Agile + Prince2

The OGC’s PRINCE2® is widely recognised as the de facto structured method for project management.

There have been many efforts over many years to integrate PRINCE2 with Agile methods like DSDM. With the 2009 revision, PRINCE2 improves its flexibility to accommodate a wider range and style of projects. The 2009 revision itself “used an iterative time-boxed approach of releasing interim drafts”.

PRINCE2 and MSP are now more closely coupled, recognising that for government, scale demands programmes of projects. The benefits and outcomes are now managed by MSP programmes, with PRINCE2 projects focused on delivering products.

Our Agile + PRINCE2 approach recognises the strengths and the weaknesses of PRINCE2. The key issue when using PRINCE2 to manage Agile projects lies in PRINCE2’s central objective of delivering products:

  • Where PRINCE2 emphasises the value of product descriptions, we focus on less precise but more valuable outcomes
  • Where PRINCE2 treats changes to product definitions as exceptions, we expect changes as normal
  • Where PRINCE2 implies project stages progress towards final products, we look at stages as successive releases, with iterations and sprints as work packages within stages; the first release should start to realise value to the stakeholders
  • Where PRINCE2’s management products for the board emphasise controlling cost and time, in Agile, the cost and time are fixed, so the Board must take a more decisive leadership role in prioritising and overseeing the releases and the backlog.

PRINCE2 and Agile may not be a marriage made in heaven, but with an attentive chaperon, they can now get along quite well, thank you.