PRINCE2 Agile for large projects

Project team sat at table in meeting room with plans on table as one colleague stands and highlights areas of interest to their large project

In the fourth instalment of our blog series looking at why PRINCE2 Agile® offers a suitable best practice guidance and certification option for people working in project management Julia Gosse, trainer at SPOCE Project Management, considers those working in large projects, combining the assurance and rigour of PRINCE2 with the flexibility of agile.

What is a “large” project? Ultimately, the definition of large is relative, depending on the size of the organization you work in.

And how does having the PRINCE2 Agile certification make sense in such an environment?

According to PRINCE2 a large project has the following characteristics:

  • It involves complexity
  • Contains a higher level of uncertainty
  • Poses serious questions about the products needed to deliver the desired outcomes
  • Usually involves multiple teams
  • Lasts longer than simpler, medium-sized projects.

Project managers, an organization’s PMO and the senior management tend to equate large projects with the need for higher levels of control and governance.

Owing to the amount of spend and risk involved, organizations generally call for greater level of reporting and closer working with the senior management team.

So how do agile approaches apply here? Some organizations feel discomfort when thinking about using them in large projects, maybe because – for the uninitiated – it brings with it a mystical aura.

Yet, when they hear that you can get quicker delivery, their ears prick up. However, there is still a lack of understand about what agile really means.

PRINCE2 Agile – understanding how agile you can be

How can studying and certifying in PRINCE2 Agile help the project manager working on a large project?

Such projects will involve major organizational changes that could include IT, construction, HR, recruitment, making redundancies – in other words, truly multi-functional projects. And that means different teams may use a variety of delivery methods. There may be IT elements where agile is simply the preferred approach.

For the project manager, that’s where the complexity comes in and where PRINCE2 Agile knowledge can help: it will give the project manager the knowledge and understanding of the range of agile delivery methods that might be used by teams in their organization.

Drawing on the fact that PRINCE2 and PRINCE2 Agile can be tailored – now a more prominent principle of the guidance – this means project managers can scale their control up and down and adapt the method to suit the project environment. PRINCE2 Agile doesn’t force a decision about being agile or not; it helps the project manager decide how agile the project can be.

The Agilometer approach in PRINCE2 Agile helps to assess the delivery method that each team can use. This is important because, in a large project, some work packages could be work contracts lasting a year or more.

It’s unlikely that every element of a large project will be suitable for agile delivery so PRINCE2 Agile will support practitioners in how to dovetail agile methods as appropriate.

Read Julia Gosse's other posts in this series

PRINCE2 Agile for uncertified project managers

PRINCE2 Agile for agile delivery practitioners

PRINCE2 Agile for PRINCE2 practitioners

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