Prince 2 - Sunrise Software

There’s a lot of coverage in the press at the moment about the end of ITIL. To be honest, I’m not convinced this is the case; ITIL has embedded itself in the way we work, the language we use, and the software tools that run our support service.

It’s not ITIL that I want to discuss, however, it’s a close cousin – Prince 2. I can understand the benefits of a having a robust project methodology, but I’ve never really got on with Prince 2. I think it’s over-complicated, and not especially practical. I know that the idea is to modify it to your own needs, but I have seen very few instances where this has been done successfully.

I’ve lost count of the number of IT people who have come to me requesting a Prince 2 course because they are working on “projects”. Of course, I’m sure I get these requests because it looks good on the CV, but there is a perception that you can’t run a project unless you are Prince 2 qualified.

I’ve always felt that the best project managers are the people who are generally well organized, and have an ability to persuade people to do work quicker than they ordinarily would. As with many aspects of IT, success comes through behavioural qualities (such as communication skills) as opposed to qualifications.

Lazy recruitment is to blame too; I’ve seen dozens of job descriptions and person specifications which say that Prince 2 is an essential requirement. Usually, it isn’t, but if the job involves projects, there is a tendency to include it anyway.

Let’s be clear. Prince 2 is about project governance – making sure that projects don’t fail. It has nothing to do with the successful running of a project and it doesn’t guarantee any beneficial outcomes.

My guess is that the best predictors of project success are 1) a clear scope, 2) an experienced project manager and 3) a committed executive sponsor. If these things aren’t in place, then Prince 2 will make no difference at all to the outcome of the project.

Let’s hang on to ITIL, and bin Prince 2 instead.

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