Management Stages within a PRINCE2 project - PRINCE2 Primer Practitioner Exam Training Online (2022)

Management Stages within a PRINCE2 project

When running my PRINCE2 training courses a very common question is ‘how many management stages should my project have?’ My first response is to remind the delegates that there are two types of stages; technical stages and management stages.

Technical stages described what was often called phases; that is the way in which the technical work is broken down. Examples here are designed phrase, development phase, testing phase, and so on. Since projects have several specialist teams and specialist individuals involved, technical phrase work can often occur in parallel.

Management stages however are entirely different and must be managed in a different manner.

Choosing the most appropriate number of management stages, their duration, and where the end stage assessment occurs, is a factor of control within a PRINCE2 project.

It is worth reminding you that the first management stage in any PRINCE2 project is the initiation stage, which is where the project plan is created (amongst other key documentation contained within the Project Initiation Documentation – the PID).

The project plan lays down the number of management stages and their timing as mentioned above. Every PRINCE2 project has at least two management stages; the initiation stage plus one delivery stage. Most projects require several management stages for specialist product delivery.

The project board are given a plan for each next management stage and this is reviewed at each end stage assessment before proceeding to the next stage. Into this way the project manager is given authority to deliver the project one management stage at a time.

During each management stage the project will receive a regular highlight report to advise them of progress, because they are managing by exception. Tolerance is also set at each end stage assessment, so that the project board can be confident that should the project deviate beyond tolerance, that the project manager will bring this to me to lead to their attention via an exception report during themanagement stages.

It is clear that the number of management stages, their duration, and at the end stage assessment points set the amount of management control within a project. Since a typical stage plan contains resources and hence costs, the project board must think carefully about the application of management stages to the project.

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The number of management stages within a project is clearly a balance between risk and cost as well as other factors. For example a high risk project would tend to have shorter management stages since the project board would want to review progress and the overall project status more often.

Since project board members are usually senior managers, the amount of time and effort they spend on the project needs to be kept to a minimum, still having a project with many short management stages is not a good idea.

You can clearly see that there must be many factors that influence the number of management stages within a given project, and here are some that are worth considering:

Stage cost

If, for a particular organisation, the project is seen as high cost, increasing the project down into management stages may be helpful in committing money to the project. Although the total project budget maybe agreed, the release of funds can be limited to that needed for each stage at the time each stage is authorized by the project board.

Another cost aspect is the maximum amount of money that an organization feels comfortable with when allocating each stage. If an expensive stage requires too much money, then it may be split into two stages in order to control cash flow.

There will naturally be points within the project where a significant spend is expected, for example letting a contract for project equipment or resources. It makes sense to ensure that an end stage assessment takes place prior to such a spend.

The value of this approach, is that the project board gets the opportunity to review the status of the project at the end stage assessment, and only when it make sense for a project to continue, is the next stage (with the significant expense) authorized.

Project manager and team experience in management stages

If a project manager is not very experienced, and the specialist team have not worked together before, this would suggest that the project board may need to set shorter and more regular management stages so that they can exercise a reasonable amount of control.

The shorter management stages mean that the project board will have more opportunity to review the project status at stage boundaries so that they can make better informed choices and hence reduce the risk to the project.

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The reverse situation is also true; for example if a project manager is known to be experienced, then the project board may be happy for less, and longer, management stages.

Management Stages risk and complexity

As already mentioned, high risk projects need shorter management stages and more of them. It should be clear that in a typical project each stage has different characteristics depending upon what products need to be created.

The risk register is created during the initiation stage and contains all the known risks. Each risk has various data within risk register. Some of this data includes; the risk probability, the risk impact, the risk proximity (when the risk may occur), and the risk severity.

By observing which risks may occur in which of the management stages, decisions can be made about end stage assessment points and stage duration.

Turning to complexity, this by its very nature, leads to increased risk. In a similar manner to above, the project board will want to break the project down into several short management stages in order to exercise greater control within such a complex project.

Product creation points.

When looking at of the project schedule (normally in the form of a Gantt Chart), it is easy to see where key products must be completed. It makes good sense to harmonise and end stage assessment at the point when a key product completed.

This ties back to cost as well, since the completion of a major product will typically represent a major spent within a stage, and for the reasons given above, it would make good sense to schedule an end stage assessment.

Another factor which influences where the boundary of management stagesoccur, can be driven by the need for a decision point. An example might be the placement of a contract or a key acceptance meeting.

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You can see that these management stages within a project are a powerful control point for the project board.

Duration of Management Stages

Management stages are normally different in time duration the work within each stage is different; indeed, it would be very unusual if a project had stages of identical duration. If this did occur, I would suspect that the project board did not understand the purpose and application of PRINCE2 management stages.

Business points.

Organizations often set departmental fiscal budgets at the start of a business fiscal year. Although this makes for good fiscal control, it can give a problem to the project funding. If thetime-frameof my particulate project traverses this fiscal boundary, then it may be necessary to align an end stage assessment of one or more management stagewith the end of the fiscal year.

There may be other key business points within an organization, for example a departmental audit or a major review, and these too, may need to beharmonizedwith an end stage boundary of management stage.

PRINCE2 defines management stages as partitions of the project with management decision points, they also equate to the commitment of resources and authority to spend. A management stage therefore is a collection of activities and products whose delivery is managed as a unit.

Every project using PRINCE2 will have a minimum of two management stages: the initiation stage where the Project Initiation Documentation is created, and at least one delivery stage, so-called, because a delivery stage is where the specialist products are created and approved.

Therefore management stages only occur one at a time; they do not overlap. There are many advantages of splitting a project into a series of management stages:

Providing at the end of the stage, an end stage assessment, to allow review and decision points for the project board to assess the project viability at regular intervals rather than letting it run on in an uncontrolled manner.

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Another advantage is that stages give the ability to make key decisions prior to investing in the detailed work and cost of the following stage. Management stages also facilitate the management by exception principle by delegating authority to the project manager on a stage by stage basis.

The project board will release the project to the project manager one stage at a time, and only after considering the business case, project plan, next stage plan, and End-Stage Report. The next stage will only be authorised if there is sufficient business justification for the project to continue.

With management by Exception implemented, there is no need for “regular progress meetings”. Don’t’ get confused, the end stage assessment is fundamentally a business review (although progress information is gathered and presented).

The project manager will have the authority for day to day management and control of a stage as long as the agreed tolerances are forecast not to be exceeded. By virtue of this, the project board can manage by exception while reducing the administrative overhead of being involved while still keeping in control

When considering how many management stages within a project, there are several key questions that need to be asked to help define this number. For example, how far ahead in the project is it sensible to plan? Where do key decision points need to be?

In addition, if the project is a risky one then management stages will tend to be shorter in duration. The confidence of the project board and project manager in the project, will also determine how many stages and how long particular stages needs to be.

There is clearly a balance between many short stages with an increase in overhead, versus few long stages resulting in less control. The number of stages in a project should be chosen by asking the question “ where do the end stage assessments need to be so that project viability can be checked?”

It is important that management stages are not confused with technical stages. These are often called phases, and refer to sensible groupings of products and techniques. Technical stages of the overlap, whereas management stages do not. Technical stages are typified by the use of a particular set of specialist skills.

Whenever a technical stage spends beyond a management stage boundary, the technical stage should be broken down so that each management stage contains a whole number of specialist products.

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FAQs

How many management stages should a PRINCE2 project consist of? ›

There are a minimum of two management stages in a project: the Initiation Stage and one further Management Stage. The Closing a Project process is then the last part of the 2nd Stage in a two-stage project.

What is PRINCE2 process? ›

PRINCE2 Processes. PRINCE2 is a process-based approach for project management providing an easily tailored, and scalable method for the management of all types of projects. Each process is defined with its key inputs and outputs together with the specific objectives to be achieved and activities to be carried out.

What does PRINCE2 allow and encourage us to tailor? ›

Tailoring PRINCE2 Theme Rules

Tailoring allows the PRINCE2 themes to be adapted to create appropriate procedures and controls, provided that: the PRINCE2 principles are upheld. the minimum requirements in each theme are satisfied. the purpose of each theme is not compromised.

What are the 7 Stages in PRINCE2? ›

Initiation (starting the project off on the right foot) Stage boundaries (commitment of more resources after checking results so far) Ad hoc direction (monitoring progress, providing advice and guidance, reacting to exception situations) Project closure (confirming the project outcome and controlled close).

What are the 7 principles of project management? ›

The 7 Principles
  • Continued Business Justification. A project must make good business sense. ...
  • Learn from Experience. Project teams should take lessons from previous projects into account. ...
  • Define Roles and Responsibilities. ...
  • Manage by Stages. ...
  • Manage by Exception. ...
  • Focus on Products. ...
  • Tailor to the Environment.
19 Sept 2016

Is PRINCE2 worth doing? ›

Prince2 is worth the time and money involved if you're pursuing a career in project management. It is a highly flexible methodology that can be used to manage projects in any sector and country. Prince2 is also an essential requirement for many employers in the project management sphere.

What are the 4 elements of PRINCE2? ›

PRINCE2 is composed of 4 integrated elements: principles, themes, processes and tailoring.

Which roles can be combined in PRINCE2? ›

Standard examples of combined roles in a project include: Executive and Senior Users on a Project Board. Project Managers and Team Managers.

What Cannot be tailored in PRINCE2? ›

The seven PRINCE2 principles must never be tailored as they are the bedrock upon which the method is based. Instead, these principles must be used as the key drivers to adapt the processes and themes against the back drop of the environmental and project factors.

What must be done for a project to be a PRINCE2 project? ›

The seven phase process of PRINCE2
  • Starting up a project. Someone submits a request for a new project, called the project mandate. ...
  • Directing a project. ...
  • Initiating a project. ...
  • Controlling a stage. ...
  • Managing product delivery. ...
  • Managing stage boundaries. ...
  • Closing the project.
6 May 2022

How many stages are in PRINCE2? ›

PRINCE2 processes

In keeping with the seven steps, there are seven different stages of a PRINCE2 project.

What are the stages of a project? ›

This project management process generally includes four phases: initiating, planning, executing, and closing. Some may also include a fifth “monitoring and controlling” phase between the executing and closing stages. By following each step, a project team increases the chance of achieving its goals.

What are the steps to project management? ›

Developed by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the five phases of project management include conception and initiation, project planning, project execution, performance/monitoring, and project close.

What are the six activities in the starting up a project process? ›

There a six activities in this process as mentioned below:
  • Appoint the Executive and the Project Manager.
  • Capture previous lessons.
  • Designed and appoint the Project Management team.
  • Prepare the outline business case.
  • Select the project approach and assemble the project brief.
  • Plan the initiations stage.

What comes first in PRINCE2? ›

Overview. The Project Manager will begin with the 4 strategy documents and will then create the Project Controls and Project Plan.

What are the 5 principles of project management? ›

At a glance: Principles successful project managers should follow
  • Create clear and concise project goals.
  • Manage your risks.
  • Establish a performance baseline.
  • Establish and maintain healthy communication.
  • Clearly define team responsibilities.
18 May 2022

What are the five fundamental project management concepts? ›

According to the PMBOK Guide (Project Management Body of Knowledge) by the Project Management Institute (PMI), a project management life cycle consists of 5 distinct phases including initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closure that combine to turn a project idea into a working product.

What are the 9 principles of project management? ›

Here are the nine principles of project management:
  • Formal project management structure.
  • Invested and engaged project sponsor.
  • Clear and objective goals and outcomes.
  • Documented roles and responsibilities.
  • Strong change management.
  • Risk management.
  • Mature value delivery capabilities.
  • Performance management baseline.

Does PRINCE2 increase salary? ›

Many roles require project management skills. PRINCE2 can boost your career. PRINCE2 can boost your salary.

Is PRINCE2 difficult to pass? ›

PRINCE2 practitioner and foundation agile exams are a little difficult but it all depends on the method of studying and understanding the concepts. It will take up to 3 months to properly prepare for these exams.

Can you put PRINCE2 after your name? ›

Unlike the other project management certifications, there are no letters after your name upon completing PRINCE2 certification, on any of the three levels.

What are project principles? ›

Project management principles are universal concepts and rules that help you deliver successful projects. While every project you work on may be different, you can consider applying these fundamental principles to most, if not all, of them.

Which is better Agile or Prince2? ›

Prince2 is mainly useful and focuses on higher management levels. Agile on the other hand focuses on lower-level terms. Prince2 is more of a predictive approach while Agile is the more adaptive approach to create perfect software.

What two assumptions are made about a Prince2 environment? ›

Which TWO assumptions are made about a PRINCE2 project's environment? 1. There will be a customer and supplier. 2.
...
  • Activities.
  • Principles.
  • Processes.
  • Products.

What are the three recommended types of issues in PRINCE2? ›

According to PRINCE2, an issue can be 1) Request for Change, 2) an Off-Specification, or 3) problem/concern.

What are the three categories of stakeholders in PRINCE2? ›

There are three basic types of stakeholders whose interests are crucial to the success of a project: business, user, and supplier.

What are the key responsibilities of a Project Manager? ›

What Are the Responsibilities of a Project Manager?
  • Plan and Develop the Project Idea. Every project starts as an idea. ...
  • Create and Lead Your Dream Team. ...
  • Monitor Project Progress and Set Deadlines. ...
  • Solve Issues That Arise. ...
  • Manage the Money. ...
  • Ensure Stakeholder Satisfaction. ...
  • Evaluate Project Performance.
30 Jun 2021

Which management products are required for the PRINCE2 quality theme? ›

There are two management products required in the Organization theme: Project Initiation Document (PID): This document provides the overall plan for the project.
...
Organization
  • Corporate, programme management or the customer. ...
  • Executive. ...
  • Senior User. ...
  • Senior Supplier. ...
  • Project Manager. ...
  • Team Manager. ...
  • Project Assurance.
30 Oct 2018

What is manage by exception in PRINCE2? ›

Managing by exception is a principle that establishes how management is delegated down the line of a PRINCE2 project. It delegates authority for decision-making (the project board), managing (the project manager), and delivering (project team members).

Which aspects of a project can be tailored PRINCE2? ›

A PRINCE2 project should be tailored to suit the project's size, environment, complexity, importance, capability and risk.

Which is better PMP or PRINCE2? ›

Also, a few industry sectors prefer PRINCE2® certification, while others prefer the PMP® certification. The PMP® certification is preferred in the USA, Canada, Middle East, and Australia. PRINCE2®, however, is recognized in the UK, Europe, and Australia.

What is PRINCE2 certification cost? ›

The standard cost for PRINCE2 Foundation is Rs. 26, 000 and is delivered in various modes like classroom, online training, and self-paced as well.

Is PRINCE2 a software or methodology? ›

PRINCE2 (or Projects IN Controlled Environments) is a structured, process-based methodology for project management. This approach focuses on organization and control throughout the lifecycle of a project. With Asana, you can seamlessly implement the PRINCE2 project management methodology.

How many stages are there in PRINCE2? ›

PRINCE2 processes

In keeping with the seven steps, there are seven different stages of a PRINCE2 project.

What are the stages of a project? ›

This project management process generally includes four phases: initiating, planning, executing, and closing. Some may also include a fifth “monitoring and controlling” phase between the executing and closing stages. By following each step, a project team increases the chance of achieving its goals.

What are the steps to project management? ›

Developed by the Project Management Institute (PMI), the five phases of project management include conception and initiation, project planning, project execution, performance/monitoring, and project close.

How many PRINCE2 principles are there? ›

Each PRINCE2 project should include the 7 principles, and if even one of these principles is missing from the project, it cannot be considered a PRINCE2 Project. The core principles can be defined as: a framework of good project practice for those involved in a project.

What are the 4 elements of PRINCE2? ›

PRINCE2 is composed of 4 integrated elements: principles, themes, processes and tailoring.

What are the 7 principles of project management? ›

The 7 Principles
  • Continued Business Justification. A project must make good business sense. ...
  • Learn from Experience. Project teams should take lessons from previous projects into account. ...
  • Define Roles and Responsibilities. ...
  • Manage by Stages. ...
  • Manage by Exception. ...
  • Focus on Products. ...
  • Tailor to the Environment.
19 Sept 2016

What is PRINCE2 certification cost? ›

The standard cost for PRINCE2 Foundation is Rs. 26, 000 and is delivered in various modes like classroom, online training, and self-paced as well.

What are the 5 stages of the project life cycle? ›

What are the five stages of the project life cycle?
  • Initiating.
  • Planning.
  • Executing.
  • Monitoring/controlling.
  • Closing.
18 Mar 2022

What are the 4 phases of project management? ›

Planning, build-up, implementation, and closeout.

What are the 5 principles of project management? ›

At a glance: Principles successful project managers should follow
  • Create clear and concise project goals.
  • Manage your risks.
  • Establish a performance baseline.
  • Establish and maintain healthy communication.
  • Clearly define team responsibilities.
18 May 2022

What are the 5 project management process groups? ›

In project management generally - and the A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) specifically - best practices dictate a very specific series of process groups that should be performed. These are referred to as Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing.

Which is better Agile or PRINCE2? ›

Prince2 is mainly useful and focuses on higher management levels. Agile on the other hand focuses on lower-level terms. Prince2 is more of a predictive approach while Agile is the more adaptive approach to create perfect software.

Why is it called PRINCE2? ›

“PRINCE2” stands for Projects IN Controlled Environments, because this method focuses on managing resources and risks by dividing projects into smaller stages, defining clear roles & responsibilities and using seven processes to manage the project life cycle.

Is PRINCE2 a software? ›

Community Edition – the world's favourite free PRINCE2 software. Community Edition has over 250,000 users across the world therefore making it the world's top choice. Community Edition gives you the process, templates and tools to help you deliver your project.

Videos

1. Free Short Course: PRINCE2 Primer Webinar #3 of 4
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2. Prince2 Foundation Training Videos
(Master of Project Academy)
3. PRINCE2 Exam Webinar - Secrets taking you from Foundation to Practitioner
(Projex Academy)
4. Learn PRINCE2 Project Management
(Projex Academy)
5. Free Short Course: PRINCE2 Primer Webinar #1 of 4
(ITMastersCSU)
6. PRINCE2® Accredited Course Materials - Free - Chapter 1
(pmNewGenThinking)

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