US project management: ITIL and PRINCE2 for effective change

Colleagues in an office having a meeting

As many US service managers will know already, ITIL® 4’s biggest strength is its holistic and comprehensive nature, without being overly prescriptive. Practitioners will also recognize its affinity with other methods and frameworks such as Agile, DevOps, Lean and COBIT.

But there’s been less conversation about ITIL’s synergy with PRINCE2®. Someone moving through the ITIL certification pathway can open doors to other certifications and PRINCE2 is one of them.

When organizations put service and project management hand in hand, PRINCE2 is the natural and evolutionary best practice step and, as with ITIL, it acknowledges that there are complementary bodies of knowledge.

In service management, everything is essentially a project in some shape or form: new services, upgrading infrastructure or adopting ITIL practices; but what is critical for success – in my experience from the USA – is looking not only at the “what” and the “how” of projects, but also the “why”.

US project management – more method needed

Some organizations in the US have project management down to a science, though it depends on their maturity.

However, in the small to medium sized enterprise (SME) market, there is less formalization in projects and they are run more “by the seat of their pants”. While I think SMEs are very much in need of effective project management methods, even large organizations in the US could benefit as well – especially if they are operating internationally.

PRINCE2 – taking a lead from ITIL

Reading and working with the PRINCE2 guidance has reminded me of ITIL 4 Foundation in its easy-to-digest style and difference from other, typically-stodgy text books. And, like ITIL, you can adopt and adapt the guidance to your organization and situation through the principle of “tailoring”.

While organizational change management (OCM) – the techniques used to win hearts and minds – is more explicit in ITIL 4, I think project managers using PRINCE2 have a greater inclination to think and work that way anyway. This is vital, because without considering how change will affect people’s lives, organizations are just injecting risk into projects.

Project management skills today

During the Covid-19 pandemic, none of the technology for supporting remote work was new. But where organizations have struggled is making their processes and procedures more compatible with employees working from home.

This has presented a challenge for project managers trying to move projects forward while people are scattered. However, using projects to re-evaluate and “bake in” continual improvement means enterprises should be in state of continual learning and coming out of Covid-19 much stronger.

PRINCE2 certification

From a professional development perspective, people who have obtained – for example – ITIL 4 Managing Professional and PRINCE2 certifications are showing how to achieve successful change, not just conceptually but practically. It’s also about having the skills to manage the ongoing investment of change and improvement, the human resources and blending OCM into an effective change initiative.

Ultimately, this combination of best practice knowledge, principles and practices creates the ideal recipe to make people effective agents of change.

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