When organizations are not managing projects effectively, it means the value that should be delivered by projects suffers. I believe this happens in a multitude of industries, and it is impacting businesses’ bottom lines.
The solution is for organizations to recognize the benefits of using a project management framework throughout their organization – not just within Project Management Offices (PMOs). PRINCE2 is such a methodology, but my experience with it pre-dates my current role at AXELOS by many years, when I was not officially a Project Manager.
Previously, I worked in marketing in the commercial arm of a not-for-profit organization. I was managing campaigns and events but not thinking about them as projects. I didn’t realize that I was, in fact, a Project Manager.
When the newly-appointed CEO at the organization recognized the need for project management skills across the organization, I became PRINCE2 certified. From the start I liked it and its common sense approach to delivering projects in the most efficient and effective way possible. From a marketing perspective PRINCE2 helped me to think constantly about the customer, checking back to ensure we were meeting their needs. And as PRINCE2 requires everything to stem from the business case, it encourages people at all levels to align their activities with the vision of the business.
Knowing my colleagues were also PRINCE2 certified reassured me that they too were thinking about the end customer and business objectives throughout their projects. Asking the question: “why are we doing this?” is vital to the success of any business activity, and can be forgotten when we get immersed in the day–to-day.
PRINCE2 – reaping the benefits
Marketing departments can sometimes fall into short-term thinking, and end up being very reactive. Having PRINCE2 helped me to take a much more strategic approach and ensure everything in my department was being done for a specific business reason. It helped us stay on track with more impactful campaigns, feed into product development and deliver much more efficiently and effectively within the budget available.
It also allowed me to implement a new product development process within the organization, using PRINCE2 principles to encourage proper research, define the market, the competition, develop a plan and conduct live testing with end users. And it gave us a better way to deliver, allowing us to get products out much faster and give us an advantage over the competition.
Transferring project management skills
When I later moved into product strategy, delivering software/tech products, my PRINCE2 skills came in particularly handy. The tech team used Agile (Scrum) for fast, iterative delivery, but needed wider project management approaches to ensure the projects ran effectively from end-to-end. I was able to wrap PRINCE2 principles around an agile delivery approach. AXELOS has formalized these techniques in the PRINCE2 Agile® certification, which is fantastic, and I wish I’d had access to it back then! Agile methodologies are about delivering packets of work continuously, but are not a project management method. Without PRINCE2, I couldn’t have done my job properly.
I think there may still be a misconception that PRINCE2 is only for people with ‘project manager’ in their job title. This needs to change, because there are so many roles today that involve project delivery – marketing, events management, even filming a movie! Solid project management skills can have a measureable positive impact throughout an organization and, on a personal level, can really enhance and develop your career I’m the living proof of that.
See our PRINCE2 and PRINCE2 Agile sections for more information.