leadership is such a major factor, if not the key factor, for a successful future.

I also experienced this last year when I was coaching a young project managers for improving project management skills. The basic approach for improving project managers is often that a project management method is introduced and as part of the further development, the use of the project management method is regularly discussed. In this situation we hardly talked about the method at all and focussed on the ability to see and feel the projects environment and the wishes of the stakeholders. We focused on what was needed at that moment to maintain a successful course for the project or enhance the chances of success for the project?

In the sessions we worked on several key factors for project management and the way the project managers could transform this into daily practice. It was amazing to see how in a relative short period the project managers developed a feeling for real project management skills. Not the management of the documents or following the project process steps because it’s prescript. No, they made the step from project management to project leadership. As a result the effectiveness as project manager increased enormously as well as the value for the organization. The project managers developed a genuine motivation to be successful and the skills to match that. Isn’t that the development we all want for our (junior) project managers?

My dream is that a increasing group of coaches and leaders will join in this development. I’m convinced it will bring more passion in organizations and will help to lower operational cost and increase the benefits enormously. Do you want to join? Please leave a comment with your thoughts.

Books of Gabor Vis van Heemst

April 22, 2010

Since 2001 I published several books about project and programmemanagement.

This year my new book ‘Project Balanced Scorecard, Passion For Aligning Projects With People’ will be published.

Check my LinkedIn
and the website

A Clarifying moment

April 8, 2010

Recently one of my trainees, a bright young guy at an energy company, gave me some feedback on my work. He said: ‘you allowed me to make progress and let me grow, just by asking the right questions’. Besides being honoured with this comment, it was a clarifying moment for me.

I mean, how often are we, as a committed coach, not tempted to get personally involved with the candidate and his/her problem. Most of the times we can relate to the problem and get enthusiastic about the content or context. From experience we know, or maybe we think we know, what the problem is all about and what ‘the’ solution should be. But do we really? Aren’t we painting our own picture based on assumptions? And does it matter if we really know the problem from our own experience?

The remark of this candidate that I asked the right questions reminded me off my role and position as coach. It was an eye opener that helped me to realize again what my goal is as a coach. I am not there to be prejudice about the case or candidate. It is not about me, it’s about the other to be able to give authentic answers to his/her challenges. It’s about giving room to grow and feeling the victory of coming up with own answers and booking results in practice. When I think about this, I suddenly recognize the positive feeling and the driving energy accordingly. This is what it’s all about!