PRINCE2 Agile is a Project Management methodology developed for the UK Government. It was designed to create a high-governance framework for traditional predictive projects.
It is for PRINCE2 Project Managers who need to be able to tailor PRINCE2 to an agile context or environment.
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PRINCE2 Agile lets practitioners combine the strong governance principles of PRINCE2 with the flexibility, responsiveness, and rapid benefits delivery of agile methods such as Scrum and Kanban.
It offers a certification for individuals involved with project, product, and program delivery and support. Its owners claim PRINCE2 Agile is the world’s most complete agile project management solution.
There are two tiers of training and certification:
At first glance, it certainly seems that way. Most people see the PRINCE2 methodology in Axelos’s ‘Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2’ manual as rigorous, prescriptive, and highly predictive in nature. It’s certainly a more formal approach that places a big emphasis on governance and control. After all, PRINCE stands for Projects IN Controlled Environments!
So, it is easy to see it as very much a ‘command and control’ project management style.
And those who are comfortable with that aspect of PRINCE2 can see Agile methods, with their lack of structure, as a little bit (or a lot) anarchic.
The key to this is ‘Tailoring‘. It’s a central principle of PRINCE2, which could mean that the flexibility of Agile is already part of PRINCE2. PRINCE2 Agile is an effective hybrid approach to project management.
But it is one that allows organizations to combine what is best for them in terms of delivery, with an imperative for a strong governance framework.
Therefore, PRINCE2 Agile helps organizations synthesize two very different but complementary approaches to get the best of both worlds.
The best of both worlds
So, this means teams on a PRINCE2 Agile project can use any development approach they choose: Scrum, Kanban, or any other. The only requirement is that they comply with the structures and governance that PRINCE2 wraps around the agile cycles.
In the schematic diagram below, the agile process is scrum.
Stages are NOT Agile iterations, but are similar to normal PRINCE2 stages. Each one contains one or more ‘release’ and each ‘release’ contains one or more ‘iterations’. PRINCE2 Agile follows DSDM terminology, calling its iterations ‘timeboxes’.
PRINCE2 has 6 performance targets (time, cost, quality, scope, risks, benefits).
In PRINCE2 Agile, time and cost are fixed – they cannot change. So, to deliver what users need, scope and quality criteria can be flexed, as agreed with the customer. They can also determine how much risk to accept and the amount of benefit they will prioritize. To achieve this PRINCE2 Agile uses prioritization techniques such as MoSCoW, along with sprint backlogs.
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Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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